It is perplexing, to say the least, to observe the simultaneous rise and fall of “apps”. Their rate of disappearance from the desktop is eclipsed only by their rate of appearance on the mobile platforms. Currently, both the iPhone and the Apple “markets” list more than 500,000 apps. My sixth sense tells me more may be on the way.
(Let the fantasies begin – Armchair futurists unite!)
What will cell phones look like in year 2020? Here are a few predictions – set in stone, so you can check in a few years time how close or how far these were from the reality. To start off things, the cell phones in 2020 will be called something different, to reflect that making calls is just one function they do. “Handy” might just do it.
Dimensions: 4in x 2in x 0.5 in (Very similar to today, but read notes about screen size/usage below).
Screen Size: 4in x 2in that unfolds to 4 in x 8 in
Hard Drive: ~ 10 TB of hard drive space
CPU: ~ 120 GHz Processor
RAM: ~ 32-128 GB of RAM
Battery Life: 2 days of working on full load, > 7 days on “light” mode
Communication: 4-7 Gbps, using a variety of technologies, that works around the world, all flat fee based.
Usage: (This is where it gets interesting) Every cell phone will be the complete computing/storage requirements for a person – RAM, hard disk, CPU. When you go from home to work, car, hotel room, cab, cafe, club, etc, you will be able to plugin your cellphone to a “multimedia outlet”, which has larger screens, speakers, video camera, olfactory output, all inbuilt into the screen. So, you won’t have an office “computer”, you will just have an office media outlet that serves as magnifying your handy in a multimedia sense. The multimedia outlets will come in a variety of shapes and sizes (and with varying costs), but they will all feature a “smart cradle”, which will connect to different types of handy sets with no setting changes – (USB 6.0?). The different kinds of outlets will be an extension of current HD TVs and 3D TVs, and will be a major growth industry in this decade. These outlets will represent growth of brands such as Samsung, which have both phones and multimedia outputs already in place in 2010. Hotels and hotel rooms will also distinguish themselves from each other by the kinds of media outlets they have.
Banal changes in behavior:
You will be able to shop with your phone – in store, and online (one-click-buy sites will become super common). This idea has been around – see the CNN video from March 2010 – over next few years, it will get implemented.
Similarly, you will be able to use phone as your identification – drivers license, passport, etc (an aspect in which cell phones will compete against biometric devices), but this aspect will experience adoption at different rates due to bureaucratic hurdles.
What will go away? There will be no “synchronization” devices/software for your computer and phone, since your phone will have everything it needs. There will be a “backup” feature that will continuously backup your handy with your carrier.
What happens if you lose your phone? You can just call your carrier and have a new phone delivered the next day. The new phone will have everything replicated already, and other than some activation requirement, it will be good to go. The old phone will not compromise your data/credit, with some combination of remote locking and passwords.
Are you sure these are predictions for 2020, not 2012?
Some of these predictions may be true for some phones today, but the prediction/fantasy is that these specs will be ubiquitous by 2020.
[I will keep refining this post for at least a few more days as I think of more things, but it will be set in stone sometime before June 2011.]