Could Apple’s rumored smartwatch — dubbed the iWatch, of course — push smartphones into the backseat of the mobile market?
Jay Yarrow at BusinessInsider thinks it might. “Just as the smartphone killed the flip phone, and the iPad is killing the traditional PC, something is going to come along and kill the smartphone,” he writes.
I’m not convinced, at least about the smartwatch. But I do think the notion of smartphones disappearing being replaced by a technology that’s more capable and convenient is compelling.
Smartphones of the Immediate Future
Before we can visualize what has the potential to replace our smartphones, we should first establish the direction we’re heading.
A decade from now, I expect a phone’s current native voice calling and texting capabilities to be replaced by VoiP and online mobile messaging solutions. It’s already happening with apps like FaceTime, Viber and Whatsapp, though we still have to fall back to native services, especially when data connections are unreliable.
And while we do enjoy our social networking, Web browsing, gaming and photography, most of these offer better experiences on larger screens. It might be a stretch to say that the limited screen real estate of the smartwatch will replace the smartphone’s.
So What Will Be the Smartphone Killer?
So what gadgets might be radical to make us give up our smartphones?
Wearable computers, for one, offer a quick and convenient way to interact with apps and the world. Google Glass is the first example of this technology that comes to mind. If it can handle complex interactions and has a high quality display, such devices have the potential to send smartphones the way of personal digital assistants.
Another possibility is that that smartphones will undergo such massive changes that we give them a new name.
What Do We Want?
One challenge today’s smartphones face is the need to balance pocketability and screen size. Apple has been pretty conservative here: It’s only increased the iPhone’s screen once. On the other hand, Samsung has been pushing the limits with its Galaxy Note series.
I can imagine a smartphone with a huge concealable display that can be unfolded to a size of a newspaper, and then be folded back into a regular smartphone screen. It’d be even better if we could determine the size screen we needed based on our surroundings, like an airplane, coffee shop, or living room.
Smartphones aren’t ready to be buried yet, but for some people they’re already old news. If you’re willing to carry around a mid-sized tablet like the Nexus 7 or iPad mini, it’s possible to accessorize and use it as a smartphone. With a larger display, you can get a better experience and save money with cheaper devices and carrier smartphone plans. At least that’s one thing to do while we wait for the technology to shake out.
- The iWatch Could Be The First Step In Apple’s Plan To Kill The iPhone [Business Insider]
Image: Smartphone as Child Toy [Flickr]