Previously we looked at the form factor, what shape phones could be in the future. But what will phones do?
Clearly phones are getting smarter and able to do more, so here are some thoughts on the changes that could occur.
Phones replace your laptop/PC
Sometime this year we should see phones with quad-core processors, making them as powerful as some PCs. Following Moore’s law, they will get more and more powerful. And the same goes for storage/memory, although as "cloud applications" improve you will need less on your device.
With this in mind, you could easily see a phone that slips into the back of a tablet which is only a screen. Already, the Motorola Atrix shows that you can have a dockable phone that could replace the need for a PC.
Phones replace your wallet
This one's not really news at all. Already there are a whole lot of mobile cash/payment solutions, so I won’t go further into this just now. However with NFC (near field communication) expect to be able to pay for things simply by tapping your phone on a till or another phone (e.g. to give your friends money).
Phones replace your keys
Again, NFC could quite easily be used to allow your phones to open car doors, your front door at home and even replace security badges at work. It might be that phones will have multiple slots for NFC chips.
Phones replace your brain
Not literally, but they will save you having to remember things. Growth in memory capacity means that you could have chips that store everything: what you see, say, hear and do. Coupled with powerful search capability you’ll never forget people that you met, actions from meetings and the name of the little restaurant you loved on holiday.
Phones replace your doctor, mechanic...
Google has toyed with the concept of phones with monitoring capability, immediately alerting you of heart, blood pressure and maybe even sugar level issues. Ford have toyed with phones alerting you of servicing needs in a car and other advanced telemetry. Following on from this, there's no reason why your phone won’t become your central processing unit for anything: your home security, your gas boiler servicing and more. Expect a future where there is a lot more device to device interaction than today (I will write more about this soon).
Phones replace your personal assistant
Already there are apps to help you with everything from planning your train journey to scheduling parties. In the future, your phone will also tell you when you're close to shops you like or that have offers on things you might like based on your personal tastes.
You may be on holiday, and your phone will let you know where the nearest bathrooms are or how to navigate through a city to make sure you see all sites of interest with the most efficient route possible.
So with all these capabilities phones could be very important. How will be secure something that can so easily be lost? It could be that they move towards biometric security: voice, fingerprint or facial recognition. Or it could be that a secondary NFC chip that is in some jewellery or even embedded inside you grants you access.
This all sounds very futuristic, but some of the features discussed are either already here, or could be within the next five years. It seems phones are going to be part of an important and exciting future for us all.