The new tech you’ll be carrying in your pocket. We’re a long way from the black and white screens and monophonic ringtones of 2002. Bluetooth is standard, touch screens are old-hat and the tiny camera in your phone is the only one you need. With devices improving at an exponential rate, the phone of the future doesn't seem that far away. Let’s take a look at what you’ll be carrying soon.

The not so distant future (what we have now)

Let’s go underwater…

Have you ever felt impending doom upon realising that your phone might have joined you in the pool? The future is here to save you! Phones like the Galaxy S7 and Moto G3 can survive exposure to water (technically, they can be submerged in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes). Before long, you could be able to take your phone into the bath, shower or pool without fear.

Power to you: Wireless charging

We have wireless internet, phone calls, and remote controls – why can’t we have wireless power?  Qi charging already exists with the Galaxy 7 but charging stations are rare and the range is short (only around 45mm away). As the technology progresses we’ll see wireless charging built into all kinds of materials, so you’ll be closer to it without even realising. Swedish furniture behemoth Ikea are leading the charge here (so to speak), building in wireless power capabilities to lamps and night tables.

Pushing the envelope: Next level touch tech

Tactus Keyboard

Source: Tactus Technology

Haptic tech (the technology of touch) has come a long way from Nintendo Rumble Packs and text message vibrations. Now, the same technology allows you to play Pong using only vibrations, and can simulate a mousepad click without actually moving. Innovations like Apple’s ‘Force Touch’ will vastly change how we interact with our phones, including the introduction of ‘liquid’ buttons that drags the screen with your finger as well as simulated textures. It’s just another way phones will talk back to us without saying a word.

USB C connection

The latest member of the USB alphabet, USB C is an upgrade to the USB connection and is already being taken up by the likes of Apple and HTC. The benefits? It’s reversible, so no more fiddling with the connection to find the right orientation. It’s also got a far higher capacity to transmit power and information, so it can transmit data at least ten times as fast as USB 2. That means it can act as an HDMI port, a headphone jack, and a phone charger all in one. Who wouldn’t want that sort of multifaceted connection on their smartphone?

Virtual reality integration

Virtual reality has arrived [7], but did you ever think it would be powered by your phone?

Widespread VR adoption is a slow but sure bet, with the likes of Cirque Du Solei, the United Nations and Temple Run all taking up the tech with their own innovative apps. With Samsung Gear just released and HTC’s Vive on the way, the connection between our mobiles and VR is just a short step away

Into the abyss: What’s on the horizon?

5G by 2020

As 3G bought in (barely there) video streaming, and 4G the age of mobile data, 5G is the next evolution in how we use our phones. Wireless speeds of up to 10GB a second will take you beyond streaming movies or music, but entire Virtual Reality worlds, not to mention crystal clear communication across the globe. It’s going to be essential for the Internet of Things, and the implications will be widespread.

Flexible screens

Samsung and LG have already launched curved screens, but truly flexible displays are in development and coming soon. Samsung is researching a phone that bends like a book, with displays on both sides. LG has also shown off a working 18-inch foldable screen that can be rolled up into a tight tube for transport. Sounds like that Harry Potter fantasy newspaper may not be as far off as you thought…

Unlimited battery life

Thanks to companies like Tesla and some young genius’ around the world, battery is going to become far less of a problem in the coming years. It’s possible that with the newer models of smartphone, you’ll need only to walk into a room to have your phone start charging, with long distance charging rumoured to be in the works.

The charging process could be a whole lot shorter with the recent invention of an aluminium battery that can charge in 60 seconds and withstand seven times more charge cycles. Unfortunately, this prototype only emits half the voltage of a lithium battery, so for now we’ll have to resort to plugging our phones in for juice (so 2010).

It’s possible that with the newer models of smartphone, you’ll need only to walk into a room to have your phone start charging

What are you looking forward to most?

While we can’t be sure all these features will be available when you pick up your next smartphone, we do know mobile tech is in for some exciting developments.
Which features would you like to see in your next phone?

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Tanya Phull

Tanya Phull