In the last decade, smartphones have gone from slow, awkward novelties to fast, elegant necessities. They’re not going anywhere, either, and here’s why, along with some new changes you can expect this year.
1. They’re Only Getting Cheaper
While a high-end iPhone or Motorola can still cost you several hundred dollars even subsidized by a contract, much cheaper but still perfectly functional models are beginning to flood the market, especially in countries like India and China. No matter what brand you prefer, smartphones all around are getting cheaper and easier to access.
2. Jobs and Services Are Emerging That Require Them
The day may be coming where owning a decent smartphone will be as necessary for some jobs as owning a car is now. One job that requires both, for example, is UberX, a ride-sharing service that aims to make regularly using its service cheaper than owning a car. Drivers need a smartphone to accept fares, and customers need the app as well to request a ride.
3. Keeping Them Charged May Soon Become Much Easier
Cords are universally considered a pain to cart around, and for good reason, but phone cases that can charge your phone wirelessly via induction are already around, and phones with the technology built right in are on the horizon. Coffee juggernaut Starbucks has already begun rolling out wireless charging pads in some locations, with more to follow.
4. They’re Helping Developing Nations Catch Up
Cables to carry a phone and Internet service are expensive and time-consuming to install, but cell towers can be much cheaper. Many developing countries are using this fact to “leapfrog” their technological development by skipping straight to mobile service, making cheap service possible even to very remote areas.
5. Data Flows Ever-Faster
4G data service is already orders of magnitude faster than the 2G networks the first smartphones had to coax slowly their megabytes from, and it’s spreading rapidly in its coverage as carriers compete for territory. The first rumblings of 5G development are also starting to come in countries like South Korea.
6. We’re Incredibly Attached To Them
A highly-circulated study claimed that more of its respondents were willing to give up sex, coffee, and eating out than lose their smartphones. Other studies have come up with similar results. While we can control and limit our time using these devices, that fact is, we all rely on them to some degree for everyday needs. It’s best to sell your iPhone that is outdated instead of keeping it around and thinking you’ll use it again someday. With the many changes, you can expect with smartphones; you’ll want the latest technology to keep up.
For these and plenty of other reasons, the smartphone market continues to accelerate, and these devices continue to take on new roles. Time can only tell what we’ll be using them for next.