Smartphones where to next?

They are too, in fact just when you thought there is nowhere else to go another idea pops up in the ever or seemingly eternal “arms” race for phones.

Remember when a brick was a brick then a phone became a brick. Now a phone is the size of half a bathroom tile and equally as thin. Off the top of my head now it would be difficult to list all the features that have crossed to smartphones that were once the domain of those bulky desktop PC’s we got in 1990. How we dreamt of specs such as these:

  • 4Mb RAM
  • 64K cache RAM
  • 5 1/2″ floppy disk drive
  • 3 1/2″ HDD
  • 200Mb IDE (internal disk drive)

Amazing it was and only 28 years ago. These days your average key fob flash drive will have between 8 and 16Gb and that’ll be a cheap one.

Phones though are literally chasing the money and every year they are trying to come up with a new reason to buy a new phone which is fine BUT when you just forked out several hundred quid for a phone you want it to last more than 12 months. However the likes of Huawei, Samsung and Xiaomi are pushing on. Fingerprint tech? Pah it’s facial recognition now. Using your voice to open your phone was probably canned due to the increasing pocket calls that were expected to happen.

Credit: Samsung

Edge screen tech was also a big thing as the screens began to get wider and phones went from being pocket sized to almost tablet size which makes a phone pointless with Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp calling. All of which are on a phone anyway. As I said pushing the screen to a borderless edge gave you more screen but where to next?

Well the future is foldable, if smartphone makers are to be believed. At Mobile World Congress in February, Samsung announced that it would release a futuristic folding phone at the end of April for an eye-popping $1,980. The “Galaxy Fold” unfurls into you guessed it a tablet sized device and looks seamless almost science fiction like. Other manufactures I mentioned are already said to be about to release their own versions. Apple is rumored to be looking into the technology too. Foldable screens may soon be everywhere.

Huawei’s Mate X foldable phone. Credit: Huawei

The only possible reason for this huge move so quickly has to be a response to the decline in phone sales. I’ve already mentioned that a yearly fork of several hundred quid is not sustainable just to talk to someone or use an app when you probably already have a phone, tablet (or ipad) and desktop in your armoury. Doesn’t mean they won’t try to coax you though.

It’s been 10 years since Apple unveiled the iPhone and started the race to build the perfect computer for carrying everything digital everywhere. But the basic rectangular smartphone arguably has reached its perfect, final form. Sensing this, Apple quietly shifted to a three-year cycle for overhauling the design of the iPhone, even as its competition is struggling to innovate as well. Huawei, Samsung, and Xiaomi’s phone designs historically have looked to the iPhone for inspiration, but now they’re left to their own devices to find something — anything — that can stimulate sales and make it feel like 2016 again.

Credit: Nokia

New tech is bounding out beyond folding tech with phones competition for the most camera lenses on a single phone. Smartphone companies are trying to kill the notch with punch-hole cameras and pop-up selfie lenses driven by motors. There are even full-sized smartphones with sliding physical keyboards.What is going to be interesting is where they go next. Sub-dermal implant? A retread of something like google glass redefined and actually practical this time? Speaking of practical they are heading backward with a larger phones larger due to the 50 day battery attached to it.

Still they all beat the old briefcase with a normal phone in it, that was the first mobile I ever used.