Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mobile phone – What will it look like in Five Years?

A few weeks ago I blogged about the current growth rate of the mobile phone market. This week, I’m going to project out five years into the future to see what the phone will look like based on current trends. This is always a risky proposition—as someone once wrote, “never make predictions – especially about the future.”

Average memory size on a mobile phone in 2012 will be 32 Gb. There will be some that will go for 64 Gb, but for an additional price. Data rates will run around the 240 Gbps.

Today, the average mobile phone has about 10 applications. By 2012, 30 applications will be available. Applications will become more interdependent. Instead of one application trying to do everything, each application will rely upon another for some functionality. For example, several applications such as “Restaurant finder” will use the GPS application rather than embedding its own GPS function into it.

The physical dimensions could take quite a different shape including morphing into jewelry shapes such as rings or watches or even eye wear. To get an idea of what the phone may look like check out this contest in London where artists submitted designs that ranged from the fashionable to the practical.

Currently, mobile phones make use of data and WiFi connectivity tools. In this area, the phone will certainly see expansion of data services in both rate and QoS features. By 2012, the five 9’s of reliability seen with the landline telephone service will extend to the mobile phone. Dropped calls and scratchy reception will be replaced with crystal clear calls and quality of service metrics.

In general mobile phone usage will become less obvious in appearance but more critical in its usage. The phone will become the universal remote that some home AV vendors taut. The phone will start to blend in with it surroundings but will connect to more things such as becoming the remote for your television, your interface for your TIVO (when away from your living room). It could also replace your garage door opener, as well as become your interface for other home automation functions. Certainly, in the healthcare area, the mobile phone will be your monitor for heart rate, blood pressure, glucose levels, and more. In the business world, more functions will be interfaced through the mobile phone such as payment systems, and security access.

As a user once remarked to me the other day, “this phone has half my life in it.” In five years, he’ll say, “this phone has all my life in it.”

Best regards,
Hall T.

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