Published on March 1st, 2018 | by Emergent Enterprise0
What Will Replace the Smartphone?
If you have heard me speak at a conference or a seminar/webinar, I almost certainly told you to read the book The Best Interface is No Interface by Golden Krishna. And I am telling you now. Krishna envisions a future where we don’t have to be enslaved to screens to get our information and that emerging technologies will pave the way for a screenless world where we aren’t so distracted by the devices in our hands.
That makes me wonder what could ever replace the smartphone. It has become part of our daily routine. It is in our muscle memory. The fear of losing your phone or being out of internet access is now a phobia: nomophobia. It is thought that the increase in pedestrian deaths is due mostly to distracted people. What could possibly replace this attachment to our phones?
There are some prime suspects in emerging technologies and three immediately stand out:
- Smart Watches – People are getting more accustomed to doing everyday tasks on a watch. Send a message. Track a run. Listen to music. Monitor health. Make a wrist call. Or is it called a watch call? Apple is selling more watches than ever according to macrumors.com and is now the “biggest watchmaker in the world.” A smart watch allows the user to get life done without pulling a smartphone out of a pocket and that’s a big win. Sure, the watch is tethered to the phone but hands free makes it very attractive as our next can’t be without device.
- Smart Glasses – There have been some high profile augmented reality and virtual reality device failures like the original Google Glass and recently Snap Spectacles. There are some definite UX issues to overcome when smart glasses are worn. Wearers are not accustomed to having text and graphics appear in their close field of vision and it will take time for some sort of normalcy for that. Glasses are getting less bulky and looking more like common glasses and that’s important. And when people are interacting with a smart glasses wearer they are often curious as to what the user is seeing in their magic lenses. There is potential here for smart glasses to usurp the smartphone but they still have quite a ways to go for all of use to be wearing them on a daily basis.
- Voice assistance and IoT – What if the whole world around us was plugged in to our location and whenever we had a need we just spoke or gestured to the “things” nearby? Think beyond a smart home to a smart store, smart office, smart school, smart car, smart gym, smart, smart, smart. Sensors could be continuously monitoring us and anticipating our needs and next steps. This smacks of the first stages of Kurzweil’s singularity when we will “merge with the intelligence we have created,” but a plugged-in environment will be more common in the very near future. Thus, the smartphone will be replaced simply because we won’t need it.
It’s a little early to tell what will replace the smartphone but there is no doubt it will happen. Technology will provide new and easier ways to keep us connected. These new ways will less and less likely require a screen and our enslavement will be over. Are you ready to give up your smartphone?