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What will the smartphones of 2040 be like? Here's our wild guess

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
What will the smartphones of 2040 be like? Here's our wild guess
Imagine going back in time to when computers first started showing up in households with their green-only screens and huge floppy disks that could fit a whooping 360KB of data. As far as the past goes, this isn't really a long trip. Now imagine meeting a top computer engineer from that time, pulling out your 2018 smartphone and citing some of its specs while playing a game on it.

How mind blowing would that be for the person? The technology we carry around in our pockets today is something governments would literally kill for back then. We've all heard how NASA sent men to the moon with less computing power than an average smartphone has today.

Now imagine someone comes up to you and shows you a smartphone from the year 2040. What will it look like and what would be in it? No one knows for sure, but here's what our imagination tells us:

Appearance


So far into the future the phone has lost not only its headphone jack, but its charging port, power and volume buttons. That much isn't hard to predict. What we think we'll see, however, is phones that have always-on displays on every surface. Imagine a phone that, when it's locked, looks like a solid block of marble, or aluminum, or gold. You pick it up and the front reveals your home screen. You want fancy a different color today? Go to the visuals menu and pick a different one and the whole phone changes appearance. Maybe you prefer a pattern that matches your clothing, why not an animated skin that mimics clouds moving during a storm or even fire? For the technology of 2040, that's nothing more than having a clock showing on your screen all the time today. No need to worry about scratches or breaking it, Silverback Glass 15 makes your smartphone practically indestructible.

 
Notches can only be seen in the Museum of Mobile Technology, every camera, sensor or speaker is either under the display or part of it. Making a video call? You can look the other person straight in the eyes, because the camera is somewhere behind them.

But wait, how would you open such device? Unless you want to use a diamond saw on it, you won't. You send it back to the manufacturer and they use special equipment to melt away the shell, so the internals can be recycled. Repairing, in 2040? Ha-ha, good one!

Cameras


It won't be too much to say that by that time the camera on your phone will be better than your own eyes. Ultra-slow-motion recording at 16K? Check! 20x optical zoom? Check. Infrared video and photo capabilities? Check. Thermal camera too? Yep! Ultrasound camera so we can pretend we're bats? Um... No.


Security features


The phone from 2040 will not only recognize your face, voice and fingerprints (every surface of the phone will be able to detect them, obviously), it will know it's you just by the way you're holding it. Unless you want someone else to use your phone, no one would be able to. For additional privacy, the phone will track your eyes and pixels in the main display will adjust the viewing angle so only you can see what's on it. Sound will also be beamed to you exclusively, in case you don't have the ear implants installed.

Speaking of eye-tracking, it will also allow you to use your phone without your thumbs getting in the way. Scrolling up and down while reading or typing when your hands are occupied, it will be precise enough to offer full handsfree functionality.

Battery


We're not going to try and guess which materials the batteries of the future will be made of, but if we don't get at least five days of battery life by then, we're living in the wrong timeline.


Improvements might also come from co-generation technologies that recharge the battery through the phone's motion, or sunlight, or heat from the chips, although by then there shouldn't be much of it. Speaking of chips... 

CPU, GPU and AI


Yes, you are correct, the phone of 2040 would be able to run Crysis! And thanks to its AI capabilities, it will also bring world peace. Just kidding, we'll always find something to fight about. The AI would be strong by then, however, it will be able to recognize pretty much everything you point the camera at (including people) and give you information about it. The integrated assistant will not only make calls for you, but it will give you financial advice based on your spending, interests and income.

We're going one step further: the phone will be able to detect anomalies in your health by combining information from its sensors (cameras, microphones etc.) and analyzing the sweat from your fingers. Maybe it won't be able to diagnose you, but it will know you well enough to tell you when to see a doctor.

The processor will be able to handle pretty much everything you throw at it, and if you have some extra heavy workloads (or games), they will be handled by cloud computing servers via the ultra-fast 6G connection. This will make owning a desktop computer pointless.

"But I want my mouse, keyboard and 40" monitor!" Have no fear, those and other peripherals will connect to your phone without even having to take it out from your pocket. Apart from a desktop experience similar to what Samsung already has, the 2040 phone will allow you to have multiple operating systems (probably not if it's made by Apple), so you can install one of your choice.

Storage and Memory


That's always been a boring aspect of smartphones, so let's go with 10TB of storage and 32GB of DDR7 RAM, to get it out of the way.

Extra features


Besides the highly advanced versions of what you have in your smartphone today, we imagine other functions, which are done by standalone devices today, will find their way into smartphones in the future. For example:

Toxic gases detector

A lot of homes have carbon monoxide detectors, but what's better than having one with you all the time? Having one that also detects other poisonous gases, that's what!

Scale

The combination of a super sensitive touchscreen and unbreakable body will allow you to use your phone as a scale. From something that weighs less than a gram, to your own weight (you'll probably have to step on it with one foot), your phone will tell you the exact measurement.

3D mapping

Today we have AR, but one day your phone will be able to create 3D analogs of anything from small objects to small rooms. The animated avatars of the future will look just like you and using voice samples from your conversations, the phone will be able to convey messages in your own voice as well.

Antibacterial coating

Smartphones are notoriously dirty even if they appear clean. Studies have found that the average smartphone has more bacteria on it than a toilet seat. While most bacteria aren’t harmful, it will be good to know that your phone will remain germ free no matter what.

Motion sensing

You go to bed, put your phone on the nightstand and it will watch over you while you sleep. Sensors in the device will be able to detect movement in your room and alert you if someone is trying to sneak around.

Virtual ID

Thanks to the increased security of the devices, you won’t have to carry an ID or driver’s license with you. They will be replaced by virtual ones inside the smartphone. If your device gets damaged (stealing it would be pointless since it will essentially be a paperweight), you can just get a new one and everything will be just how you left it thanks to the cloud synchronization. No need to go through the hassle of issuing new credit cards and government identification.

 

There are probably other and more useful functions that can be added to a smartphone one day, but those are a few that make us excited. Either way, the smartphone of the future should be amazing, and we can't wait to see exactly what it has in store for us.

How far from reality was our vision? Feel free to tell us in the comments starting January 1st, 2040!

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