Technologies that could change smartphones

Welcome to five upcoming technologies that I think could change the entire smartphone landscape.

5. Invisible cameras.

Cameras that sit below the screen on your phone. And there’s the obvious advantage of no notch, n0 hole punch. Just pure, uninterrupted screen. But there’s also a subtler perk. If you think about it with an invisible camera, you don’t need to put it right at the top of your phone. Where the cameras usually are. You can put it closer to the middle, which would solve the age-old problem of where do look.

How many times have you been taking a selfie or having a video call with someone? And you realize that instead of actually looking at the camera, you’ve just been looking at yourself in the screen? Well, if that camera is in the middle of the screen, then you can effectively be doing both at the same time.

4. Mobile Cloud Computing

And what got me thinking about this is Google’s new stadia platform. For those of you who don’t know stadia allows you to play PC quality games without a PC using game streaming.

And it has an important implication for the smartphone. So the way the current gaming market works is each customer buys a box. It could be a P.C., it could be a PlayStation four. And this box contains all the power needed to run the game. And so you install something on it and play. But Google sees the future as something very different. A batch of centralized supercomputers that are actually running the game and then users will just be able to tap into that and stream that content onto their screens. Because all that processing is being done on Google’s end.

You can play games on not just your TV, but your smartphone, even theoretically your watch. If you wanted to. And there’s a similar trend happening with phones. It’s already started. At the very beginning, let’s say with the original iPhone, your software experience was almost completely powered by the components are sitting inside your device. But as the smartphone is becoming more connected, more and more of that processing is becoming offloaded and the benefits are broader than just gaming.

For example, Google’s lens uses the cloud to compute what your smartphone is seeing. Your phone is actually reaching into Google’s entire knowledge base and using it to understand the world around you. And the point I’m making here is that this reliance on the cloud is about to go up. And that means the actual intelligence of your smartphone will skyrocket because it’s going to be less and less limited by the actual hardware inside of it. Also, the spin off effect of this power becoming ever more available is that you might start to see more people opt for wearables instead of smartphones, as opposed to something they have alongside them.

If the computing is done in the cloud, then every device here to watch or even a necklace can have the same access to this power. And that’s an interesting future. All right.

3. Solid-State Battery.

Current smartphones use lithium-ion technology. And to put it simply, these batteries have two poles and Anode And a cathode surrounded by liquid lithium. Ions are released from the anode. They travel through this liquid to the cathode. And this is what releases energy. But this liquid has a couple of problems. For starters, it’s flammable. And we see stuff like battery blast and other things. Plus over time, you get these solid structures called dendrite forming in it, which makes it harder for the lithium ions to flow.

So after repeated cycles, these batteries can deliver less and less energy. This is the reason why your two-year-old smartphone can barely make it through the day without a charge. Solid-state batteries have basically the same structure but replace the liquid inside for a solid. So straight away, no dendrites. So products that use a solid-state battery, they’ll be able to retain their charge over long periods of time. They should have a usable lifespan of 10 years compared to just two to three years for a lithium-ion product.

Plus, because a sonnet can potentially be more stable than the liquid that’s currently in these batteries, solid state cells can work in much more extreme temperatures. This is important. It means that when you’re charging your phone, you can pump in a lot more power without causing damage. So charging speeds could double or triple instantly. Plus, the heat dissipation systems that companies invest in, they’re no longer as important. So they can almost be reduced, leaving room for an even bigger battery.

This, though, is a little more relevant to electric cars, which currently have massive power-sucking cooling systems. The most noticeable improvement for smartphones will be energy density. A solid-state battery the same size as a lithium-ion one could deliver anywhere from two to five times as much energy. We’re talking smartphones that could last eight to 10 days on a charge. Without getting too complex, having a solid instead of a liquid means we can swap the material in the anode and make it much slimmer. Slimmer anode means a slimmer battery with the same capacity.

2. Materials.

I can’t wait for the day when I feel comfortable using my smartphone without a case, and I do think it’s going to belong. Glass, for starters, is getting stronger. These new iPhones, they’re nearly there when it comes to dropping resistance. To the point where you could let them fall from pocket height and you might even get away without a mark. And in a worst-case scenario, still probably no serious damage. You’ve also got Samsung, who’s working on a practically indestructible, flexible OLED display, which in testing was dropped 26 times successively with zero damage.

And the other thing which currently has me reaching for a case is the slippery nature of most smartphones. But to combat this, I think Google nailed it with the pixel. For a map finished on not just the back, but also the sides means you don’t feel like you’re just one wrong hand movement away from owning a pile of deconstructed smartphone parts. They even solved the fingerprint problem with the surface. The phone itself is definitely flawed, But I do want to see more of these materials moving forward.

1. Computational Photography

Smartphones have been using computational photography since the beginning. It refers to the combination of optics, what the camera sees and the processing that your phone does with this information. But where it’s reached now and where it’s about to go are incredibly exciting. So already smartphones can capture high dynamic range images which use software to expose both bright and dark areas evenly. Phones can capture thousands of stars in the night sky more than your eye can see.

They can take portrait mode photos simulating having a large DSLR sensor. As smartphones become more powerful and more connected, these features can be almost levelled up. For example, night mode on phones works by taking many raw images and stacking them on top of each other to bring out the light. And that’s why it takes so long to capture and why it works far better on a tripod. With more processing power there won’t be a delay. There’ll be no need for a tripod.

Taking an astrophotography shot of the sky will be as simple as grabbing a phone and pointing it upwards, or for portrait mode photos. Let’s say you’ve got a phone that can capture and process a really good DSLR like portrait mode photo in 0.5 seconds. So it can do two per second. Let’s say then over the next 10 years, smartphones become 15 times more powerful, which is not unreasonable. Then all of a sudden you can take 30 of these shots per second and you’ve got a proper portrait mode video that alongside rapidly improving lenses and sensors which means I don’t actually think it’ll be long before the smartphone becomes a professional filmmaking tool.

Full Credit: MrWhoseTheBoss

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