Future of smartphones
Smartphones have evolved over the years to become more than just productivity tools. These connected devices have taken design leaps and morphed into composite entertainment hubs from which users expect an exceptional interface and experience, making it easier for them to have access to the various content. Future of smartphones is dotted with expectations with people looking forward to more and more innovations that would make their lives and access to information easier.
Larger screens are at the centre of this experience. The prospect of smartphone screens hinges on an interesting design problem: last year’s ‘edge-to-edge’ displays allow the entire possible viewing surface of a phone to be taken up by the display. Any further increase in the display size would require an increase in the size of the phone itself. This would make it impossible to carry in hand or fit it conveniently in a pocket.
What Does The Future of Smartphone Screens Look Like?
This challenge only opens up new possibilities to bend the conventional rules of smartphone screen design, some of which are already in development. Near bezel-less phones could become fully bezel-less by placing the front camera – along with the phone’s earpiece and proximity sensors – under the display. Using a transparent OLED with a high refresh rate would allow it to be rapidly flicked on; the camera could ‘peek’ during these inactive periods.
Dual displays are another exciting application. A smartphone with one screen at the front and another at the back would enable potentially easier user interactivity. The second screen would offer users a quick glance at notifications no matter how the device is placed on a surface, as well as being used like an auxiliary touchpad to navigate the main screen.
The concept could be further modified by placing the two displays on a non-protruding hinge. This two-screen device could take Android’s ‘snap app’ capabilities to another level; users could be looking at cooking shows on the top screen and making notes on the bottom one, which could then be folded or unfolded into a big screen when watching a movie.
These revolutionary displays may not be as distant as they seem. For instance, the self-healing ‘elastomer’ developed by South Korean researchers last year could be integrated into smartphone screens, bringing foldable/rollout displays a step closer to reality. It is already possible to place the fingerprint scanner below the screen, which means the selfie camera could be next.
In more than a decade since they were introduced to the world, smartphones have barely progressed aesthetically; they are still largely rectangular slabs with a large display. Until now, the industry has innovated around the screens to pull consumers in; and screens could be and probably will be the highlight of the smartphones of the future.