Cell Phones: 2030

The cell phone has become the most common electronic device that people have today. The reason is simple: cells phones are gobbling up all other functions of electronic devices. They are music players, movie players, they can go online, etc. So what does the future hold for the cell phone?

A common prediction I’ve found is that printable batteries and circuits will lead to cell phones being imbedded in clothing. Basically the speakerphone and microphone will be part of the collar all functions would presumably be controlled through voice.

Am I the only one that thinks this is ridiculous? I mean, first there’s the issue of how you wash the shirt. If you had electronics embedding in clothing you probably also have figured out how to make them be able to go through the wash. Second, wouldn’t you have to have cell phones imbedded in every shirt you wear? Otherwise if you’re wearing another shirt and get a call, you’ll miss it. This is essentially the same problem for why we don’t have video phones: who wants to put on pants (or the right shirt) to answer the phone? And if you did have cell phones in every shirt, wouldn’t you also have to have some overriding system that would ensure calls are directed to the correct shirt?

The other prediction I’ve found is that cell phones will eventually shrink into earpieces, like Bluetooth but without the phone base. This is also pretty silly to me. I mean, Bluetooth is good, but there are a lot of functions a Bluetooth can’t handle, like texting or surfing the web. Basically both this prediction and the one above suffer from the same problem: failing to take into account all the functions a cell phone has. Why is it that cell phones are getting comparatively larger will full-color screens? Because that is how you text and play games and go online. Seriously, turn off your computer monitor and try to surf the web. Can’t do it, huh?

So what do I think cell phones will become in the next twenty years? Cell phones will likely remain separate, handheld apparatuses. There will likely be a detachable earpiece, but one can be reconnected to the phone when taken off (so the two can be carried as a single unit, rather than two separate ones). It will be fully voice-command capable. They will likely become much thinner, perhaps no thicker than a credit card, but still have a large screen. A future cell phone will like look very much like credit, or two connected end-to-end if it’s a flip phone.

But isn’t a phone like that liable to get broken or snapped in half? No. Cell phones in 2030 will also likely be flexible. You can bend it, sit on it, and do all sorts of things without having it break. Flexible computer screens are starting to be developed, and the full-color, high-res screen is often the most expensive component of any electronic device. By making the screen pretty much unbreakable, you’ll less likely to have to end up buying a new phone because of it. It will also likely have full video capabilities, making it a true video phone, but an option that can easily be deactivated by the user. Despite its presence it likely won’t be used as much as voice-only calls or text messaging, simply because people would rather only hear a voice. It’s much easier to keep your privacy when someone can’t see you, and adding a video option won’t dramatically increase the price of the phone.

Of course, it will still be able to do all the things phones to today. In fact, they may even design it so it can flip out twice (once vertically, one horizontally) so that you end up with a screen four times as large as the original phone. A huge trend today is moving away from physical media like DVDs or CDs and having everyone streaming from the internet. Computer processing power by 2030 will make it very fast and easy to stream a full-length Blu-Ray-quality movie in minutes, and being able to stream any TV show or movie from anywhere will be very popular.

So anyway, that’s what I think. Later, we’ll of course see communications and computer technology be fused with human biology, but by 2030 the technology won’t be quite there yet.

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