Predicting the future of technology is not an easy game, and mobile phones are no exception. Cast your mind back to the early 80s classic sci-fi movie Blade Runner. The year’s 2019 and flying cars are the norm, yet when protagonist Rick Deckard makes a phone call, he does it from a booth. It seems crazy to think that devices that play such a central role in modern lives were beyond the realm of science fiction just a few short decades ago. So, what will mobile phones look like in the future? Recently, new launches seem a bit like the wheel being reinvented, with only minor tweaks and improvements being offered. So currently, sales are mainly driven by getting the newest model at the best possible price rather than new tech. However, there are some major developments bubbling under the surface and big changes are on their way. Here are four things you can expect to see in the next few years.
Rollable & Foldable Phones
This is set to be a major trend over the next few years. A foldable phone has a display that can be bent or folded in half, much like a sheet of paper. Meanwhile, a rollable phone can be unfurled from a phone-sized screen to a larger one at a tap of the finger. We’ve already seen first steps with foldable phones with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X. But, with both models being eye-wateringly expensive, it’s no surprise that the concept is yet to grip the mainstream imagination. LG are slated to launch a rollable phone in 2021 but rumours are that it will retail at a similarly off-putting amount. However, it’s clear that manufacturers are racing to get affordable versions to market, and with some promising scientific developments (particularly with graphene glass), expect to see rollable and foldable phones in people’s pockets soon.
Improved Camera Technology
Almost every phone has a camera now, and manufacturers have already made massive strides with picture quality and features like in-built editing suites. As there are only so many types of lens, you might think that it will be impossible to develop phone cameras much further, but there are some major developments in the pipeline. Firstly, the front-facing lens is set to disappear from view – no longer will it take up display space on the phone; but will be buried underneath the screen. Meanwhile, multiple rear-facing lenses will become standard, to bring unprecedented depth, colour and wide-angles to phone photography. Finally, there will be huge changes in megapixel count. Currently the highest available resolution is 108MP. The human eye sees 576MP – expect smartphones to match that at some point in the 2020s.
Portless And Buttonless Phones
The 2020s will see us saying farewell to ports and buttons on our phones. The process has already started with the trusty 3.5mm headphone jack being removed in new models, much to the annoyance of some audiophiles (including this writer). However, with the vast improvements in wireless headphone technology, it’s definitely the way to go – audio quality is far superior and the end to cumbersome, easily snagged wires (especially when on the move!) will be welcome. Buttons are also doomed; functions such as power on/off and volume control will be controlled by sensors.
The future is wireless, even the charging port will vanish. Battery life is a constant thorn in the side of mobile phones – despite batteries being exponentially more powerful than they were a few short years ago. Manufacturers are at pains to improve battery life with every new model, but as these models always contain new features and faster processors, there is rarely a material gain in power. However, technology that can charge devices wirelessly via electromagnetic induction are being developed and there are already many existing examples. Over the next few years, ever more powerful transmitters will be able to charge devices over-the-air at great distances. With wireless charging, you’ll never need worry about a flat battery ever again. It’s likely that solar-power and hydrogen fuel cell powered phones will also emerge.
The 2020s are going to witness enormous technological developments across the board, not just in the world of mobile phones. Far in the future, it may well be that the functions performed by smartphones now will be done by new tools altogether. Many commentators think that smart glasses will eventually be successfully launched, and long-term, who knows, we may actually get the chip in our brains that the movies have been warning us about for years! But for now, although by 2030 your phone is going to be quite different in many ways, it’ll still be a device you carry in your pocket. Make sure you’ve got the latest phone and the best deal with no upfront cost by heading over to comparemymobile.com.