For many people it’s hard to imagine going a day without a smartphone. We use them for everything: talking to friends, browsing the Internet, playing games, tracking fitness goals and much more. They’ve become almost a part of who we are. According to tech industry experts, however, the smartphone's days are numbered and that number is lower than you might expect.
Today’s Emerging Competition
While the smartphone is still the most popular personal device available today, more and more competition is entering the market. Wearables are one challenger. Smartwatches, more or less a smartphone you wear on your wrist, were recently introduced. Wearable fitness trackers, such as Fitbit, have become quite popular.
In our houses, virtual personal assistants are taking the place of smartphones. Now, instead of searching a question on your phone, you can just ask Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana by voicing it to your smart home speaker. These devices can also control other smart home features, such as thermostats and lighting.
Beyond the Screen
Smart home speakers are able to control things like your refrigerator or central air because they’re all connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). This virtual web of Internet-connected devices lets them all talk to each other and work together. Soon, the eSIM - a virtual SIM card - is expected to connect all your devices. This would make navigating a tech landscape without a smartphone easier and seamless.
Virtual reality will play a role too. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently told attendees of the F8 conference about the company’s plans to incorporate augmented reality into its business model. You wouldn’t need any sort of screen, Zuckerberg said, if you have a pair of stylish VR glasses that can, in effect, turn any surface into a screen.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took that idea a step further by investing in Neuralink - a startup developing a computer that can be implanted directly into your brain. Musk said this technology will be available in four to five years. We'll be able to control the computer with your mind, allowing us to keep up with AIs, at least for the next 10 to 20 years. In Musk’s future we won’t need smartphones, because, well, we’ll be the smartphones.