I’ve been writing over at Opinions in Mobile for a while now. The idea is that they send out a question very week to a panel of industry thought leaders (and me) and everyone responds with a short and pithy post. There really are some heavyweight thinks from around the world involved – I won’t give you examples, as then I’d have to list the lot – so it’s worth checking out.
This week, we were asked the question “How do you think mobile phones will look like in 10 years?”.
This is something that I ponder quite a lot in the back of my brain and I thought I’d share my response here.
In 10 years, we’ll be well into the post PC era and laptops will seem as quaint and nostalgic as the ginormous brick phones of the 80s. We may even have blown ourselves up, been decimated by a new virus (manmade or otherwise) or even be in a post-Singularity world, in which case, all bets are off.
But assuming that the world progresses without a major Black Swan event (big assumption!), mobiles as visible, handheld devices will have disappeared. They’ll be replaced by a tiny ear piece, an equally tiny hand controller (let’s visualize that as a ring, for the sake of illustration) and a set of contact lenses or glasses, which will allow us to see three views, by simply changing our eyes’ focus; the web, the web overlayed onto the real world and the real world if anyone ever wants to go au naturel for some quirky reason.
Controlling these virtual mobiles will be by a mix of gestures and haptics, with a voice option for those of you reading this who never got the hang of fluent gesturespeak. A common sight will be middle aged people wondering around twitching, waving their arms around and bumping into things as they try to make a phone call. The froody 20 year olds will be in total command without apparently moving a muscle.
By that time, it’ll be impossible to live any kind of mainstream life without a mobile. Banking, payments, shopping, access to your house and car – all will be via your virtual mobile. All interfacing with Government bill be done via mobile too, including daily mandatory voting on key issues of the day as representative democracy is replaced by Direct Democracy – a result of the repeated parliamentary scandals of the Blair and succeeding Governments.
Over 50’s mainly opt to live in sheltered accommodation, which offer largely tech free environments, where they can be seen hunched over old-style netbooks playing Solitaire and wondering why the kids of today never reply to their emails.