Technology I Want to See in Mainstream Smartphones Before 2015

There are quite a few things that I want to see announced for mainstream smartphones sooner rather than later. Huge leaps have been made in what portable technology can do these last few years: it can pay for groceries and recognise faces. Am I too optimistic and hopeful with this list…?

Charging

Motion-Powered Charging

Granted, a dynamo in a phone wouldn’t generate a lot of power, but if you have ever worn a pedometer for the day you will know that we take a lot of steps per day: around 12,000. Though the amount of power generated would be small, it could make or break the situation in an emergency call. Every little helps, after all.

Perhaps instead of having something in the phone, carry something larger which generates far more power as you walk, then plug your phone into that when you need to. This seems pretty close.

On that subject, batteries with a far higher capacitance would be wonderful. I want to use my phone constantly, but I carry my charger everywhere I go. Caio Dettmar stopped worrying about battery life completely, but I’m not quite there yet!

Solar Power

Collectors for solar energy are becoming smaller as well as easier to hide. Some small companies have tried to release solar-assisted smartphones without success, probably because no one was willing to use their bulky designs.

I am sure that if HTC or Samsung released a phone with solar receptors scattered over the body it would be a huge hit. Probably not too much use in the winter, but in the summer your phone could recover some energy as you use it. It probably wouldn’t be able to charge the battery due to how much we love using our smartphones, but it could contribute to extending battery life.

‘Intivation’ released the Umeox Apollo last year; although it’s solar powered, I don’t fancy it myself..

Projection

Yes, a few devices already have this ability, but they are big bulky things designed to project large images onto walls. What I want to see is this done on a far smaller scale, to fit in my pocket.

We are always passing our phone between people when we want to show off something cool. Let’s say you are in the back of the cab and you want to show your colleague a graph. You could project a 12″ by 6″ screencast of what you are doing onto the back of the driver’s seat. That leaves you free to manipulate the phone, and your colleague can see everything you are doing.

Biometric Security

So far as I know, only the Motorola Atrix has ever had a fingerprint reader. Surely a fingerprint reader is a great security feature which should be incorporated into more and more technology, particularly tablets? A swipe-scanner in the edge of the housing is all you need. It would definitely help keep people off and out of your devices.

Voice Recognition would also be a great trick for security. Rather than swiping to unlock once you have woken the phone, just saying ‘open’ would be pretty amusing. Would it be more fun than Ice Cream Sandwich’s face-unlock? I would like to be able to find out.

Double-Sided Phones

This is more of a fancy than something I am actually hoping to see. Obviously such a thing wouldn’t appeal to most people, but I think businessmen would love such a device. Think of a double sided HTC Sensation XE which has truly mastered multitasking. On one screen a web browser could be running, and on the other a messaging application. To save battery the phone would dim or turn off the unused screen until you flip the phone in your hand. When it senses it’s been upended, it illuminates one screen and dims the other.

Such a phone would lack big-time speakers and a camera, but do businessmen really need them anyway? Now to solve the issue of putting the phone down and not scratching the screens…

More Domestic Integration

Many smart cookies have done incredible things with their smartphones. This guy can open his garage door from anywhere in the world:

There’s an iPhone app that, with the compatible bathtub, can run the perfect bath for you whenever you want it. That’s all stuff which is done though.

How about proximity detection? When you walk out of a room the lights dim down, and go up in the room you walk into. I want to see companies releasing smartphone compatible dishwashers. Perhaps Ovens, so you can turn it on as you make your way home, ensuring it’s up to temperature when you get in. Then you can put your food in right away.

(And whatever happened to Android@Home? – Ed.)

Near Field Communication Tricks

I can’t wait to see NFC changing the way we buy things. Joe Casabona has some great ideas on the future of NFC.

I’m hoping that fast food companies like McDonald’s will let you arrange your order in an app with drag-and-drop, then you pass your phone over an NFC receiver at the cash registers. Not only does the payment get taken automatically, the order is passed though and a number appears on your phone. When your number lights up, go grab your lunch. Now that’s fast food.


  • Jordan Pakrosnis

    I can just see the continuing patent wars already…

  • Nols

    A built-in mirror on the back would surely be a big hit with the ladies. I’m surprised no manufacturer has thought of this yet. Can also be built-in with protective cases.

  • Edmund

    I would really love to use a smartphone to control a car, so that this will become a thing of reality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meY1R43fJIQ

  • Cintra

    I’m looking forward to one of the top manufacturers (Samsung say) coming with a ‘companion screen’, rather like a tablet but a very basic screen, which would show everything my smartphone is showing, but bigger..

  • Stephen Gayfer

    Quite a comprehensive list of ideas. I myself cannot wait for NFC to be far more established, life would be far more simpler and less time consuming. You mention about bio-metrics and the Atrix, if I remember correctly the ol’ HP Ipaq’s had biometric security and companies like apple and Rim are already looking into this field. Motion powered charging would be fricken epic though especially with all those power hungry devices out there that you struggle to get a days juice worth.
    Just my $0.2

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