Thursday, December 03, 2009

Smartphones of the future


10 years ago, if you would have told someone that you could squeeze 16 GB of flash memory on something the size of a microSD card, people would have laughed. Think about the type of storage technology we had 10 years ago. In 1999, we were living in the era of Windows 98 (Windows XP was released in 2001). Did you have a PC running Windows 98? Do you even remember the specs on that PC? I had an analog Motorola StarTac cell phone in 1999. I remember paying quite a premium to have that phone.

If we could move forward 10 years, what will smartphones be like? I don't think anyone will debate that mobile phones will be capable of very high data transfer speeds. They will have very fast processors. They will come with a large amount of internal flash RAM. Hopefully they will have much better battery life.

I wonder if the majority of future smartphones will be designed with touch-screen navigation or buttons. Will we still have phones with a hardware QWERTY keyboard? Or, will everything be driven by voice recognition and touch navigation? It's a bit difficult to imagine, isn't it? 10 years can go by so quickly, yet so many technology advances can occur over 10 years.

Will we have flexible LCD displays? Will phones be thinner than they are today? Will they be capable of 3D holographic projections? Will everything be video phone calls?

As we prepare for 2010, I'm reminded of the type of technology I used in 1999. As we prepared for the Y2K bug 10 years ago, life seemed slower and simpler back then. Today, we have access to information everywhere and I'm always connected to the Web (thanks to my smartphone).

I'm saving some of my relics so that I can show them to my kids. I plan to build a little gadget museum in my house so they can appreciate how technology has changed over time.

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