Augmented Reality May One Day Replace the Smartphone
It’s undeniable that the smartphone is one of the best inventions of the 21st century. You can tell that by their adoption rates. These devices have completely changed the way people communicate, recreate, and work. They are so new that it’s funny to think that maybe in the very near future, these devices will be nothing more than trash in the world’s landfills. Today, we will briefly discuss what comes after the smartphone.
Before we get into the technology that will likely make up the swan song for the smartphone, let’s take a second to look at what came before. Before the smartphone, the cellular phone was exceedingly popular. The innovation of which only took a couple of decades. The first phones were no less than literal mobile telephones, but it only took a couple of years before the form factor shrank down enough for mobile phones to be basically handheld devices. The problem for over a decade was that the infrastructure that allowed the mobile phone to work wasn’t built. Once it was, the manufacturing and dissemination of the mobile phone was rapid.
If you asked people what was the first smartphone, they would say the Apple iPhone. While this answer isn’t really accurate, in the coming decades when smartphones are a thing of the past, it will likely be remembered that the iPhone was first. It has been less than two decades since the advent of the first iPhone and it’s pretty incredible that we’ve come as far as we have.
You don’t have to worry if you just spent $1,500 on your new smartphone, you will likely go through a half dozen or more of them before the next thing gets here. The smartphone is integral to people’s lives as it is effectively a high-powered computer in your pocket that has near-perpetual connectivity. This allows it to be so important in so many situations of the modern person’s life that when a user accidentally drops and breaks their phone (or mistakenly leaves it at home) it is viewed as a big deal.
This, some would say, extreme reliance on these devices makes you think that they are so important that people will never, ever move past them. They are a part of the culture and are crucial to the administration of people’s day-to-day lives. There have been applications developed for about anything you can think of, and the app stores that fuel the smartphone market continue to grow…Including augmented reality apps.
The ironic part of the whole thing is that augmented reality (AR) is the technology that just may make the smartphone go the way of the Dodo. Some of the world’s most successful technology companies are actively working on introducing augmented reality-fueled devices that would make the modern smartphone obsolete.
AR is effectively data that augments the display you are seeing. You know the little scoreboard on the screen when you watch a football game? That is augmented reality. The thing is that should these companies be able to create devices that could use augmented reality to do all the things that you do on your phone, it would destroy the smartphone, which hasn’t seen all that much difference in the form factor in almost two decades.
Heads Up AR
The future of consumer electronics are smart glasses (or contact lenses). Before you deride that idea, remember how you felt when you heard about the possibility of smart glasses coming out over a decade ago? You thought it was super cool and only a matter of time before it happened, right? Well this is the form factor that is going to likely come after the smartphone and will start a whole new generation of innovation around wearable technology.
This technology hasn’t yet been mastered, and it’s going to take a long time for people to develop the applications needed to facilitate the removal of the smartphone market, but it’s coming the same way that the app-fueled smartphone decimated the cell phone market.
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