On the surface, it seems that smartphones haven't evolved that much during the last few years. Sure, they have gotten more and better cameras, they've got larger and larger screens, they've got more memory, various user authentication mechanisms that are based on fingerprints, iris scans, face recognition, and so on. But frankly, most of these features lack the "wow" factor we used to experience with each major phone release in the past. Fortunately, the future looks a bit brighter. Here are some of the most innovative smartphone features that we can expect to see within the following few years.
Firstly, your phone will do a much better job at recognizing you. It's quite sad to see that most people continue to use four-digit pins or pattern-based authentication today, because these security measures can be easily circumvented. Actually, even face-based and iris scan logins can be beaten by creating and using the appropriate 3D models and/or detailed pictures of the phone owner. So, better facial recognition technologies, which will utilize facial features and face contours are needed, and will make their way into the next generation of smartphones.
Most people who own a phone that's got a screen of 5 inches or larger know that they can barely make it through the day without having to recharge it again. This explains why several manufacturers have created smartphones that pack bulky 10,000 mAh batteries, and some of them have gone beyond that! This way, you get to carry a phone that can last for a few days in a row without needing to be recharged; however, the end product is bulky, having a depth that reaches an entire inch! The good news is that new battery technologies, such as nanobatteries, which are much more efficient, are currently under development; hopefully, we will see them in our phones soon.
Some phone models have already incorporated advanced Augmented Reality (AR) features. If you aren't familiar with this relatively new technology, AR allows you to overlap a layer of digitally created assets and information over the real world. You could walk into a store, load your home plan using a dedicated application, and then point your phone towards a particular piece of furniture and see how it would fit in – how cool is that? If you're excited about this technology, you will be happy to find out that it is already available. The next step is to project holographic AR images using your phone, instead of using the smartphone's 2D screen to create a virtual 3D image that you can look at. These new technologies are being developed, and they are only a few years away.
Another interesting idea that may set a future trend is to incorporate mini projectors into our phones. Some compromises need to be made, of course, because a strong light source will need a lot of battery juice, so the resulting smartphones will be bulky. Still, I am sure that there will be a niche for these products; people who use PowerPoint presentations regularly will definitely want to own one of these devices.
Do you remember the Nokia 9000 Communicator? Don't be sorry if you don't know anything about it; this innovative gadget was released back in 1998. The device incorporated a phone and a tiny keyboard that helped people write messages and even do some light office work while on the road. Believe it or not, a few companies have started to produce similar phones/computers like these again, and Gemini is definitely leading the pack, with its dual-boot Android/Linux-based device. If the idea of having a mobile device that includes a decent keyboard and fits in your pocket excites you, wait a few more months; I've got a feeling that you are going to see more devices like this in the very near future.