Today, almost all of us carry them in our pockets. Smartphones have gradually taken over the world of technology, displacing old mobile phones and, more recently, personal computers, becoming the main device we use to access information and entertainment. The old mantra "I only use my phone for calls" has been shattered into pieces by Google's and Apple's application ecosystems. Today, our smartphones are also cameras and camcorders, books, music players, clocks and chronometers, TVs, even barcode readers and digital maps, in case we need such functionality.
They themselves have changed beyond recognition and today are more powerful, with more beautiful displays and more functional than ever. In fact, they have evolved to such an extent that more and more often we can hear the opinion that in this class of devices
everything is already invented
And while such anti-innovation claims are ultimately always refuted in time, some mobile manufacturers seem willing to agree that the sector is experiencing a kind of "identity crisis." A trend that has recently affected sales as well. It's just that almost all new smartphone models are more and more similar, and innovations in them are increasingly reduced to "even more powerful camera", "even more productive processor" or "even bigger display, with smaller frames around it". The conceptual innovations that could change the industry however, have been almost non-existent in recent years.
Smartphone manufacturers hope to establish models with folding displays as such conceptual innovations, and rely on the change of generations in mobile networks. Yes, the introduction of 5G will actually change a lot of things, but for devices this change will not be very visible. Folding screens, meanwhile, don't look to become the mass phenomenon that will again lead to a more serious increase in sales of new devices. It is enough to look around and try to find someone around us with that kind of smartphone, to be convinced that this concept will remain a rare luxury rather than mass technology.
The search is for
the next innovation
which will once again direct the spotlight to the smartphone market and make consumers say to themselves "I want to have this". And a look at the design concepts announced recently shows us that it may already exist. Although conceptual designs are often made for marketing purposes only and many of them never go on sale, promising new technologies that have changed this market many times can sometimes be found among them. Therefore, in the following paragraphs we will introduce you to some of the most promising concepts in this segment, as well as some already realized ideas with a future.
LG unveiled its Rollable concept for a phone with a roll-up screen at this year's CES. This practically turns it into a tablet in a matter of seconds, and if the technology develops in the future, it is possible that it will be able to fully replace a laptop. In time, why not have only one device that changes its shape and size, depending on what purpose we need? Practical, isn't it? To do this, however, manufacturers will have to solve a number of problems with the durability of roll-up displays - a problem found today in those with folding displays.
Screen on all sides
Xiaomi's recently introduced Mi MIX Alpha concept model is the first of its kind in which the screen completely surrounds the body - front, rear and side. Although the practicality of this innovation may be questioned, the device looks really great and looks like something technology enthusiasts would like to buy. In addition, the model can provide the convenience of watching content on both sides of the phone, along with a person standing in front of us.
Smartphones are flying off
Another interesting concept by LG has the creative moniker "drone phone". It's the first phone of its kind that can... fly. This is thanks to the two built-in propellers in the body, which turn the device into a full-fledged flying drone. The promotional video presented by LG shows various scenarios in which the phone simply hovers in the air opposite its owner while making a video call or even broadcasting a movie. Or it flies in front of them and lights their way when they walk in the dark. The greatest convenience is that the user does not have to use their hands and can do something else. The concept can have hundreds of applications and is really extremely useful. However, it has a long way to go before it becomes a product available on the market.
Camera built into the screen
Smartphone manufacturers have long been trying to solve the problem with the front camera. It is usually located somewhere within the screen of the device, which violates its integrity and is criticized by some demanding users. The recently fashionable "drop-shaped slit" on the upper side also does not solve this problem. One possible solution that some companies are experimenting with is a camera coming out of the case. However, ZTE has taken a different approach with its Axon 20 5G. In it, the camera is built directly under the display. However, the phone was not so well received by the audience and was criticized, including for the quality of the front camera. However, there is a future in the concept.
This idea is not new and there are already a number of working devices on the market such as Motorola's Moto Z. These are smartphones, to the back of which various modules can be attached - an additional battery, an audio speaker, even a projector for presentations and a miniature printer for business cards. This creates a whole new ecosystem around the device. Previous models have never been established on the market, but the concept is interesting and it is possible to see a more successful product with it. At the same time, a similar approach can be followed in the production of modular cases for smartphones.
Scanning the surrounding world
Changhong H2 is a very interesting concept for a smartphone that can scan the physical objects around us and then analyze their composition. For this purpose, the device has a special scanner that detects differences in the refraction of light from different types of materials and compounds. The model actually has many more practical applications than we would have thought at first - from scanning the food we buy in the store to analyzing the skin on our face. It also shows that a new smartphone concept can be created not only in terms of its shape and design, but also in very specific features that could make our daily lives easier.