Once we have Bluetooth improved to rock solid and possibly to a real 30 feet range in imperfect conditions, people won’t mind getting rid of the old-fashioned smartphones, replacing them with a customizable, multicomponent setup with a central communication unit combined with a variety of “peripheral” devices for voice, messaging, email, internet browsing, shooting pictures and movies, removable storage; everything and anything currently suitable for our smartphones and more. We are already doing a similar thing at our homes with tablets, laptops, netbooks, wireless printers, WiFi and Netflix/Skype capable TVs, cameras, hard drives, Skype, Ooma, Google Voice, Obi… and in the car with a MiFi, GPS, tablet, iPod, etc. The question is how big the touchscreen or a keyboard and screen should be to make it convenient, but that choice should be left open for the users who could choose anything from a 2″ screen for the road to a 65″+ touchscreen at home and be free to switch between a variety of these anytime.
Of course, this can become futile once flexible screens or good projection phones are out and I dream of someday using the phone in either my vehicle or home as a voice-controlled HUD (heads-up display). Before that, I also dream of using a color e ink screens with sufficient refresh rate to replace our horribly glossy phone and tablet screens, but it’s currently not as feasible, while technology for redesigning the smartphone into independent components already exists. Moreover, improved speech recognition is going to revolutionize literacy and our civilization (virtually eliminating dyslexia) worldwide, so having a pass-through, barely visible earpiece will make you connected to the world and also make you easily communicate to your phone, tablet, camera, texting, TV and PDA devices (Siri) via voice commands. If you needed to see the screen you’d take it out, but even nowadays I sometimes navigate using my EVO 4G and Google’s turn by turn instructions with screen off, just by listening to the voice directions of “my girlfriend” (as my wife calls my old phone when in Google navigation mode).
Most of all, I’d like to see a very small device used only to provide connectivity to all other custom parts. It would provide either a WiFi or Bluetooth internet connection for whatever other components you want to use.
Ten years or so ago I was tired of carrying both my work and home cell phone and Palm V (oh yes, what an awesome PDA that was for its time) around and I craved having all those crammed into one device so much, but those were different times when mobile devices and PDAs were heavy and not good for internet browsing and computing and not easily connected among themselves. Now I’d rather be able to separate and/or combine them in different ways depending on the location. With so many options, some may choose to go with a combination of a very small phone and an iPod touch, iPad or an Android tablet and a WiFi camera, while others can choose an all-in-one, something like the 5.3″ Samsung Galaxy Note “phone” (the upcoming model having an even bigger, 5.5″ screen) which is more of an universal phablet (phone and tablet) than just a smartphone.
Then, as I already wrote here, I’d also like to se the CPU and GPU (or nowadays an APU) being standardized and separated from the screen, so we only have to carry our apps and data around with us and attach them to whatever device we have available. Our computing options will soon shift to even more customizable set of devices and preferences for all kinds of users.