Movies and TV shows set in the near – or far – future often depict communication methods that are familiar. The devices in most of these are similar to the smartphones we use today: they are small, compact, and multifunctional, covering everything from communication to entertainment. Sometimes, we could wonder if it’s the science-fiction writers’ imagination that has reached its limits, or did the smartphones as we know them reached the apogee of their evolution?
A short but intense history
If at first mobile phones were evolving slowly, they truly picked up speed in the final years of the last century. The first mobile phone that could send SMS was released in 1993, followed by the first camera phone with a color screen in 2000. A year later, the first phone with an Mp3 player was released, followed by the first Java-powered phone that could run third-party apps (applets) and games in 2002. The following years have seen mobile phones and PDAs develop many new capabilities until they fused to give birth to the first iPhone in 2007, giving mobile devices a brand new form and many new functions.
The end of (r)evolution
During the years since the release of the first iPhone, smartphones have become more complex and powerful – but the real revolution has ended. Of course, the phones’ hardware has kept evolving – their processing power has grown exponentially, their cameras have improved significantly, and their internet connection speeds are much higher than ever before.
The path smartphones have taken is similar to that of desktop computers: while their hardware is stronger and faster than ever, they haven’t really evolved – they just improved on the existing technology. It’s the content that has changed a lot since the release of the smartphone as we know it.
Content and services
Smartphones have become one of the most important devices in our lives over the last decade. We use them for everything from traditional things like voice calls and text messages to payments or even our personal entertainment. The “personal screen” has grown into the most-used one for gaming around the world, no matter if it’s a complex shooter like PUBG or Fortnite or a simple game like a slot machine at the JackpotCity online casino.
Mobile casinos were always at the forefront of adopting new technologies, including migrating to mobile. JackpotCity and some of its sister casinos were the first to release a fully functional mobile slot machine in the mid-2000s and continued to expand their mobile offering on all platforms, including smartwatches, in the years to come. In spite of the obvious obstacles, the JackpotCity has managed to build a complete and fully-fledged mobile platform offering its users secure connections and payment processing and all the fun they need on the go.
Mobile has slowly grown into the most important platform for innovation and services. If at first, apps were little more than music players and some simpler games, today you can manage pretty much every aspect of your life, from work to finances. Some of the most successful services today are built around smartphones: ride-hailing, food delivery, shopping, and payments. The phones’ ever-improving hardware is home to an ever-growing ecosystem of apps and services. And their reach is growing with every year that passes.
It is hard to imagine what the future of the smartphone may look like… especially if you imagine it as a smartphone. Folding screens and multiple cameras, multi-core CPUs, and powerful GPUs – these are all improvements of existing components. Today’s pocket-sized communications and multimedia device may not have many new directions to take – unless, of course, it’s reimagined from scratch.
In the future, smartphones will likely no longer be “phones” in the traditional sense of the word. The “phone” part – as used in reference to a network for voice calls – will likely be replaced by VoIP through third-party services.
The buttons and ports are already disappearing, replaced by wireless solutions and voice commands. The screen, where all the interesting things happen, will probably get an extension in the form of augmented or extended reality with the use of smart glasses. Slowly, the smartphone will transition from being a “phone” to a pocket-sized personal computer constantly connected to our digital life.
And what comes after that… only time will tell.