Industry experts predict that the mobiles of the future will become remote controls and ultimate multi-functional devices that will dominate most of our daily activities—both professional and personal. The technology involved in mobile phones and mobile communications has been developing so rapidly over the last few years that the possibilities for the future seem limitless.
The mobile industry is moving at such a fast space, it is often hard to keep up with the new innovations. Let us sift through some of the big, predicted future trends coming to smartphones within the next two or three years.
With every major mobile phone release, users are treated with an ever-expanding list of advanced features. Some are more useful than others, but they all represent an industry that is always on the move and always changing. The next big feature to make our lives easier is usually only an upgrade away but we have decided to gaze a little further into the future. Features are getting more in number and sophistication, and prices are coming down, making them more and more affordable to a common man, as never before.
“Consumers are looking at an evolved mobility experience from a smartphone which not only gives them the ease to communicate while on the go but enable them to become more productive at the same time. Right from completing everyday tasks like reading and writing to watching movies and searching the web, smartphone users are now opting for mobile devices that have a wider screens, quality views and higher speeds,” according to Ashish Gupta, Director–Carrier Sales, BlackBerry India.
Advance designs and better features
Smartphone adoption in India has seen a rapid increase over last four years and smartphones are increasing becoming inseparable gadgets in people’s lives. In today’s world, smartphones are becoming one-stop-solutions for communications, entertainment, capturing moments and connecting with what is happening around the world.
Mr. Shashin Devsare, Executive Director, Karbonn Mobiles, envisions, “In future, we may find more 4k ultra HD TV coming on smartphone displays. 3D on smart phone has flopped because one has to wear 3D glasses which nobody likes. People want to see sharper, brighter and clearer picture and that desire is never going to end so high resolution and powerful displays are going to appear.”
Internet penetration in India has also pushed the adoption to a new level. Companies like LG believe in being in direct interaction with customers to know what features and designs they want and what gives them the best comfort and experience.
Amit Gujral, Marketing Head, LG Mobiles, clarifies, “If you look at LG’s mobile portfolio, you can see that we try and incorporate smart, interactive and intuitive features in all our products. The idea is to keep things easy for the consumer when he uses an LG Smartphone. In addition, here at LG, we treat the feedback from consumers as the most vital information for designing the smart device and adding new features. We first ask the consumer what he wants, and then test and incorporate those solutions into our products. To give an example, LG realized while studying users, that as phones got larger, it was getting more difficult to properly access side keys and hence we introduced the rear key on our products. We introduced the camera with OIS technology to prevent blurring. Apart from this, LG brought in three core UX features, the Smart Keyboard, Smart Notice and Smart Security. The Smart Keyboard functions on adaptive technology that learns as you type for faster input and reduced errors. The height of the keyboard can be adjusted and individual keys can be customized with frequently used symbols. Smart Notice is a personal assistant that offers suggestions and recommendations based on user behavior, phone usage patterns and location-based information. To secure confidential data, Smart Security like the Knock Code was developed by LG that unlocks the device with the help of a knocking pattern, a personalized code set by the user that can be entered anywhere on screen. With G3, LG became the pioneer in gesture selfies. Simply clench the fist into a gesture that the phone will recognize, and an automatic countdown timer will launch, snapping your self-portraits in seconds. All these features were introduced keeping in mind the consumer. In future too, our innovations would be around consumers’ needs and all our R&D is about making life easy for our consumers. For LG, ‘customer is the right teacher and guide’.”
Indian market is currently witnessing an ever changing technology influx from various brands across the globe. From dual core to quad core, VGA to 41 MP much has changed within a short span of time. And this trend is set to continue. Enhanced and powerful battery technology is definitely going to be a feature smartphone players will work on while keeping the smartphone as thin and light as possible. Cameras are becoming more and more powerful.
Arvind Vohra, India Head, Gionee Smartphones, states, “Increasing focus on style quotient especially in terms of slimness will be a key factor. Gionee has already created new benchmarks by first launching slim S5.5 and now beating its own record by announcing the arrival of S5.1 which has been acclaimed by Gunnies Book of World Records as World’s Slimmest Smartphone. Clicking selfies has become a trend nowadays and a rotating camera is going to be ideal for all selfie lovers. Gionee Elife E7 Mini also has a 13 megapixel rotating camera that was a big hit with the youngsters and allowing them to take selfies from any angle. Camera that actually matches up to a professional range or surpass them will be the next attempt. Smartphones are getting more powerful and feature rich day by day. Battery life is always a crucial component in any smartphone. In future gaming is expected to take user experience to a higher level combining all the best hardware and software features on a device. Some of the key features that will change the gaming will include better UI ecosystem, Optimization, Extended battery life, Style quotient and camera as well as a professional camera.”
From features perspective smartphones have taken innovation to the next level where we are witnessing them to work as ‘helpers’ in the form of a ‘digital assistant’ which are now available on most of the smartphone operating systems ranging from BlackBerry OS, iOS and Windows. With advent of technology, not only the software has improved but the hardware too especially, the camera which has seen a drastic shift in quality both terms of camera resolution and image quality. All this added to the rising trend of taking ‘selfies’. Seeing the high adoption of smartphones with a clear focus on the quality of cameras, smartphone makers are now introducing front high resolution cameras which are now available on low end as well as flagship smartphones.
Ashish Gupta of BlackBerry adds, “Recently launched BlackBerry Passport encapsulates many desired features and caters to the ‘power professional’ in the most efficient and productive manner. The device is an amalgamation of new design innovation with its unique square form factor and is the first of its kind. It is packed with a long lasting battery with an updated OS (BlackBerry 10.3) and offers a seamless user experience while on the go. Its touch QWERTY keypad makes the device more functional. In the future we see further advancements in smartphone technology. All these innovations should be well aligned to the consumer requirements so that users get the best experience.”
According to Jerold Pereira, CEO, Videocon Mobiles, referring to LTPS Screen of (Infinium Graphite), their focus is more on brighter displays with accurate color reproduction and lower power consumption and since curved screens have not worked, new technology that is awaited is bendable displays. He further believes that software is going to be a big player in defining features in future.
“The advent of MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical systems) cameras to replace the conventional VCM (Voice Coil Motor) enabling you to make slimmer devices & faster focus times. Moving forward there is a new technology called Array cameras under development which will render the entire concept of Auto Focus cameras completely redundant. The height of array camera is only 3mm with no moving parts,” adds Jerold Pereira.
Smartphones will wirelessly control the communication between various devices including home devices, according to Praveen Valecha, Regional Director – APAC BU India, Alcatel Mobile. Much higher resolution cameras with smarter integrated apps on how to enhance while taking the pictures will come up.
According to Amit Gujral of LG, the Camera on Smartphones should not be seen as just a snapper to click photographs. The key focus of all manufacturers would be to improve the quality and capabilities of a smartphone camera to shoot DSLR-standard pictures. Hence, one can expect a lot of innovations happening in this space in future!
Amit Gujral further adds, “With G3, LG is already offering a very powerful front camera which is excellent at taking selfies. The G3’s 2.1 MP front camera incorporates new enhancements like a larger image sensor and larger aperture for more light input and better selfies. Apart from the 2.1 megapixel front facing lens, the G3 also boasts gesture controls to allow for perfect selfies. The G3’s 13MP OIS+ Camera captures stunning imagery, acquired through the use of its Laser Auto Focus, a first of its kind feature in any smartphone till date. This feature measures the distance between the camera and the subject using a laser beam to capture images. This simplified image capturing process utilizes the tap of a finger to bring the subject into focus, simultaneously triggering the shutter.”
Future multifunctional devices
With all of the great technology available, it’s no surprise that people are upgrading to the newest smartphones on the market. A recent survey spotted some interesting trends among smartphone users.
The new breed phones are more like tiny laptops; people prefer using their smartphones to their computers. In a survey, 70% of smartphone users preferred using their phone to access the Internet to using their computers. People are relying on phones far more for standard features like calling, texting and e-mailing. Approximately 53% of the survey’s respondents said that they used all their smartphone functions sometime or the other. That percentage dwarfs the other 17% who admitted to only using only the basic essential functions.
The consumption of content via web browsing on smartphone has been increasing. Additionally, the innovations in technology have helped in using smartphones and desktops in sync with one another. As we progress towards a connected and ‘smart’ lifestyle, it is becoming extremely important to have access to multiple devices so that content is readily available on a different screen, if one screen is not sufficient. Although, smartphones today are proving to be productive tools while on the move, consumption of content on several different screens including smartphones, laptop, tablet and desktop is an option that is now available to the consumer, which was not there earlier. This feature is going to improve further to give the users a better experience.
As processor manufacturers continue developing smaller, less power hungry and increasingly powerful smartphones, users are shifting more and more of their activities to smartphones away from the traditional desktop computers making later less and less desired.
“Keeping the present trends in mind, BlackBerry has made various feature enhancements on smartphones which work extremely well with desktops, laptops and tablets. BlackBerry has the innovative BlackBerry Blend feature on BlackBerry OS 10.3 based devices which offers instant view of notifications, text messages, personal e-mail and access to contacts and media on a real-time basis on Blackberry-powered computers and tablets. BlackBerry Blend works on desktop operating systems including Mac OS X 10.7 +, Windows 7+ and Android tablets running Android 4.4+ via cellular, USB or Wi-Fi connection. In addition to that, the Miracast Technology on the BlackBerry OS 10.2 works as a second screen and enables the consumer to create their own ‘Gadget’ eco-system using their BlackBerry devices,” says Ashish Gupta of BlackBerry.
It is an experienced fact that PC shipments are falling because users are now shifting to tablets and smartphones. Using the internet on the go is on the rise. “Smartphones may not be able to literally replace laptops and desktops, but definitely more and more integration going on and expected to increase further in future. Desktops and laptops will be used only for limited and more cumbersome works like office, professional jobs and heavy works at home. All simple and routine works will shift smartphones,” believes Praveen Valecha of Alcatel.
“Holographic projection, laser projection are still design concepts. The introduction of MHL allows a mobile device to be adapted as a computing device. However huge improvements within the operating systems are required before mobile phones can replace conventional desktops/laptops. Another limiting factor is the heat generated by typical computing cores,” clarifies Jerold Pereira of Videocon.
According to a CISCO report, data consumption is going to jump 200% in the next 3 years. Within this data consumption pie, video consumption is going to be a major share. You need higher processing capabilities for that. More advanced processor architectures will be needed. Shashin Devsare of Karbonn foresees, “An important factor for future is transferability and Internet of Things. Now we are looking for smartphones that can talk to our TV, computer, home appliances, etc. Data consumption is going to skyrocket in India in the coming years. To deal with enormous amounts of data consumed in future we need more advance processors. In a nutshell, future smartphones need to do more things, more things simultaneously and more things faster with superior quality. Karbonn’s 4G devices are in the pipeline. We are also launching 2G and LTE combination; and 3G and LTE combination. Multi-mode PCDAs are also in our consideration. Cloud usage will gain momentum by next year.”
Augmented reality and biometrics
According to Jerold Pereira of Videocon Mobiles, gesture wearable technology will interface with mobile devices to constantly monitor critical parameters such as control cameras, fingerprint sensors, voice recognition, blood pressure sensor, etc. The mobile devices will serve to compute and transmit this data and serve warnings if required. This will revolutionize healthcare. But Arvind Vohra of Gionee believes Indian ecosystem is not yet ready for such a feature yet. According to him augmented reality is combined metrics of various elements and just having a feature would not help the cause at least for the coming few years.
How smartphones are going play on the cloud?
Along with the power and flexibility of tomorrow’s devices, we can see a leap to cloud computing be smartphones. We will witness the emergence of multi-platform cloud enterprise mobility management solutions which will enable businesses to easily secure and manage corporate and personal devices in a low-cost and easy-to-use way. The new cloud solutions and services will minimize the complexity of managing a fleet of disparate devices from a mobile device.
Ashish Gupta of BlackBerry reveals, “In recognition of how critical the cloud is for today’s modern enterprise, BlackBerry will soon launch a new, easy-to-use cloud service for managing mobile apps and devices. The new cloud service is something enterprise clients have been demanding for a long time.”
Flexible controls for users, like self -service management, groups, web-based apps and content, each organization will be able to define the level of management that’s right for their business and users.
“Cloud computing is a key element with increasing data consumption across devices but cloud usage reaching smartphone level to its fullest is still a few years away. At this stage it is majorly restricted to computers,” adds Arvind Vohra of Gionee.
How will the present operating systems will upgrade and new ones evolve
Smartphone makers, along with the launch of a new device are also offering updated versions of operating system that are not only visually pleasing but offer enhanced user interface (UI) which helps in seamless experience. We also see that in the future there will be more focus on a unified form of communication where the user can access to daily utility icons and application with just a simple touch gesture or the click of a button. For us the most important point has always been to cater to the requirement of the end user and with regular feedback, smartphone experience can not only be improved but can be taken to the next level.
“With regards to operating system, innovation is limitless as technology evolves, we will see smarter smartphones with unique operating systems that will enhance the overall experience of the end user,” according to Ashish Gupta of BlackBerry India.
Regarding operating systems, Shashin Devsare of Karbonn believes, if a new OS has to evolve, the winner will be the one who will lead the evolution the fastest way—it has to be made simpler to use, attractive, faster, efficient and hassle free. To add to that a robust ecosystem should be developed for the developers who develop the OS.”
4G and beyond
4G is here and with it comes a new array of functionality and speed to enhance our mobile lives, 4G LTE Advanced will bring in speedy wireless connectivity that will provide consumers cable-free home Internet connectivity options allowing download and upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps and 50 Mbps, respectively. 4G will allow businesses far greater flexibility and higher speeds and can help in online payments. Could will amplify the benefits of new technologies like data analytics, by putting them right on the front line.
Praveen Valecha of Alcatel believes that with 4G upcoming, all dish TV/satellite TV being replaced with smartphone technology with 4G support and also the smartphone will redefine the meaning of digital & electronic media from technology perspective.
According to Shashin Devsare of Karbonn, “At present availability and coverage of networks is a limitation. Even 3G is available only in 52+ cities. A major initiative is need from the government as well for service providers to increase the availability of network across the country.”
In a nutshell
The future smartphones will be multifunctional devices with much smarter and powerful features. Devices will become slimmer and will have more powerful batteries offer longer working hours. Displays will have resolutions and will give much sharper and clearer picture. Smartphones will be able to control several devices such as desktops, laptops, home appliances, printers, remotely and more effectives. People are going to shift most of the simple and routine tasks to smartphones leaving only cumbersome and heavy work like such as office and professional work, heavy home, etc to PCs and laptops. Cloud computing via smartphone will gain momentum. Data consumption will double within three years with video occupying a major share and 4G adoption will increase data speeds. And the list seems endless.
Mr. Ashish Gupta, Director–Carrier Sales, BlackBerry India.
“ In the future there will be more focus on a unified form of communication where the user can access to daily utility icons and application with just a simple touch gesture or the click of a button.”
Mr. Arvind Vohra, India Head, Gionee Smartphones
“ Some of the key features that will change the game should include better UI ecosystem, Optimization, Extended battery life, Style quotient and camera as good as a professional camera.”
Mr. Amit Gujral, Marketing Head, LG Mobiles
“ The key focus of all manufacturers would be to improve the quality and capabilities of a smartphone camera to shoot DSLR like pictures. Hence, one can expect a lot of innovations happening in this space in future!”
Mr. Jerold Pereira, CEO, Videocon Mobiles
“ Wearable technology will interface with mobile device to constantly monitor critical parameters such as Control cameras, fingerprint sensors, voice recognition, Blood pressure sensor etc.”
Mr. Shashin Devsare, Executive Director, Karbonn Mobiles
“ If a new OS has to evolve, the winner will be the one who will lead the evolution the fastest way—it has to be made simpler to use, attractive, faster, efficient and hassle free.”