The next generation of Smartphones could feature some exciting innovations. Mobile technology is becoming faster and more performing than ever thanks to innovations like wireless charging or electrovibrations. Here are the most interesting trends currently shaping mobile technology.
Electrovibration Adds Texture To Your Screen
The texture you feel at your fingertips when interacting with a phone is important because it helps you perform actions without looking at your phone. On older cellphones, you could easily type an entire text without looking at your keyboard thanks to the buttons on your device.
Designers are currently working on developing tactile feedback or haptics that would deliver a similar experience on a touchscreen. This is a significant challenge as phones allow us to perform a wider range of tasks.
Most Smartphones use vibrations to indicate that you typed a letter or tapped on a button. These vibrations make your experience a little more interactive, but the next generation of Smartphones could feature more advanced haptics.
Electrovibration can be created with an electrostatic field. These phones would have an additional layer on top of the touchscreen and charges would change to create different sensations and textures.
Your phone’s touchscreen could have a rough, sticky, or bumpy features in function of the charge used. These sensations could be combined with the vibrations that current Smartphones use.
There are a few challenges that are preventing phone manufacturers from using this technology. Apple has developed the Taptic Engine to add this feature to its smartwatches, and Nokia has released a few phones with this technology.
However, delivering a consistent haptic experience is difficult. Not everyone has the same level of sensitivity, and there is a risk that some textures won’t be a pleasant experience for some users.
This technology won’t be limited to Smartphones. Other touchscreens could benefit from integrating some form of haptic response, such as the touchscreens used in cars since you are likely to use these screens without directly looking at them.
Translate Speech In Real-Time
A real-time speech translator is not a new invention. Brands like Logbar already offer wearable translators. However, Google recently paired this technology with a Smartphone to allow you to translate a foreign language in real-time.
The Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL phones come with a pair of Google Pixel Buds. These wireless earbuds allow you to interact with the Google assistant and can translate speech in 40 languages in real-time.
This is a feature that could soon become mainstream in mobile technology as more Smartphone brands decide to offer similar speech translator capabilities.
There are a few drawbacks to this technology, even though it is one of the most accessible real-time translation devices currently available.
This feature relies on Google Translate, which isn’t always accurate. Because the purpose of this technology is to have a conversation in another language, poor translations can impact your experience and make communication difficult, especially if there is a need to share precise details or use colloquial expressions.
It is also difficult to have a normal interaction with someone who speaks a foreign language since they will have to speak directly into your Google Pixel phone so you can hear the translation in your earbuds.
There is room for improvement, but real-time translations are a trend that could soon become mainstream as more phones come with this feature and as translations become more accurate. And in spite of its drawbacks, this technology is still a game changer if you are traveling abroad.
Get Rid Of Cables With Wireless Charging
Wireless chargers have been around for a while. However, recent changes could indicate that they will soon become the norm.
Wireless charging works by using an electromagnetic field. You need to connect the wireless charger to a power source and place a compatible Smartphone or smart device on the charger pad.
Belkin is one of the most popular wireless charger brands with its Qi products. Until recently, there were two wireless charging standards. Apple made the Qi standard the most popular one by creating phones compatible with these chargers.
Recent innovations have made it possible to create wireless chargers that work with both standards. This means consumers would have access to a wider selection of products compatible with their device.
Belkin offers products that can charge your phone at the same speed as a cable. However, Powermat now has a product that can charge your phone twice as fast.
These chargers are becoming more sophisticated. You can find products that will automatically synchronize your phone with accessories like earbuds or a smartwatch when you place them on your wireless charger.
Wireless charging could become mainstream once over the air charging becomes a reality. This mobile technology relies on radio frequencies to charge devices remotely. Investing in a charging pad makes sense if you can charge your phone faster than with a cable, but an over the air charging device could keep all your devices charged and eliminate cables.
Some companies are working on developing wireless chargers that target gadgets with low power needs. These chargers could automatically recharge devices such as wireless earbuds, keyboards, or home automation gadgets like smart outlets.
Wearables Could Become More Commonplace
These devices typically use sensors to track your movements or vitals and connect to the Internet. You can use wearables to collect data or execute some applications.
There is a wide range of uses for wearables. A contactless payment system built into a wearable bracelet could provide consumers with a safer alternative to credit cards in the future.
Smart glasses are already a thing. These wearables are life-changing for blind users who can share a video feed of their location to a company agent and receive help and information an earbud.
Fitness trackers are becoming more accurate and come with more functionalities than ever before. Users can keep track of how active they are, gather data on their sleeping habits, and use these wearables to meet fitness goals.
Virtual reality and augmented reality wearables could be the next big thing on the wearables market. These headsets are equipped with accelerometers to detect your movements and could be paired with other wearables such as gloves to capture your movements and allow you to interact with a virtual world.
We might still be years away from a real wearable Smartphone, but several brands now offer a smartwatch you can synchronize with your phone. It seems unlikely that these watches would one day replace Smartphones due to the small size of their screen, but innovations such as foldable screens or projection displays could revolutionize smartwatches.
The rise of home automation products could also result in wearables becoming more commonplace. A wearable bracelet or another connected device could, for instance, be used to unlock a smart door or control other home automation features.
What Is The 5G Network?
The creation of a 5G network is a major step in the world of mobile technology. This new network will be launched in 2018 and phones compatible with this new network will follow shortly afterward.
The 5G network is faster, more responsive, and allows for a much larger number of objects to connect to the network. This is a crucial feature since the number of connected objects is projected to increase with the Internet of Things. The current 4G network couldn’t handle a sharp increase in connected objects.
For now, phones will connect to the 4G network and switch to the faster and newer network where it is available. The encoding is similar to the 4G LTE network, but there is lower latency.
The 5G network can use frequencies that were reserved for Wi-Fi networks without causing any interferences. This is also a smarter network that can handle a larger number of connections.
AT&T is going to launch a 5G network in 12 cities by the end of the year, and Verizon will have a 5G network in five cities by mid-2018. T-Mobile is working on developing a nationwide 5G network that is projected to be finished in 2019.
It is likely that 5G networks will be small local networks developed to support a large number of connected devices. This new technology may or may not replace the 4G network, but most phones will continue using the 4G network for now.
In the future, it is possible that you would have a 5G Internet connection in your home to support your multiple connected gadgets and devices. Businesses such as connected factories will probably adopt this technology first to support their IoT devices.
These are five significant innovations that will impact the features you will find in the next generation of Smartphones. There are other interesting trends worth observing in the world of mobile technology, such as the use of location-based services, virtual reality, instant apps, and AI becoming more performing.