Are Samsung smartphones dead or do they die?

The smartphone is dead - and that's why!

Birgit Götz, Simon Rockman

Smartphones had a run for ten years - but they won't be around in ten years. Because we will no longer use smartphones.

EnlargeSamsung Galaxy S20
© pisitnamtasaeng / Shutterstock.com / Samsung / PC-WORLD

In 10 years we will no longer be using a smartphone - at least not the way we do today.

Thinking about bigger changes is difficult. We tend to believe that things will always be the way they are now.

It used to be said that it was not possible to have a telephone in every household because there were not enough young women in the country to occupy the telephone exchanges.

But technology continues to evolve, and the signs are there before the change takes place.

The smartphone was not invented by Apple. Long before the iPhone, there were many touchscreen phones with clever operating systems. In fact, it was IBM who invented the smartphone with the Simon in 1994.

The 2002 Sony Ericsson P800 was a huge hit, and Motorola had a 3G phone - the A920 Paragon - four years before the 2007 iPhone. The smartphone had been in use for a decade before it became an overnight hit on the iPhone.

To find out what happens next, we have to rely on William Gibson's "The future is here - it just isn't evenly distributed yet". That future shows that the smartphone had a good run, but the people who design chips for five and ten years are already working on the basis that the smartphone will have died.

Three witches kill the smartphone

References to the death of the smartphone can no longer be overlooked. The three witches who cause the death of the smartphone are Alexa, Siri and Google's assistant. (And, if you have to, Cortana). You are designing a world in which the telephone is no longer the central hub for everything.

And again there are precedents. In the early years of electrification, engines were big and expensive. One imagined that every house would function like a factory. So the house would have a large motor and any machine that needed electricity, such as a laundry ironer, would be connected by belts.

The thought that every device could have its own motor was as absurd as the idea that everything with a plug today would have its own independent Internet connection. What has not been realized is that the Internet of Things will reduce rather than increase the need for smartphones.

You might think that the smartphone becomes even more important as a hub for controlling your devices because you talk to the Google Assistant via your smartphone. Instead, the assistants are so intelligent that they make central control superfluous.

A few years ago people didn't even think about an intelligent loudspeaker, now it is firmly anchored in our lives. Let's look at the latest announcements from Amazon, read about Echo Ring, glasses, Echo Buds headphones and an oven.

It still feels awkward, but it's this new generation of devices that points to the future. You configure your Amazon Smart oven with the Alexa app on your smartphone, but control it via an Echo Smart speaker. Expect to be talking to your bathroom, washing machine, and door locks in the future.

Google Glass may have been a spectacular failure, but it's coming back: Snapchat-like glasses and brooches to replace the camera - which makes more sense than a device you carry in your pocket.

At the turning point of technology

We are currently experiencing an interesting time with 5G. It was designed for things, not people. We are at a tipping point of four technologies: 5G, AI, IoT and natural speech recognition. Put simply, with 5G and the sheer amount of computing power available in the cloud, you no longer need the powerful processor that you have in your smartphone.

This is precisely why we are heading for a future in which the smartphone takes a back seat. It won't take the typewriter or tape recorder route, but it will do its job better. If you ask someone why they bought a smartphone, they will likely tell you because it has a good camera.

To easily post pictures of your lunch on Instagram, smartphones have long been better than they should be as cameras, but as phones, they have gotten worse and worse. If you ask someone what they want in a phone, they will say: long battery life, good sound quality when making calls and that it looks good.

If the smartphone dies, we hope it will be replaced with a device that works well as a phone - but before that happens, here are the top smartphones of 2020.

This post was first published by our English colleagues on techadvisor.co.uk


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