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The future of smartphones and mobile technology

Mobile technology is evolving rapidly, says Userp's Anouk Papillon. But it goes far beyond faster processing speeds and more apps.

Nobody disputes the fact that mobile technology has changed our lives, and the industry is outpacing any other in terms of rate of growth, online technology included. Being able to take care of daily tasks while on the go is now wholly taken for granted.

The evolution of mobile phones has been swift, and that of smartphones has been even quicker. The first mobile call was made by Motorola in 1973, but when the first Ericsson-termed smartphone hit the market in 2000 mobile tech really took off.  What has become very clear, however, is that there is much more still to come. New technology, devices and applications are being developed and released; breaking new ground today and showing huge potential for tomorrow.

Giant Leaps Forward for Hardware

While there have been reports that the next iPhone might be designed as a retro-style flipper-phone and there is support for a movement towards other vintage-inspired tech, for most people the future of mobile technology is focused on wearables. Many suggest that devices for communication and other mobile functions might not be phones at all.

The latest generation of smartwatches are all untethered, and perform more functions than before. Headsets have already gone wireless, and may soon be untethered too. Soft contact lenses rather than head-mounted gear are also not beyond the realm of imagination.

Several concept phones such as the Motorola Piccolo and Kyocera’s EOS folding phone have been developed by creative designers, stretching the boundaries of what a smartphone can physically be. Features of concept phones include wrist-worn hologram projectors, fully functional wrist cuffs and phones that are flexible enough to be folded or crumpled.

The idea that a hologram or a malleable phone could be expanded or contracted to suit whatever an individual is doing is an elegant next step, and simpler hardware enhancements are already a reality. For example, Sony is has developed a lens that enables users to take advantage of the digital cameras on smartphones on a whole new level.

New Functions and Functionality

Possibly the most striking factor about the development of mobile technology is how much more it will blend in with our daily lives. A good example of this is the Internet of Things, a term used to describe a network of devices that have electronic functions and are connected to the Internet.

Mobile technology and networks have developed to the point where the Internet of Things is about to go mainstream, and interacting with it from your personal device is a big part of that. You can check whether or not you have milk in the refrigerator or change the route of your self-driving car, as the lines between the physical and tech worlds continue to blur.

The VR / AR Angle

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are also expected to come into their own with mobile technology. Games such as Pokémon Go have already given some idea of how enjoyable Augmented Reality can be. Educational and occupational applications are exciting too; Virtual Reality could immerse students in whatever scenarios they are learning about or allow a doctor to view and perform surgery remotely. Augmented Reality could allow students to learn more about whatever object or specimen they focused their device’s camera on, or could show alternate outcomes to something like floods or fire.

The seamless connection with the Internet of Things is not the only way mobile devices will be able to make our lives easier; it is the way they will be linked up to different information too. With Augmented Reality, for example, not only would you be able to learn more about a painting by focusing on it; you’d be able to learn what businesses operated out of an office block by doing the same.

Enhanced Modern Living

All of the present and future capabilities of mobile devices can also, of course, be performed by desktop machines. However, as modern technology makes mobile options as powerful as desktop and laptop ones, it seems likely that most people will choose the former. Mobile technology simply fits better into the daily life of the future more than online technology ever could.

Anouk Papillon is a senior SEO manager at Userp.biz, focusing on Outreach & Content Creation. SEO Specialist by day and freelance writer by night. She is passionate about new technologies, innovative ideas and future trends, especially in the entertainment and online industry. When not working, or writing, you can find Anouk strolling along Cape Town’s beaches, hiking mountains or reading. You can email her at [email protected].