There have been several trends occurring in the mobile technology world, but here I am going to focus on the most recent ones and how that will most likely affect the design of phones in the future.
Improvements in Camera Design and Function
Each new phone has brought with it increasingly complex camera systems with ever-increasing megapixels and options to airbrush photos directly on your phone. It’s gotten to the point where the most major difference between your camera and your phone camera, the size and the quality of the lens.
However, with accessories such as clip-on lenses for your phone and improvements in technologies that are compensating for the size of the lens, the cameras on phones may be able to soon match the performance of many digital camera brands.
Introduction and Improvement of Augmented Reality
One of the biggest trends in mobile technology of 2018 is augmented reality, which is becoming increasingly popular not only with computer gaming systems but also with phones. While it is an enticing feature for phone games, the more popular emerging games with AR have been fairly rudimentary.
The next step with AR will most likely be to create more immersive but smaller, more portable interfaces that are compatible with cell phones.
Immersive Gaming Interfaces to rival Portable Gaming Systems.
The games on cell phones are becoming progressively more enticing due to more interactive features. There’s a new game that has been making its rounds on the internet that includes your voice like in a simplistic game called Chicken Scream. Augmented reality like in Pokémon Go created a highly popular phone game that allowed millions of user to get in on the action.
The remaining barrier to phone games replacing games for systems like the DS are the limitations to the control panel on the phone and the lack of complex and well-designed games. However, because the memory and speed on new phones continues to increase exponentially, I see this barrier also fading away from phone gaming soon.
Currently, there are some accessories that allow you to convert your phone into a gaming console.
Internet for phones is becoming increasingly faster, going from 3G to 4G, and soon 5G will be taking over the cellphone world. As the internet speed gets increasingly faster, cellphones may begin to beat out laptops and other bulkier devices for working on the go.
Especially with freelancing websites like Upwork and Usertesting, using their apps makes it easier for you to work from your phone and some jobs, like on Usertesting can only be done from your phone, not your laptop.
More Storage Space = More Versatility
This ties in with the influx of more interactive phone games and camera improvements. The additional storage space is part of what allows newer phone models to store more pictures in better quality. The extra storage space also allows for more gaming capabilities and even music storage so that your phone can be as versatile and sometimes even more versatile than the laptops you use.
Increased Durability & Waterproofing of Phones
Many new models of phones are focused on features to improve durability so that you are less likely to damage your phone while on the go. One good example is the active series for the Samsung. The active series are more resistant to shattering from dropping and have reinforced edges.
A good example of increased waterproofing would be the Samsung Galaxy S8. It is waterproof up to a depth of just under 5 feet and can stay submerged for about 30 minutes. This is a huge step above the water resistance offered in previous phones.
Though it is still a far cry from waterproof cameras which can often go down to depths of 90-100 feet, cell phones are starting to compete with other singular-function devices like cameras and laptops in features such as waterproofing, durability, and portability. This competitive advantage over other devices will only increase over time.
The level of security has been quickly increasing by having features such as fingerprint scanning and even facial recognition. The security will have to continue to increase to keep the increasing amount of information stored on phones safe.
Not surprisingly, most phones are making the move to increased security features like the built-in security chip in the Pixel 2 XL.
Some other examples of increased security can also be seen in the iPhone X, which not only has facial recognition but also has restrictions on AD tracking. These security advancements will be crucial to the safety and success of features such as Apple Pay in the future, so we will probably see even more advanced security features in the coming years.
Phone Payment Options will Be More Common
Features such as Apple and Samsung Pay are increasing in popularity and becoming more widely accepted. Even in Japan, where cash is still king and credit cards are often difficult to use outside of Tokyo, Apple Pay and other forms of virtual payment are becoming increasingly common, and in some cases surpassing the popularity of credit cards.
More Convenient Charging Methods
Some phone companies are even working on improving how phones are charged. In order to get rid of the inconvenience of needing to plug in the phone and worry about tangling the cord, the most popular of the wireless charging options is known as Qi.
The idea is that you can just place the phone on the charge port instead of having to fumble with cables to charge your phone. Some phones right now have built-in wireless charging options, and others need an adapter in order to use wireless charging options like Qi. You can view some more information on whether your phone is compatible for wireless charging here.
Over the next couple of years, this will probably become more popular as a charging method and it will probably become standard in newer phone models, similar to how good camera specifications and waterproofing or resistance are becoming standard features in newer phones.
One company, in particular, is looking to create a tablet that would be able to fold into a phone. If this catches on, it would work well with the multi-functioning phone trend that has currently been pushing so many of the trends in cell phone development. This device would be known as the Folio. There is also talk of the new Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone to be released in 2018.