Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

The New Era of Smartphones

_DSC1679I think we can all appreciate how important a part of our lives that our smartphones have become today. We don’t use them much to make phone calls. But we still use them to communicate, by way of text messaging, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. We also use them to take photos, capture video, read books, play games, surf the web, play music, watch videos, shop, and so much more.

Our smartphones have become very powerful general-purpose tools. Much like how our personal computers can be used for very varied purposes. It’s just a question of putting in the right software.

Back in the late 1970s, we could say that Apple ushered in the era of personal computers. Sure, the Apple II back then in 1977 wasn’t the first ever personal computer. But it was the first very popular personal computer. 40 years later, in 2007, Apple launched the iPhone. It’s not the first smartphone. But, arguably, the iPhone defined how a smartphone should look like, and what it should do. Smartphones before the first iPhone weren’t very smart.

Then, just like our personal computers, in some ways, have now become more power than we need them to be, so it seems to be happening soon with our smartphones too.

Apple introduced the first dual-core 64-bit processor in the iPhone 5S. Chinese manufacturer Vivo has announced a smartphone with a 2K display. Then, unbelievably, Samsung talks about 4K smartphone display coming in 2014. They are talking about pixel density of some 560 PPI. Not even your printed magazines have these sort of dot density (at least not typically).

I’m thinking that our smartphones have just about reached the stage where the numbers are becoming meaningless. Just like GHz of the processor on a desktop computer. Honestly, I’m not sure how 560 PPI will be useful to us. Yet, I could be proven wrong. After all, someone said 640KB was all you’ll ever need in a computer. See, our smartphones are now pushing 3GB of RAM.

Moving ahead, I think it’s the innovations that matter more, the sort of innovations that will truly make a difference in our experience. Again, Apple’s Touch ID seems to be one pretty good example. Samsung’s Air Gesture, Smart Stay and Smart Scroll could also qualify, though I personally think they still need more work to perfect the general experience.

At the more mundane level, it will be nice to see more integration and convergence of our gadgets. One thing I’ve been thinking about is the smartphone doubling up as a personal computer. Sort of like how ASUS’ PadFone is both a phone and a tablet/notebook. The PadFone, however, didn’t seem to be good as either one of them. But the concept could still be further tweaked and refined.

What will we have in 2014?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

View Comment Policy