The future of smartphones may be in your mind


The smartphone’s days are numbered, thanks in part to market saturation, lack of any significant technological breakthroughs in recent years, and the need of manufacturers to avoid commoditization, which forces down prices and destroys margins.

Technology research firm IDC said in December that it expects worldwide smartphone shipments to decline by 3% in 2018, the second year in a row that global smartphone shipments will have declined. IDC also predicts a return to single-digit growth in 2019 and through 2022, but that’s not going to excite device manufacturers or their shareholders, which means they need to come up with a successor to smartphones that will capture the imagination of consumers and enterprises.

Unfortunately, as Jake Swearingen writes in Intelligencer, “Looking forward, there is no device that seems poised to replace the smartphone as the machine at the center of most of our digital lives. The wearables seem to be a niche market at best, smart speakers will likely remain only in our homes, and something like always-on wearable AR is decades away from being a reality.”

Maybe it’s time to think outside the box! Android Authority writer Mitja Rutnik has done just that, freestyling some self-admitted “crazy” predictions about what might replace the current smartphone anywhere from 20 to 50 years from now.

The most mind-blowing prediction — no pun intended — is mind control. Noting that human interaction with their devices has evolved from keypads to touchscreens to voice commands, Rutnik suggests mind commands as the next logical step.

“You could open an app of choice, play a specific video on some futuristic version of YouTube, and even edit images with your thoughts,” he writes.

Sounds like science fiction, but Rutnik points out that researchers at Facebook and MIT already are exploring how humans can use only their minds to interact with machines.

The advantages of using your mind are compelling. Not only would it be more efficient than touching/swiping/talking for personal and work use, it would be safer when the user is driving or walking across the street. And maybe, just maybe, not having to stare at your device’s little screen will make people more “present.”

Still, questions abound, including how to secure your device so that other people can’t use their minds to control it, or whether you would have to “speak” in full sentences in your mind or “think” specific words that act as cues for the device’s actions. Not to mention how would the device respond to an indecisive person (not joking; could be a real issue).

What do you think? Would you welcome the day when you can control your smartphone (or other devices) with your mind? And how long from now (if ever) before it becomes a reality?


  1. Zuzana Anderson says:

    Very thought provoking. But why stop at cell phones – how about almost gadget less future – all those ‘other control’ like remote car keys, push button starters, remote car starters (I now have one :)) could all be controlled with your mind. Just imagine – standing in front of grocery shop with full cart and not remembering where you parked just to think: ‘car.. come and get me’ . But again, in that sort of future you probably don’t go to the grocery store and just think up – I need butter and milk and it automatically sends out drone with your purchase while the payment is scheduled with another thought to ‘pay with my checking account or visa card etc.) My mind is now boggling so I will go sit quietly and think up more future possibilities.

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