In many ways, the evolution of the smartphone since the debut of the original iPhone in 2007 has been a predictable straight line —bigger screen, more powerful processors, longer battery life, faster data connections, higher-resolution cameras and more apps. But recent advances have signaled a potential sea-change in smartphone evolution. We’re talking bendable screens and other radically different designs, eye control and security, and Dr. McCoy-like tricorder functions. Here are 15 smartphone features to expect in the next five years.
Where We’re Headed: Bluetooth 4.0 has triggered an explosion in wearable sensors that transmit biomedical (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), exercise (e.g., distance walked, calories burned) and environmental (e.g., temperature, humidity) data to a smartphone — but each of these sensors requires a separate app. Samsung has already begun to build some sensors into the Galaxy S4, but in five years, expect a smartphone to win the “Star Trek”-inspired Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.
Prediction: By the end of this decade, we’ll be sporting wearable sensors imbedded in shoes, glasses, belts, watches and clothing. These sensors will not only enable us to monitor all of the aspects of our bio and environmental conditions by waving our iPhone 10 or Samsung Galaxy S9 over us — Dr. McCoy-style — but prescribe preventive, precautionary and curative actions.