From the Forums: Where will smartphones be in five years time?

Not a silly question, and one we can speculate endlessly on. In five years time will we see drastic changes in smartphones with capabilities like morphing? Or have we hit a plateau already as one or two suggest in our forums.

Introduction from thread starter

The iPhone has been for about 5 years now. Back in 2007 it was pretty cool, the first proper touch screen phone with proper apps. yes yes i know there were touch screen phones prior, but not like this.

Its 2012 and everything is has a touch screen, 4g is coming the new standard, nfc is still a baby.

So what are you expecting your phone will do in 2017?

i expect Windows Mobile do be doing pretty well, Android as well. RIM should be gone by then , apple should be somewhere in the middle or in third place is the next model isn't a major upgrade. - peacemf

Morphing is a concept that's been on the table for years.

Nokia Morph seems interesting! - http://research.nokia.com/morph - Sulphy

I think we've hit a plateau in phones and will see very little difference 5 years from now. - Growled

So what do you think? Feel free to leave your comments below or in the forums.

From the Forums: Where will smartphones be in five years time?

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In 5 years I see phones physically looking basically similar to what they do today. (rectangular touch screen slabs). No doubt the UI's on all platforms will evolve.

Under the hood though they'll be multi-core 64bit CPU's with multiple gigs of RAM and DX11+ GPUs. So in other words they'll be like desktops today. So much so in fact that they will run the same OS's that desktops run. Tablets, notebooks, and (personal) desktop computers (as opposed to servers) have very limited new sales.

Instead Tablets/Laptops will be largely dumb IO devices. So a "tablet" will be a wireless touch screen monitor for your cell phone. Laptops the same just with an added keyboard. Think Asus PadFone or Motorola Lapdock but refined with a wireless connection so your phone can just stay in your pocket. (non-server) Desktops will likewise be touchscreen monitors with keyboards and mice. The CPU, GPU, and memory will be in your phone and the storage will be both phone and cloud.

The big OS players will be Microsoft with Windows (Windows Phone and Windows will be merged in Windows 9/10), Android with Linux (hints of this currently with Ubuntu for Android and the Motorola Webtop), and of course Apple (Mac OS X and iOS will have merged). Consoles will even have gone away as you can just play PC quality games on your phone by buying IO devices (gamepad, kinect, move, etc) and then downloading the games from the Xbox Store (Windows), PlayStation Store (Android), etc. We see the start of this with the Windows Phone 8 Xbox gaming and PlayStation Mobile.

Sensors, Sensors, Sensors.

Doesn't matter who the vendor is.

In five years, Qualcomm's X-Prize will have been claimed and their ARM variants will include sensors that will allow us more insight into our environments.

They will inch and crawl forward like they always have. Companies don't jump by leaps and bounds. They sell incremental updates and have done so forever.

Unless one company jumps way ahead in tech there is zero reason for them to not make and sell each step in between.

Cyborg_X said,
They will inch and crawl forward like they always have. Companies don't jump by leaps and bounds. They sell incremental updates and have done so forever.

Unless one company jumps way ahead in tech there is zero reason for them to not make and sell each step in between.

Dude, since i got my phone (a Nexus S) less than two years ago, phones have gone from having a 1Ghz processor at maximum to a quad core 1.4Ghz processor in the Galaxy SIII (1.6Ghz in the galaxy note 2).

They've gone from recording 720p at a maximum to 1080p recording being in most high end phones.

They've gone from 4" screens with 480 x 800 resolution to 4.7" screens with 720 x 1280 resolution.

I don't think I need to go on. They are definitely not inching and crawling forward though. Most stats have doubled or more in less than two years as expected by Moore's law. I don't see how anyone can think that Moore's law speeds of improvement are inching and crawling along .

I am sure the tech will grow by leaps and bounds. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see usage stay the same or even drop some. I already know some people who are tired of "being connected" all the time.

Very common joke floating around in India regarding Future Phones, it must have following:

1. Telescope
2. Rocket Launcher,
3. TV,
4. Fridge,
5. Washing Machine,
6. 8trillion, TB External Hard-drive
7. 21 Inch LED Screen
8. and of-course you can also talk and send messages too....

Enjoy....!!!!

I think there will be one major change and that will be the massive gain in market share by Nokia and Windows Phone 8. This marriage will create huge stir in the Industry.

1. I think phones will replace handheld games.
2. We will see full blown integration with computers (ie seamless movement and transfer with technologies like Bluetooth 3.0 and whatever comes in the future).
3. Wireless charging becoming very common
4. 2k+ screen resolutions
5. True touch (ie touching the screen would feel like you're pressing a real button) done through some sort of screen technology or advanced haptic feedback technology
6. Common to see flexible devices
7. Advanced battery technology
8. WiDi as standard-- wireless streaming to monitors and televisions
9. Maybe some sort of advanced "3D" displays
10. Much higher cloud integration
11. OLEDs for coloring. ie, you are able to select the (external) color of your phone electronically, and can change it as needed.
12. I think there will be a focus on eliminating boot times for both the phone OS and applications-- expect to see an app fully loaded and ready for interaction in a tenth of the time it currently takes.

That's all I can think of for now. Some of them are obvious, but worth mentioning.

StevenJ said,
7. Advanced battery technology

We had the exact same dream 10 years ago. Still rocking the lithium just like we were then - of course back then lithium was 'good enough'.
StevenJ said,
8. WiDi as standard-- wireless streaming to monitors and televisions
At some point this will be seen as illegal. The MAFFIA will start prosecuting people streaming a movie from their phone to a TV or music to a stereo. Don't act like you can't imagine them doing that either.
StevenJ said,
9. Maybe some sort of advanced "3D" displays

Please god no. Just no. F**king 3D this and that. 3D everything. There are more play time listed at most theaters for 3D movies than standard digital screenings. I have 'better than perfect' vision - I'm don't need to wear glasses to watch something. Oh, no glasses? You know, in almost every futuristic movie or TV show - most things were still projected in 2D. Hell, even Star Trek showed screens and such as being 2D. No one cares or wants 3D.
StevenJ said,
10. Much higher cloud integration
Again, no. My files get to be my files. Networks break. Not to mention with all the privacy issues going on as of late I don't see it settling down anytime soon. I'm not storing my stuff online for someone to look at. Screw the 'cloud'.

I don't want to be the party pooper here, but I don't see good things for Windows phone..

OK.. 5 years from now, I predict:

* Android will have 60% market share
* IOS will have 30%
* Windows phone will have about 5% (probably what it has now)
* Blackberry will be dead in the water for consumers but RIM will probably still have some enterprise stuff if they are lucky

As for Windows phone.. I think Ballmer will be literally giving them away but the OS still won't gain traction except for a small portion of the geek community who will buy anything Microsoft.. Vendors will have long given up on the OS except for the companies still relying on Microsoft WP handouts to stay afloat, or leverage off licensing benefits in the PC space (eg, HP, Dell etc). ie.. Microsoft will be desperate to get companies to make phones for their OS but if it doesn't generate a profit, they won't bother unless their are incentives

The phone world as we know it will have moved on to a large degree to wearable communication devices and Ballmer will still be stubbornly holding on to the idea that it is a flash in the pan and people still want large cludgy phones which aren't 'cool' to the people who drive the trends in design

Nokia and will be all but dead, Samsung and Huawei will dominate the Android space

kowcop said,
I don't want to be the party pooper here, but I don't see good things for Windows phone..

OK.. 5 years from now, I predict:

* Android will have 60% market share
* IOS will have 30%
* Windows phone will have about 5% (probably what it has now)
* Blackberry will be dead in the water for consumers but RIM will probably still have some enterprise stuff if they are lucky

That's possible, but I think it will be much more ballanced than that. Here's why. Phones are already almost as powerful as an entry level PC now. I suspect that in 5 years MS will be a strong contender for the top position simply because they've all but set themselves up now to make Windows Phone a PC. WP8 runs the same core as Windows 8, so somewhere around 90% of code for the "Metro" environment works on the phone now. Let's be honest its still a Windows Desktop world for the business community right? With innovations like the Motorola Atrix and Asus Pad Phone today, if they are able to run a full Windows experience tomorrow it would be easy to make a device that when undocked runs a Windows Phone interface, but when Docked runs a Windows desktop interface. You could have the same device work in almost all scenarios and you wouldn't need to sync your docs to the cloud if you didn't need to. Its all in one device that is configured to your taste.

This is where Microsoft is doing something different that Apple and Google(less so) have not done. Microsoft has set the stage to have developers' applications work everywhere in their ecosystem. Today whether you have an ios or Android device you still have to have a laptop or desktop to do anything productive in a serious capacity. If MS pulls it off you truly could have one device as a phone that can also perform as your desktop/laptop/tablet. Apple and Google(arguably less so) are years behind in not only their version of this, but also for the support back end infrastructure to do the same thing.

Oh And I agree about RIM they'll be dead by that time.

kowcop said,
I don't want to be the party pooper here, but I don't see good things for Windows phone..

If Microsoft get more apps in the store and push for business then they could be the next Blackberry type, which most businesses still use.
If they solve the sending mail "on behalf of" in outlook.com then I'll be moving my mail away from track-and-record-everything Google and will certainly have an increased interest in Windows Phone 8.

Well... I find your view biased... WP 8 looks great and I don't see why it would fail... The OS is solid and innovative... and is heading in the right direction... Unless you can give substantial reasons, i would disagree...

kowcop said,
I don't want to be the party pooper here, but I don't see good things for Windows phone..

OK.. 5 years from now, I predict:

* Android will have 60% market share
* IOS will have 30%
* Windows phone will have about 5% (probably what it has now)
* Blackberry will be dead in the water for consumers but RIM will probably still have some enterprise stuff if they are lucky

As for Windows phone.. I think Ballmer will be literally giving them away but the OS still won't gain traction except for a small portion of the geek community who will buy anything Microsoft.. Vendors will have long given up on the OS except for the companies still relying on Microsoft WP handouts to stay afloat, or leverage off licensing benefits in the PC space (eg, HP, Dell etc). ie.. Microsoft will be desperate to get companies to make phones for their OS but if it doesn't generate a profit, they won't bother unless their are incentives

The phone world as we know it will have moved on to a large degree to wearable communication devices and Ballmer will still be stubbornly holding on to the idea that it is a flash in the pan and people still want large cludgy phones which aren't 'cool' to the people who drive the trends in design

Nokia and will be all but dead, Samsung and Huawei will dominate the Android space

psreloaded said,
Well... I find your view biased... WP 8 looks great and I don't see why it would fail... The OS is solid and innovative... and is heading in the right direction... Unless you can give substantial reasons, i would disagree...

It is solid, but it really doesn't seem that much different from the OS that is out now, and it has not broken much ground.. my question is 'what do you think that is upcoming that will bring users in in their droves when they are already established with a particular phone OS?

I realise I may sound negative towards Windows phone, but I just can't see what will be the killer feature?

kowcop said,

It is solid, but it really doesn't seem that much different from the OS that is out now, and it has not broken much ground.. my question is 'what do you think that is upcoming that will bring users in in their droves when they are already established with a particular phone OS?

I realise I may sound negative towards Windows phone, but I just can't see what will be the killer feature?

The killer feature is that they're merging the phone and the PC.

They're already running the same "core" OS. With the next version, they're going to blur the line even more. With the advent of things like wireless charging and NFC, my guess is we're headed towards a new eras of dumb terminals replacing the desktop PC, with the phone acting as the brain: drop it on a pad next to the keyboard. Microsoft clearly sees that.

psreloaded said,
Well... I find your view biased... WP 8 looks great and I don't see why it would fail... The OS is solid and innovative... and is heading in the right direction... Unless you can give substantial reasons, i would disagree...

I can try.

A friend of mine was in the market for a new phone and decided to final dive into the smartphone market. We go to the local AT&T store (which is his carrier) and I start off by showing him some Windows 7.5 phones since AT&T has them right by the door. I start to try to explain to him the whole Windows phone thing, but by the look on his face, I knew the next question out of his mouth was going to be "Windows has a phone?"

He then asks where the iPhones are since he has used some of our friends phones at times, and then asks to see my phone (S3), and then decides on the iPhone4 for $1 (he was up for the discounted update thing). Never really knew he was that cheap!

Morale of the story is that I can see a lot of non technical people (which my friend certainly is) march into a phone store with the intention of heading over or asking "where are the iPhones at?" Then they will be inquisitive about these "Android" phones they hear about in the news, in the commercials, and which some of their friends have... At which point MS early on at the least will be grateful for if the salesperson can get a word in pointing them over to a Windows phone.

plasmarox said,
I think you mean Windows Phone, not Windows Mobile.

You mean 'He meant Windows Phone, not Windows Mobile", its a quote if you look closely, if your so interested in correcting, use the "report a problem with article" button. You were not correct either.