A world without Smartphones, stop that crazy talk!! But just how crazy is it. Technology is advancing at such a rate that it’s surely inevitable that smartphones will go the way of the dinosaurs and leave this world forever. But what’s the next big thing? What are companies working on next? Can you replace something that has weaved it’s way into (almost) every part of our lives over the past decade?
Since the first iPhone exploded onto the scenes in June 2007, smartphones have developed and advanced year-on-year. Who would have envisaged back then that we would have mini super computers in our pockets with countless applications for our daily needs at our disposal?
The advancement has slowed over the years and new products from Apple, Samsung etc. are more about refining their products rather than offering anything overly innovative. Many believe that the smartphone are on the same path as tablets and PCs, and are plateauing before a fall. An Accenture survey revealed that consumer intent to purchase new phones and electronics devices had fallen across more than 28 countries in the survey.
Swedish firm Ericsson conducted a study of 100,000 customers in Sweden and 39 other countries, and remarkably, half of the respondents believe mobile technology will cease to exist by 2021.
The Next Big Thing
Luckily for us companies are already working on the next big thing! Although not exactly clear on what form this may take there has been heavy investment from Amazon, Google, Apple & Microsoft to name a few into the world of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and the hot topic of the Internet of Things (IoT). Such AI products have already been released on the market in the form of Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri etc.
I believe the big thing will be IoT, the premise being that any device can be connected to the internet and to each other in a meaningful way. Compare the number of devices/appliances you own versus the number of smartphones you own. Companies are looking at a market increase from one, to tens or even hundreds of devices per person and that is huge business. IoT sales could dwarf the 1 billion smartphone sales with upwards of 10 to 100 billion devices sold each year.
What Happens Now
In my humble opinion, I think 2021 will come and go and smartphones will still be a major part of our lives. There’s no denying that global sales of smartphones are declining with the emergence of more innovative technology, however, smartphones are ingrained in so many aspects of our lives that it will take more than 5 years to completely replace. Added to this there seems to be no end in sight to the release of newer smartphones to the market.
There is no clear picture of what will emerge as the clear replacement of the smartphone, as current AI and AR products work in tandem with our smartphones and not as a direct replacement.
The big companies are seeking to delve into a world that allows consumers to interact with the wider world through touch, sight and sound. The distant goal (stay with me here I know it sounds crazy) seems is to remove the physical element of technology through futuristic tech blending the digital and physical world into one by altering humans to become a hybrid human/machine. I don’t know whether this is a scary or exciting prospect!