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In the ever-changing world of smartphones and tablets, it is always difficult to predict the future. Technological advancements are progressing at an exponential rate and what seemed like a revolutionary feature two years ago is now already out-of-date.
According to industry research, 87% of all connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones. Therefore, our favorite mobile handsets and portable touchscreen PCs are most definitely here to stay.
But what impact have they had so far? And what developments can we expect in the future?
A couple of decades ago, you’d have probably had 10 different devices to perform the same functions that smartphones and tablets do now. But even modern developments are starting to lose their competitive edge in today’s digital society.
Take MP3 players for example. When the iPod was released, it seemed remarkable that you were able to carry around an entire music collection in your pocket. But over the 2013 holiday season, Apple witnessed a 52% sales decline in its flagship MP3 player compared with the previous year due to all-encompassing smartphones and tablets.
If a device wants to survive in this fiercely competitive environment, it needs to have multiple capabilities and a great deal of functionality. But even everyday objects are under threat too.
Wearable technology could easily replace the humble wristwatch, while mobile payments may spell the end for physical cards and cash.
So how can smartphones and tablets become even more practical, capable and beneficial?
Now that tablets are outstripping sales of desktop PCs and laptops, it seems like their future is business based. Analyst firm Forrester says that enterprise tablets will make up 14% of the market this year and will rise to 18% in 2017.
Everyday consumers still use tablets the most, but don’t be surprised to see futuristic developments like morphing microfluidic keyboards and transparent displays in the years to come, as ease of use and functionality become increasingly important.
Smartphones could focus on software improvements rather than hardware additions in order to make life a bit easier. Much like Android’s Google Now and Siri on iOS, hands-free access and no-touch interfaces could become more prominent due to advances in sensor and camera technology.
However, smartphones will receive design upgrades and improvements. Lighter components, thinner bodies, curved screens and even shape-shifting technology could make smartphones unrecognizable from their current form.
While some believe we have reached a technological peak, device manufacturers are still working hard to come up with the latest and greatest development or advancement. But for the time being, smartphones and tablets will dominate the world of technology in the years to come.