In my last article, “The Emergence of Mobile (Part 1),” I gave an overview of the history of the mobile phone as we’ve come to know them—from the very first commercially available phone to the phones we use today. Now that the worldwide adoption of cell phones has increased from 12.4 million people in 1990 to approximately 4.6 billion in 2009, developers can have a seemingly modest goal of 1% cellphone market share penetration. That translates to 46 million people, and that’s quite a large reach for being only 1%. With such a large user-base & increasing attention from the media and general public, the big question is this: “What’s next?”
The timeline above shows milestones in the mobile market and it’s clear this industry has come a long way since 1946. If the common trend in devices continues, the next mobile phone will be smaller, faster, more durable and more aesthetically appealing. It will also be more affordable and have a longer battery life. Advancements like these are predictable and don’t really add anything new to the average mobile phone’s repertoire, but they do make for a device that is more universally appealing to consumers.
Researchers have been trying things that might seem ridiculous at first. For example, there are prototype phones being developed that feature an embedded video projector. This would be valuable for businesses or general users who want to share presentations, photos and videos without having to huddle around a small screen. Another approach is to create a mobile device that can “push” content to any TV with this functionality (such as Google TV).
Still other researchers have been exploring augmented reality:
Services like these provide location-aware information such as points of interest (ie. restaurants) and social interactions (ie. Tweets & status updates). This video doesn’t really show that the augmented reality concept has branched off into other areas including photo sharing, games, and more. The only thing that the user needs to do is point their camera at what they’re interested in to see the information. Consider that the alternative is going to Google and getting results that may or may not be what you’re looking for. Augmented reality isn’t a new idea, but it has become much more feasible with devices that now have high quality cameras, fast processors, compasses, gyroscopes and highly-accurate GPS.
New ways of accessing/sharing entertainment & information will continue to be developed so that people will always be able to choose the method that they prefer the most. Documents were first written on stone until paper was invented, and now technology has made it so that our ideas can be accessed, shared, and collaborated on with anyone, anywhere, and at any time. The concept of storing & distributing information remains the same but the possibilities have been extrapolated so consumers are no longer restrained by arbitrary limitations.
At one point, the most common way of getting information about someone involved looking them up in a phone book. Now you can find information in half that time by using Google search and find out more about them via a social media marketing site like Facebook. Both website designers and hardware/software developers have been busy making sure that what they make works harder, faster, smarter and easier for the user so that they have the best experience possible.
Who knows? At today’s rate of innovation, something like this will probably be coming to your household sooner than you might think!