Will the 2020s see an end to the smartphone?

The first iPhone came out 12 years ago, and ever since, people have been asking what the next device to share its cultural effect will be.
Image via CNBC

A lot of companies have thrown around the phrase “the next smartphone” when talking about their products, a claim that has lost most of the weight it once carried with it due to the sheer amount of times it has been used to describe products that have failed to recapture even a sliver of the cultural impact of the smartphone upon its introduction. Nonetheless, companies are always looking for new ways to develop their vision for the future of mobile computing, which means they’re always looking for the next smart phone. Some companies think the next big thing will be less of a new type of product and more of a new innovation for the smartphone, such as the case with folding phones, which companies like Samsung and Motorola seemingly view as the future of mobile computing, for now at least. However, others believe that only a radical new technology like AR would be able to capture the same response and amass the same number of users as the smartphone. Many people believe that the future of mobile computing lies in wearables, especially augmented reality headsets. But in its current state, AR is not ready to become a mass market technology, and whether it will be by the end of the decade is something that we will have to wait and see about. Another possibility for the next smartphone could be found with innovations in smart watches. Smart watches have been a mainstream technology for some time now, and have seen widespread adoption. The limitation with a majority of them is inability to be used independently of a smartphone. This flaw is analogous to one in pre-iphone smartphones, where users couldn’t really conceivably to accomplish the tasks of a computer due to hindrances like less than adequate web browsers and email clients. The iPhone was the first smartphone to come without these flaws, being the first phone to include a web browser and email client that were built from the ground up for the device they was running on, rather than being a dumbed down desktop browser like on other devices. These innovations allowed for smartphones to finally made the use of smart phones without the need for a personal computer feasible, and similar innovations to smart watches could finally allow them to transcend being neat gadgets for your phone or fitness trackers. These are just a few examples of some of the endless idea of where mobile computing could go within the next decade, and it is crucial to note that the execution of the idea is equally if not more important to the idea itself, as all it takes is one company to make a great product for “the next smartphone” to be born.

Leave a Reply