What do you think will be the next big innovation to smart phones?
Recently, the ability to fold has came along, what do you think the next big innovation will be?
Recently, the ability to fold has came along, what do you think the next big innovation will be?
I think that this is a really interesting question because I'm not quite sure what the last real innovation in smart phones was. Pretty much every change that's occurred since the original iPhone seems like more of an iteration or gimmick than a big innovation.
My feeling about the "next big innovation" is that it will have something to do with the form factor/interface of our phones, but I can't really think of any changes in that area that will do anything other than complicate things for users.
The fact that we call them smartphones is incredulous to me because nearly all of the things we say make them "smart" already existed before the iPhone was invented. The real innovation is simply the design of the UI built around a capacitive touch screen - but that's not the part that people pay much attention to.
It's pretty easy to see why people got so excited over the 'smart' features on an iPhone in the US, though. Cell phone carriers only allowed you to use phones they sold, and those phones had modified firmware to lock out and paywall countless features.
That's one of the reasons why I think that tech journalism is so bad. They keep propagating the myth that there is always some breakthrough technology on the horizon that will change everything. In reality, technology is iterative in nature. Design is what is groundbreaking, and the accessibility to technology is what is world-changing.
I remember when i had a Symbian phone (i think it was a Sony Ericson model) and connected to msn via irc.
It was certainly more smart than my actual phone.
I recently decided to get a new phone, because my 3-year-old phone is starting to develop screen burn in some areas. I looked at the website for my phone company, to see what phones they have on offer - and they all look the same. They're all just sheets of glass with a border. The software inside isn't significantly different. They're all the same. Ever since the iPhone came out, almost everyone else just wants to make another iPhone. Noone really wants to do anything different. Very few non-iPhone style phones have been released over the past few years.
So I looked elsewhere to find something with some personality. ;)
That's really interesting. What did you end up going with? I imagine it was really difficult to find a modern phone that wasn't a wannabe iPhone anytime recently.
I bought a Samsung Galaxy Folder2. I'm not sure if it counts as modern: it was released in 2015 (which is about the same vintage as the Moto X Style that I'm replacing). But it's a hybrid smart-and-flip-phone.
I love flip phones! I miss my Motorola Razr and my Motorola V150 - and even my Ericsson 628! (Not coincidentally, these are the only model names I can remember out of all the mobile phones I've owned over the past 20+ years, and they're also the only flip phones I've owned.) So, after seeing all the Stepford iPhone look-a-likes on my phone company's website, I looked around to see if flip phones are still available. Just out of curiosity. I was surprised to learn that there are still flip phones around, but they're mostly dumbphones, and they're made with BIG KEYS for elderly people and/or people with reduced eyesight.
But then I found this phone which is a smartphone with a flip! And now it's mine. :)
Now that is a fascinating phone! I had no idea that any player as big as Samsung had tried a combination flip/smart phone like that. It looks like a Galaxy with a flip phone bolted on the back, but it's got a weird charm to it.
It doesn't feel like anything has been bolted on. It's a fully integrated design. It's also much more compact than most smartphones.
I'm not sure this phone was ever released in any large English-language markets, though. My research told me that it was main released in Asia (mostly Korea).
Wan't dissing the look, sorry if it came across that way. I think it's really cool.
I didn't think you were dissing it. I was just clarifying how it looks in reality, because pictures on the internet are often misleading.
Oh, ok. That makes sense.
Holy shit, a person who owns a Galaxy Folder.
I've been looking at getting one for a while now because of the design. I don't use my phone for much besides texting, messaging apps and calling people, so I don't really care for modern phone features. At the same time there are some apps I use a lot, so I can't go full dumbphone either even though I'd like to. The design intrigues me.
Can I like, interview/interrogate you on it? How is the experience?
It's a bit of an adjustment.
The hardest adjustment for me has been the typing. I do a lot of internet browsing and reading, especially on Tildes. And it's bloody hard to type out long comments on that keyboard. Even the predictive text feature doesn't help me as much as I'd like, partly because it predicts words differently than I'm used to, and partly because it's limited to the words in its dictionary - which, I found out yesterday, does not include "snarkily". So, I find myself having to switch between using the predictive text feature and typing words out in full on the T9 keyboard. I think, in the long term, this might slightly reduce my participation on Tildes when I'm on the phone.
But, overall, I'm loving it. It looks good, it feels good, and it's not a bloody iClone!
Thanks for the write-up!
The main things I look for is size (smaller is better, I have small hands and I like using my phone one-handed), battery life, and camera quality, In that order of importance. Which means... well, phones all universally suck now, in my opinion. Yeah, the expensive ones are great cameras, but I hate pretty much everything about the physical design of phones from the last 4-5 years or so. They're all way too big for my preferences. I would honestly like to just not own a smartphone, if it was an option, but sadly it isn't for me.
I'm currently using a Galaxy S4 Mini, and I haven't found a smartphone yet that fits my needs better. I've been eyeing the iPhone SE, but I'm not really a fan of having to rely on Apple for updates - I can flash and update the S4 myself, that's not possible on an iPhone.
Been looking a lot at the Folder. I can live with the meh-at-best camera. The S4 Mini doesn't exactly have a brilliant camera either, and that serves my purposes alright. Not having a jack kind of kills the Folder for me though. Shame. They're really cool looking devices - I'd love to be the guy owning a flip phone in 2019.
I agree smartphones are too big (and I don't even have small hands). My Moto X Style was a step up in size, and I never quite got used to handling it. The Folder is much more comfortable to hold.
As for looks, I've already had one person comment on it. She said she loves that I have a flip phone. It's definitely a stand-out.
But, if I knew in advance it didn't have a headphone jack, I'm not sure I would have bought it.
To me personally, the camera-revolution on phones since the original iPhone's 2 megapixel camera has been a huge innovation.
The use-cases for a camera on the first smart-phones and a smart-phone from around 2011 and onwards have been revolutionary. They've essentially replaced stand-alone cameras for a huge majority of people.
Sure that change has been iterative, one camera better than the previous, but the uses for a phone camera are beyond my wildest imaginations in 2007 and iPhone.
There are the new foldable phones. Those could be cool, but I don't want to be an early adopter. Flip phones have been a thing for decades, but the ones with a foldable screen are something new.
I haven't really looked into the foldable phones at all, but I get the sense that they're on the more gimmicky side. I can't really see a way for them to really fundamentally change the mobile device landscape, aside from some miraculously perfect implementation with compelling new UI features.
Right now the phone landscape has an irreconcilable divide around device size – people who value pocketability and one-hand usability (and mourn the iPhone SE), and people who want a phablet screen and damn the inconvenience. The promise of foldable displays, I think, is bridging that gap: it’s a slender one-hand usable phone, and then you unfold it, and now it has the screen size of a phablet. Best of both worlds.
To me, that implies that manufacturers should make two different types of phones for the two different markets, rather than trying to make one phone for everyone. Note to manufacturers: it's okay to differentiate!
You're definitely not wrong. I may not be seeing the whole picture or the possibilities for folding phones when I write them off as mostly a gimmick, but I just can't shake the feeling that there will be a lot of UI and general clunkiness issues with them once the mainstream really gets hands-on with them in the coming months.
Oh, it'll be miserable, and even once the hardware and OS support is decent it'll be months before there's wide app support. Even if foldable goes anywhere, it'll be at least two years before it's great.
I'm going even further into the realm of sheer speculation here than I have before, but I really feel like there's a chicken or the egg issue going on here, especially if one goes with an estimate of two years before the foldable experience is great (an estimate that I think I agree with).
If users have a buggy or sparse software experience for these first few months/years, they'll probably move away from the foldables, and, if they've moved away, there'll be no real incentive for manufacturers to keep working on them or for developers to keep trying to support them. Again, speculation, but I feel we may be on the verge of another Windows Phone type of event in the mobile device market.
I think the biggest change we'll see in the near future is the refinement of phones as computers. There have been many attempts at it. But with the rise of web apps, wireless charging, and new WiFi technologies I think you'll start to see phones advertised by how well they work with some standard workstation setup. But they'll mostly use web apps because that seems to be the only thing that figured out multiple form factors.
This is kind of what you're talking about if I'm understand correctly. IMO this is super cool, basically you can just plug your (specific samsung) phone into a monitor and have either a samsung interface or a full ubuntu machine (still arm though). Samsung interface would be good for non-tech people who basically only need a chromebook, but just being able to plug in and go. If I had the money for one of those higher end samsung phones I'd 100% go early adopter on this with the Ubuntu setup.
I believe the Ubuntu edge phone project wanted to be able to do this, but they didn't really have enough money.
Librem would be a good company to bother about this sort of thing, considering they have a true linux based smart phone coming out.
Phones and tablets already have replaced computers for most users. Even for people who need to use a computer for work, that typically means running Microsoft Word or Excel - both of which are available on iOS and Android. It seems more and more business applications keep getting ported to mobile platforms. Just look at how much Adobe has invested into their mobile versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.
I need a full-blown desktop OS for work and multiple monitors, but phones of the future can probably provide enough computing power to do that well enough that you can just plug it into a dock and go.
The average user isn't using a powerful desktop now. If they have a desktop, it probably has a mobile low power chip and isn't even a full tower size. More likely, they use a low power laptop or Chromebook. A low end x86 is absolutely fine for most workloads these days. A mid-range snapdragon can easily trade blows with low end x86 chips. Also, even a simple dock would be able to increase the available power consumption of a phone, as we see with the switch. A more advanced dock could even provide passive or active cooling to increase power even further.
The previous gen Dex required a dock and the latest one doesn't. This is an improvement. Heat can be mitigated by heat pipes which get bigger inside the phones
Desktops have their place (in the near future) for the most demanding users, but many workers really don't need much computing power. The computing creep you mention is real, but websites already have to cater to the mobile market and more and more heavy business computing is being pushed to the cloud. Also, a docked phone doesn't have to worry about power consumption as much as when running on battery.
I think we'll see more with haptic rendering so you can "feel" the texture of a material by swiping your finger over the glass of your phone. There's been some "successful" research and commercial implementations of this already (https://www.theverge.com/ces/2017/1/5/14185134/tanvas-touchscreen-haptic-feedback-ces-2017) but it feels like it's about time for some real commercial innovation here, particularly as we start to use our phones more and more for AR "magic window" viewports.
Finally: an on-screen keyboard with a texture!
Personally, I think the notch will be replaced by under-screen cameras, that will only appear when you want to take a picture. We have transparent OLED screens, so I think it is possible.
That's currently under development at Samsung. I think it'll be a nice direction.
Totally just guessing here.
In the near future, I think the folding screens will become more prominent.
I also think in the near future maybe they'll make some kind of super HDR screen. I believe some years ago John Carmack went to Samsung and had their engineers over volt an HDR display so that pixels could go super-bright. This was for VR, but apparently it was really impressive until it burned out after 10 minutes. I figure if samsung eventually puts those super hdr screens in headsets, they'll also eventually roll them out to phones. The super bright is so if you take a picture with sunlight in it, then those parts of the image will actually be much brighter than parts that have indirect sunlight. Right now OLED displays can go completely black, but they don't go super bright.
Also in the near future I think Eye tracking might become a feature thrown into phones as well , this would be more for advertisers to track your gaze across ads and sites, but developers could use it for games and apps too.
In the medium term I think maybe something like project Soli link here would be really cool in a phone under the screen. ( or VR headset or earbuds)
Also in the medium term I think better area mapping using the cameras or laser projectors would become more used as phones start converging with AR headsets.
In the long term I think AR headsets like the hololens will converge with phones in some fashion. Maybe the phone will just be the processor for the headsets, like you have your phone in your pocket and plug the headset into it with a cable. You could then unplug it and use it as a normal phone again. I think at this point the headsets would have some kind of virtual retina display where they draw the image directly onto the retina rather than having any screen. This is just so people will wear it without being scared of looking goofy.
In the longer term I think AR and VR headsets will also converge. Then there would be 2 types of headsets. The XR headsets with screens where every pixel has an adjustable opacity to allow as little or as much reality in as you want. So it could switch between AR and VR. And the only-AR headsets that have virtual retinal displays. I think both of these may use your phone's processor rather than having all-in-one headsets.
That's not even a prediction! :P
Yeah, I ultimately think AR and VR will supplant smartphones. Way too many potential applications and advantages. It will just take time to get the tech and software to a level where the average consumer will make the jump.
I think AR will finally break into mainstream use in about the 3 year time frame. I also really think the Oculus Quest releasing in a couple months is going to jump-start common interest in the space.
Next Marketing Gimmick, I don't know. 5G if I had to hazard a guess, can't go wrong with more faster.
Next Innovation? I'd have to imagine moving away from the brick with a screen form factor to something maybe a little more wearable? Maybe just a Bluetooth earpiece that has a Voice Assistant and a modem, that gets you 80 percent of the way to a smart phone, but all audio so you aren't entirely blocked off from the world when it's in use?
The brick (phone) will simply be a mobile processor relaying info to various IoT wearables or near devices (LAN/home) for control.
Basically I see the phone as a server and interfacing with everything around you is the primary use, pocket server.
I would expect a breakthrough in power available through wearable solar or some other unexpected cause will send us to a new and unpredictable level with phones. Computer power needs electrical power to be practical and it seems phones are pushing this level all the time.
Although, such an advance may disrupt our entire idea of what form factor might emerge as smart devices will be able to be made small yet powerful enough to be VR/AR glasses, hearing enhancers, or super small drones following(-sorry, leading) us around and telling us what to do.
I think we will move on from phones to AR wearables glasses, smart watches and headphones as the AirPods. I think examples of these ideas you can see in the anime "Denno Coil" and the movie "Her".
I occasionally see people just talking to a microphone in their earbud wire or whatever and it always makes me think of Her.
The next innovation will be the phone staying in the pocket and being used for processing power for AR. Glasses, or contacts, which can literally eliminate the screen entirely, something we're trying hard to do already.
I'm voting for bionic eyes.
I'd wanted to take pictures of this exact scene, just the way I see it, so many times I lost count.
Fuck glasses. Mind control.
I'll pass on that one, lol. Technology can remain firmly OUTSIDE my body except where absolutely necessyary, thanks.
Were my eyesight to go bad, I could see it being cool, though.
If I have cash (or get free installation, maintainance, and upgrades as a matter of experimentation), I'd install bionics. The cleanliness would probably be exhausting, even at a level where the prototypes surpass natural eyes in all aspects.
To be fair, there are serious issues to address before that could even happen – energy efficiency, weight, not triggering the immune response, cleaning mechanisms to begin with... – all things that require utmost attention, and that necessitates good funding. Probably not in a human's lifespan – but then, I intend to live forever, so maybe I should exercise patience.
Really? Most phones these days seem to be designed to increase screen size at the expense of everything else. There's barely even anywhere to hold modern phones because noone wants edges getting in the way of AS MUCH GLASS AS POSSIBLE.
That's not the point.
People enjoy more screen space because it means bigger videos, higher-res pictures, more area to press, more space for the text etc.. When you have AR UI, your "screen space" is however far you can reach with your hand in a 360° radius.
External physical interfaces become obsolete when your whole arm is a remote.
I was responding to a statement that phone designers are trying to “eliminate the screen entirely” - which seems contrary to what we're actually seeing in phone design.
The way I read it, the comment was about the efforts to eliminate the screen overall, not within the smartphone industry. The advances in AR tech have been mind-boggling so far. Combined with the ever-increasing efforts to minituarize, the material science discoveries, and the increasing power of our processors... You can call an AR contact lens a screen if you want, but I reckon it's so much cooler.
Also, 3D screens – and apparently, there's holographic imagery in development, from Samsung of all companies.
There's also the ever-clearer mind-reading techniques (or, at least, internal-monologue-reading) done via exocranial devices. Not even a screen in a broader sense.
Point. I'm still in the mindset of 8 years ago, where it was hip to just keep making it smaller.
I've been using an iPhone 5c for years now, it's pretty small compared to current small phones. Some websites don't even make CSS for small phones anymore; a lot of content is just off-screen and can't be reached.
This thing is also immensely sturdy(hard plastic shell) and does it's job; l don't really use more than three apps anyway.
Compare that to my 2017 12.9" iPad: It was so thin that l bought a thick protective cover because l was afraid it'd snap in half.
My guess would be Apple being "brave" and making the next iPhone wireless charging only.
I don't think wireless charging technology is quite ready for that yet. Maybe in 5 years though.
Would you be interested in something like this. Specifically looking at the II that has more features than the original but fewer than a smart phone and is still small
Maybe I sent the wrong link for a model or misread but I thought it could text.
But god do I feel you man. I miss small but properly sized electronics. Way back in the day I had a mot droid x and it was awkwardly shaped and thin (for the times) just so it could brag it was super thin. That phone was my realization that I should care more about size and functionality over just size
That's definitely disappointing for me. Unfortunate but what can ya do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I would like to see a company release a phone just as pretty as the other phones but without an exterior made out of glass.
Somewhere along the way apple decided to use a glass shell. Sure, its pretty, and feel nice to the touch and so on. but its practical use is obscene. I wonder how much money these companies make from selling glass for repairs only. Not to talk about all the overpriced extra shells they make you buy to protect the glass. Now its not even a glass phone anymore.
I know, there are phones made for working in risky environments and stuff. But there are not even used, probably overpriced and "ugly" with bad deals.
Iirc they are using glass to enable it to wireless charge (conductive metal would be inducted instead of the charging coil)
Plastic would work just as well, it's apparently just not "premium" enough.
I kind of have to agree with you there. We used to have a lot of top tier Android phones that were plastic backed and yet we loved them. But to be fair, we were still putting a case on those, too, because of the glass screen.
There are Android phones with plastic screens as well. Though they aren't typically the high end ones.
If you want to know the real irony, it's that the trend for having no bezel still requires you to get a case. You can't win any way you play it.
for me it'll be when I can drop my phone completely in favour of my watch, or something else. Phones have peaked now. There's nothing in the last few generations of phones to write home about. And most reasonably priced phones can keep up with the flagships these days. I think the next big thing won't be a phone.