What comes after the smartphone?

Starting up a new company nowadays developing smartphones, as Carbon did, is a bold move. It feels like – somebody starts up a car factory today specialising on fuel engines. While the rest of the world thinks of electrical cars, or fuel cells. The concept of the smartphone, by all rights, is dead. It cannot overcome its fundamental contradiction: it is supposed to be as small as possible to be mobile. Yet, we need it as big as possible to use it for our purposes. I cannot think of a solution to this problem, other than the smartphone, in its definition today, will become redundant very soon. Very soon herein means: within the next 5 years.
For all the importance we give to a smartphone today - communication, facebooking, social media, shopping, paying at the supermarket and online, remote access to everything with an electronic brain inside (IoT), to open our cars, our houses, our bank accounts and even, when it comes as a gift, the heart of our beloved… - who wants to rely on a device that could fall down and break, or get lost or stolen…That’s why the foldable phone will never be the next Big Thing. Too fat, too clunky and doesn’t resolve the most relevant issue: We don’t want to carry always something in our hands.
So, what will replace the smartphone? AR sunglasses? I can’t see how this will not drive everybody absolutely mad within a few hours: every email, every notification, every spam ad pops up straight in front of your eyes!?! Well. Smartwatches with voice control? Or controlled by holograms, only visible to the operator? At least, one could still decide when to check for notifications. The final answer, of course, must be: the device is thought controlled. No need to enter commands or numbers with the finger, nor by voice. While the electronic device itself is implanted in the body. To steal your smart device of tomorrow, the thief has to cut off your head. But then… what to do with it? It has become useless (both the head and the device, obviously).
Well, that’s future.
In the meantime, my bet would be a wide wristband along the lower arm.Tough boys have this in leather, fashionable girls in the material of their choice etc. I think, Star Treck staff had this already back in the 60*s. All we need today, is a bendable touch screen. Un-crackable and scratch-resistant, of course, too. Here is where foldable smartphones come into play. To test flexible displays. That’s the one and only purpose of foldable smartphones. Else it’s a dead-end road.
For the upcoming 3-5 years though, until the next New Thing has arrived, I will hopefully enjoy my Carbon (if it ever gets delivered, that is)

And where would you put the battery, the cpu and the camera(s) into?

@Groundtorpedo Nun, er will ja das Gerät in den Körper inplantieren. Um es mit Gedanken zu steuern, muss er in die Nervenbahnen eingreifen. Da kann er dann auch gleich seine Camerabilder vom Sehnerv abgreifen. Ebenso legt er die Informationen (Ton, Bild) auf den passenden Nervenstrang. Die Energie gewinnt er mit einer Brennstoffzelle aus körpereigenen Fetten.
Ich will garnicht ausschließen, dass soetwas irgendwann möglich sein wird, aber sicher nicht in fünf Jahren. Zudem glaube ich, dass es erhebliche Akzeptanzprobleme geben würde; Man könnte sich einem solchen Gerät nicht mehr entziehen, wenn es einmal eingesetzt wäre.

Well, he wants to implant the device into the body. To control it with thought, he has to intervene in the neural pathways. That’s where he can pick up his camera footage of the optic nerve. Likewise, he places the information (sound, image) on the appropriate nerve tract. He obtains the energy with a fuel cell from the body’s own fats.
I don’t want to exclude the possibility that something like this will be possible at some point, but certainly not in five years. Moreover, I believe that there would be considerable acceptance problems; once such a device is in use, it would be impossible to avoid it.

It doesn’t matter much whether we like it or not. It will come. First the implanted ID chip (name, birthday, international ID, and, of course, tax number), straight at birth, into the head, shoulder, chest, wherever… Starts in China. They don’t have personal rights and privacy concerns particularly high up on their priority list. From there, it will encroach into our societies. Then evolve: Add a GPS signal, etc. Don’t mind the initial demonstrations of Anonymous et al. That our thoughtful governments need to monitor every minute of our lives, is not a concern, but the explicit intent. This isn’t Big Brother. This is Brave New World. And don’t worry - we’re half way there: Anytime you post a selfie on facebook, any bum in this world can find out who you are, where you live and where you have been, thanks to face recognition and Google Street View. Doesn’t seem to bother a lot of people.
If ever a computer processor may be implanted into the body, and whether this device is able to record everything I see, like a screen recorder of my retina - I don’t know. Not important right now.
For a long while, I agree, we will still use an external device, such as a smartphone. What I wanted to say, when I opened this topic: We don’t want to carry always this device in our hands. It will be too important in our lives as remote control to everything we operate, and as key to everything we own (house, car, money etc) that we’ll need it always with us, but cannot risk it getting lost, or stolen, or broke. The smartphone will develop into something which is attachable to the body. I think it will be the arm. Many others bet on AR glasses. We’ll see. But the smartphone, as we know it today, will die out. Soon, I’m sure.

I’m not sure that the next thing will be wrist mounted. You would either need to be constantly turning your wrist, or scrolling the screen to be able to read anything more than a two line message.

Optic nerve implants? Possible, but could they be practical? If the overlay in front of your “realtime” vision was obscuring an important event (mugger moving in to steal your credit card perhaps?) you might be vulnerable to being attacked.

Holographic projection? Might be made to work. What would happen in bright light? On what would the hologram be projected? How would you prevent people around you from seeing or reading what you were?

Perhaps the screen would disappear and everything would have a sound commentary, interacting with voice commands and spoken replies? How though would you find a button on a website? Yes you could dictate “press send”, but what if the button was labelled “email” instead? How would you know? Would the announcer read all possible link and buttons on a webpage? That would get very boring and tedious very quickly. Have you ever tried talking someone through something like sending an email over the phone with no pictures? It’s much, much harder than might be imagined! I used to try to talk elderly customers through programming their video recorders over the telephone. It isn’t easy even when you know the procedure as intimately as I did. The person at the opposite end would always miss a step out and I’d not be on the same page as them. That person would be you and I both trying to navigate any website or app with voice prompts alone.

If we had been able to predict the smartphone back in 2000, we could have made a fortune. But would it have worked without the single minded vision of Steve Jobs? There had been “smart” 'phones before the iPhone but they were niche products. I had a Psion Series 3 that connected to a Nokia 'phone through an infra-red modem. This enabled me to send emails and browse the web whilst out and about, but the idea didn’t take off. The Nokia Communicator range which did all that in one device came out in 1996, again the idea didn’t gain mass acceptance remaining only a modest success. It wasn’t until 2007 and the iPhone that things became mass market products.

What ever does replace the smartphone will not just be a good, clever or new design. It may be one or all of those things. What it will more likely be is a combination of good, clever, innovative design coupled with a vast amount of good luck and an even larger amount of great timing.

I think there are a few determining facts for the foreseeable futire:
We listen with our ears.
We see/watch withour eyes.
We handle with our hands.
We speak withour mouth.
Simple truths, yes, but they determine what will be sociably (not just technically) possible. That limits the design of a device by which we will communicate with each other.
I believe that the tasks that are embedded in today‘s smartphone will be divided into several devices.
Listen and speak via an in-ear device (far better than today‘s hearing aids but similar in purpose. We will not type numbers into the device; that is a crutch. We will just say the name of the person that we want to call. The device will either access internal memory or an external data base of telephone numbers to obtain the number, and then „dial“. The device will have sufficient intelligence to understand e. g. contextual info relevant to find the telephone number (or whatever is needed to contact the person).
Visual information will have to be offered to the eye. That can be achieved by glasses or contact lenses OR by using a tablet. I believe that the screens (both for smartphones and tablets) will become significantly thinner, lighter, and will have more circuits embedded. Batteries will remain the big problem in the near future; they need space, still. If screens will be invented that do not need much electrical power to work, we will have to live with batteries.
I hope(!) that keyboards will be obsolete, soon. That means other kinds of input (speech), that means more intelligence in the device devoted to interfacing with human. Speech input has been neglected for too long IMHO. Today‘s hard- and software is still not intelligent enough to be used by everyone(!), not just specialists.
That is, in my estimate, the road to the near future.

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All these futuristic ideas are nonsense. Some of them may work in autocratic countries, but not in democracies. Many turkish people actually perhaps would like their individual “i´m a fan of erdogan” chip. But those people are ants.

I personally earned my money with IT. It was clear to me, that the cloud would raise one day. At the end it is nothing else than a normal network-computer, just connected via WiFi, LTE, G5 a.s.o. instead of a physical cable. But there will be many people wondering within the next few years home many well paid jobs are going to be lost because of the cloud.

However, not my problem any more.

Intelligent people are individuals. They will never let AI to use them.

@Groundtorpedo Da bin ich weniger optimistisch, ein Haufen Leute nutzen Facebook , Instagram, Whatsapp u.s.w. , ohne sich irgendwelche Gedanken über den Missbrauch ihrer Daten zu machen.
Warum sollte sich das ändern, wenn AI zu einer systemdurchdringenden Grösse wird?

I`m less optimistic at that point, a lot of people use Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and so on without a care in the world about the misuse of their information.
Why should that change when AI becomes a pervasive entity?

Deine Version ist mir wesentlich sympathischer als implantierte Devices. Zudem erscheint es zunächst realistischer. Tatsächlich sehe ich auch das Problem die Gadgets so filigran zu gestalten, dass sie alltagstauglich werden, insbesondere die Energieversorgung.
Ich könnte mir vorstellen Bilder direkt auf die Netzhaut zu projezieren und so bei Bedarf auf Anforderung einzublenden. Als Maus oder Touchpad könnte die Smartwatch dienen.
Spracherkennung wird schon lange versucht, aber zunächst gab`s die Hardware einfach nicht her, das ist inzwischen nicht mehr so problematisch.
Sprachsteuerung mag bequem sein, des ungeachtet weiß ich garnicht ob es mir recht wäre, wenn im öffentlichen Raum jeder mitkriegt, was ich da mache.
Und würde man sich wohlfühlen, wenn man wie ein Pferd eingeschirrt wäre mit Watch , VrBrille, Ohrstöpseln und wer weiß was noch?
So denke ich, das Schlautelephon wird als zentrale Einheit noch eine ganze Weile bleiben und seine wesentlichen Funktionen behalten.

I like your version much more than implanted devices. It also seems more realistic at first. Actually, I also see the problem of making the gadgets so filigree that they are suitable for everyday use, especially the power supply.
I could imagine to project images directly onto the retina and to fade them in on demand. The Smartwatch could serve as mouse or touchpad.
Speech recognition has been tried for a long time, but at first the hardware just didn’t have the power, that’s not so problematic anymore.
Voice control may be convenient, but I don’t know if I would like to have everyone in public places knowing what I am doing.
And would you feel comfortable if you were harnessed like a horse with a watch, glasses, earplugs and who knows what else?
So I think the smart phone will remain as a central unit for quite some time and keep its essential functions.