Technology changes at an ever-accelerating pace, and it normally adapts to fit the needs of consumers. For hardware and devices such as tablets and cell phones, the trend over the last few years was to fit the maximum amount of technology possible into the smallest device possible. Users have always wanted something they could easily carry around with them without hassle.
An interesting shift is occurring within the market. Consumers who wanted compact devices are now searching for more capable and agile devices that come in a bigger package.
When cellular devices were first produced, they were large, unmanageable pieces of equipment – remember the brick-phone? The cell phones that are being manufactured today are pretty close to rivaling the size of some of their “ancient” counterparts, yet are more powerful than computers that were being used only a few years ago. This is in stark contrast with the miniature phones that manufacturers had been producing until recently.
With smartphones taking over, it is the technology inside is shrinking while the actual hardware grows towards tablet size. Many consumers are interested in more screen real estate and more user-friendly keyboards in order to access and edit documents and view rich media more comfortably.
The next phase in this hardware evolution will involve reducing the chipset and even eliminating the need for a handset altogether. Google and Apple are aggressively working on voice recognition, which could easily replace the need for a dominating screen with things such as text to speech.
Once the challenges of different accents, different languages, and other similar problems are overcome, people can simply listen to their device as well as speak to them. These tech giants, as well as others smaller firms, are also working on wearable devices such as glasses with built-in displays and, although still in the lab, contact lenses which will give users the ability to see a virtual screen in front of them – think Terminator type of display.
Even though it sounds like science fiction, wireless brain to machine interfaces are also are not far away. Devices with that kind of technology can exist in something as small as a watch or a pendant, and can reduce the size of hardware to a more manageable proportion with the same great advantages.
The one complaint that has persisted, regardless of the size of the device, is the battery life. One of the solutions getting a great deal of attention is the idea of wireless charger, there are various options including using wireless USB. A small cranking system that would charge a device has been out in the market for some time and is available in certain places, but the idea of a cellular device within a watch seems more plausible. If batteries in watches and other wearable devices can pick up power from movement and through heat and solar energy, this could eliminate any concern for battery charge, and provide a renewable source of energy.
Technology is progressing at an incredible pace, and the capabilities of our hardware and devices today are almost unbelievable. Although the trend right now is one of larger devices it is obvious that technological trends are quick to shift gears, and will most likely be heading in the opposite direction once more.