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The future of mobiles

With the mobile phone celebrating its 40th year this year, the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch (above) and rumours of Apple’s iWatch to come later in 2013, Oxygen speculates on the future for mobile devices…

Are mobile smartwatches and other mobile devices going to become even more ‘wearable’?

No firm release date has been set for the release of the iWatch, but it’s rumoured amongst industry analysts that the product will launch later this year. Apple is known to be experimenting with Willow Glass, which is so flexible as to be capable of completely encircling the wrist. Speculations on how the iWatch will look include a futuristic ‘cuff’ shape which is entirely clear with a central screen.

Are screen size and battery life crucial limitations on the future of wearable mobile devices?

Reviewers have already noted that it’s handy to have a camera positioned in a wristband for those impromptu shots, and to be able to simply lift your wrist to check on Facebook status updates or texts. But reading emails on a wrist watch sized screen and frequent charging seems like a backward step. Apple is already known to be working on more efficiently powered screens and wireless charging to improve battery life and convenience to the user on its iWatch. There is speculation that it may be using e-ink technology to do so. At present, it still seems likely though, that for some functions mobile watch devices will provide alerts to prompt users to consult their phones and tablets.

With emails, Google Glass has the potential advantage, but technology is already racing ahead to one better. Scientists at Washington University are currently experimenting with solar powered contact lenses implanted with transparent LEDs which transmit information directly onto the eyes of the wearer. Our future vision of the world could conceivably be one that’s routinely ‘virtually enhanced’.

“Industry specialists estimate that truly morphing mobile devices are probably only 15 years away.”

How adaptable could mobile technology get?

We already have the paper thin and flexible Willow Glass. However scientists at Bristol University are already working on ‘Morphees’ or devices that will fold to hide data, unfold into a more convenient shape for a specific function such as gaming, or even squash into a stress ball. Such devices would almost certainly be unbreakable – something for those who’ve already cracked the screen of their iPhone to look forward to. There are already tablets with keyboard screens which will ‘display’ bumps to guide the user to type more easily and then revert to flat. Industry specialists estimate that truly morphing mobile devices are probably only 15 years away.

What do we already know about what mobile devices will be like in the future?

Contactless interfaces for mobile devices from re-applied ‘Kinect’ technology are a strong possibility. Most big tech companies are also working on NFC based contactless payment technology. It’s likely that payment and banking systems will be all easily managed from one mobile device making cash and possibly even cards increasing redundant − and synching in nicely with proximity special offer alerts already offered by big brands to those with smartphones.

‘Three’ found that monthly data use is doubling year on year, so we’ll need to be speeding towards 14G rather than 4G by 2053. As far as brands go, it’s likely to be those with a web services infrastructure that are able to connect their users with their data i.e. with superior mobility of connections, that will win the latest race to capture the largest market share.

Did you know that 46% of users now use mobiles exclusively for their searches? If you need a mobile optimised site call Oxygen today on 0845 3606 255. We’ll make finding your business on-the-go easy.


Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.