Mobile evolution: Lighter, better, faster, stronger

By Megan Irvine

Over the last four decades, mobile phones have evolved significantly in size, shape and function. They have become lighter, faster, more affordable and more useful in a myriad of ways. So, what is the next step in mobile evolution? Where does it go from here?

Loaded with sensors

Mobile devices will soon be more intuitive than ever before, as they’ll be able to collect and interpret all kinds of data. We already have devices that can track our heart rate, number of steps taken and distance traveled. The next generation of devices will be packed with even more sophisticated sensors, and they’ll be able to combine and use the collected data in new ways. Through either visual or motion detection, wearable fitness devices will be able to inform users of their caloric intake after determining their portion sizes and specific food selections. This technology will allow users to easily monitor certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Mobile evolution follows science fiction: The “Star Trek” tricorder is becoming a reality.

Wearability

Mobile devices will transition from something users carry to something users wear as they evolve. The wristwatch form factor recently made a tremendous comeback as a fitness tracker and wearable device, and there are currently many styles and brands to choose from. You can now get “smart shoes” that collect health and fitness data and can provide coaching advice based on that information.

Soon, we will have even more options for wearing devices. As wearability frees our hands for doing other things, mobile devices will only become more integral to our everyday apparel. Perhaps you’ll wear this pendant or view the world through “smart contact lenses.” Several companies have filed patents for this kind of technology, so it is only a matter of time before we are all wearing computers on our eyes.

Modularity

A logical next step in the mobile evolution process is that mobile devices will become more customizable and modular. A few modular smartphones have been developed that allow you to choose components such as a processor, camera, GPS, battery, screen and so on. This kind of solution might help to reduce electronic waste, reduce repair costs and extend the life and usefulness of the device itself. As the technology improves, this idea is likely to catch on, especially in developing areas where mobile is growing quickly and cost is an issue.

Where do you think the mobile evolution is going? Let me know @mirv_pgh on Twitter.

Written By

Megan Irvine

Technical Enablement Specialist at IBM

Megan Irvine has been developing education for IBM Software for 20 years, and is currently a Technical Enablement Specialist for IBM Cloud, specializing in Mobile. She designs, develops, and delivers training to IBM customers, business partners, and employees around the world. She…

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