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Speculating On the Far Future of Cellphones

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-about-just-better-coverage? dept.

Communications 220

Trio writes "What will cellphones look like in in future? silicon.com explores five future characteristics that could shape tomorrow's phones — from a wearable prototype such as MIT's SixthSense device which projects mobile data into the user's world, to a mobile that mixes the real and the virtual by using holographic telepresence. So far, so futuristic, but one question remains: will there be enough spectrum to support all this wireless communication?"

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220 comments

a REAL cellphone (5, Insightful)

frecky (1095067) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139795)

Yeah, a real cellphone that let you dial a number and speak with someone. Not those with tons of addons that you forget you can dial number with !

Re:a REAL cellphone (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139831)

Yeah! And some sort of wireless repelling device to keep those damn kids off my lawn!

Re:a REAL cellphone (2, Insightful)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139945)

So when you talk about simple, old-fashioned cell phones, what exactly do you mean by "dial a number?"

Re:a REAL cellphone (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139963)

Wait until you receive your first picture message from a septuagenarian... you will quickly realize that you are in the minority of cell phone users who long for the phone portion of a cell phone to be in the forefront.

Re:a REAL cellphone (1)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140015)

Yah, I've seen those images...there's not enough bleach on Earth to remove that image from my brain.

Re:a REAL cellphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29140683)

Thank you for not including any links.

SixthSense (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139805)

Never mind that it isn't practical to walk around with a huge projector on your chest, it isn't fashionable. There is certainly utility to a good web-enabled phone with plenty of apps, but I think people get sold initially on the style of an iPhone specifically. If people adopt new technology and new features in their next phone, style has to help sell it.

Otherwise, I think we're hitting a breaking point. What more functionality do we really want from our phone? How much more can you accomplish on a small screen? How much more money are you willing to pay for the device and the data plan? If anything, the pendulum might swing backwards as competitors try to ape 80% of the iPhone's functionality at half the price.

Re:SixthSense (3, Insightful)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139969)

Well, projectors are shrinking [optomausa.com] and making their way into devices like digital cameras [nikon.com] . When someone figures out how to make green laser diodes consistently and with efficiency to match blue and red diodes, I expect projectors may replace LCD screens entirely in devices for which size is such a big factor.

As for functionality, there's no reason why your cell phone shouldn't be able to do everything your computer can (in the future), and costs of old technology will continue to fall as new technology becomes available.

Re:SixthSense (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141173)

Projectors need a good surface, need controlled light around them, and need to be free of dust in the air, etc. Projectors are rarely a solution for most scenarios, but great for very specific scenarios.

Re:SixthSense (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140011)

Yeah but one could argue that years ago a walkman on your belt with wired headphones wasn't fashionable. Now if you've got an Ipod there with the characteristic white headphones you're considered Trendy and hip.

In the same manner the sixth sense isn't attractive now, especially in its Beta phase, that piece of technology was under a 200 dollars (I believe? I haven't seen the vid in a while) - when an Iphone today goes for more than that.

There are alot of things a phone could do that the sixth sense even doesn't offer - theres lots of room for growth.

Re:SixthSense (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141219)

I was very young at the time, but from what I recall, Walkmans (or should it be Walkmen?) were all the rage at the time. They were the stylish, popular accessory. A walkman with bright 80's colors and design probably would stick out a bit today.

The "stereobelt" was invented seven years before the Walkman, but the well-styled Sony product vastly outsold it even coming out seven years later.

Geeks always underestimate style in marketing and mass adoption.

Re:SixthSense (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140233)

What's saying it'll always be on your chest? First it's not all that large already, second it'll only shrink down.

At one point, it'd be not so insane to see it built-in your shirt or attached to your glasses.

Re:SixthSense (2, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140469)

Never mind that it isn't practical to walk around with a huge projector on your chest, it isn't fashionable.

Well I imagine there was a time when this argument was made about the pocket watch. I mean who wants to walk around to clock in their pocket. And what's this? You want to put in on my wrist?! That will never be fashionable!

Re:SixthSense (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141073)

No, it is practical to put a time piece in your pocket. It weighs next to nothing, didn't need a huge battery pack, they look nice, and they provided a clear function. They didn't get in the way when they weren't needed.

The SixthSense kit gets my geek sensibility excited, but you'd be laughed at for wearing anything resembling it. Right now there is already backlash against Bluetooth ear pieces (note the latest cover from Wired magazine).

a far future - carry your presence not your phone (2, Interesting)

schwaang (667808) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140689)

Otherwise, I think we're hitting a breaking point. What more functionality do we really want from our phone? How much more can you accomplish on a small screen?

Breaking point is right. We need to break the concept of online mobile presence being tied only to the phone (personal device) completely. When I get into my car -- hell make that any car -- which has a nice 10" touch display backed by a computer currently used for navigation etc., why not transfer my online presence to that screen? Let me use the web, take a video call, what have you, on that device. Then, when I arrive at the airport (or spaceport if we're lucky) and take my seat on Virgin Galactic, move my session to that display.

Yes I'll still carry a "phone" which will have the capabilities that can be packed into the small form and display, but it's main job will be to carry my mobile presence between other devices which I don't necessarily own.

Bandwidth doesn't have to be tied to the phone either. If I sit down in an airport waiting area and use a seat display, I'm on its fiber. I might be paying to use it according to a data plan tied to my phone. The cost and bandwidth might be different when I get into a car, and it might be different (tiered, etc.) from the guy sitting next to me. But the billing is still tied to the account that my phone presents to the world.

Wifi-enabled phones with a boingo account give some idea of this. At home/office/Starbucks, your iPhone is automatically using wifi instead of 3G. You pay (or not) based on the account in your phone. But in my future scenario the phone just authenticates the local temporary display which then has its own connection to whatever network is appropriate for that particular cafe / airplane / car.

So the phone becomes more like a super bluetooth identity accessory to move your online presence between available displays. And when necessary, it can also be used as a self-contained telecommunications device (mobile phone).

Re:a far future - carry your presence not your pho (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141055)

What about foldable screens? Even better - foldable touch screens, not the kind of iPod "touch", which is a lot worse than a normal keyboard, but with real touch feedback. That's what I hope will eventually come out of Nokia's Morph project, in a few decades or so!

Re:a far future - carry your presence not your pho (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141081)

Google makes Android. Google is making Chrome OS. Google could make it extremely easy for your "desktop", email, voicemail, Waves, IM, etc. is all easily accessed from basically the same interface from multiple devices.

Microsoft is terrified for a reason.

Re:SixthSense (2, Informative)

tomax7 (1261742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140869)

Then again, due to radiation from nuclear fallout, cell phones and other electrical devices will be useless. We'll return to carrier pigeons. No wait, they would have died off too. Maybe we will have to actually see the person we're talking to then. What a concept!

Re:SixthSense (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141097)

You hollow out rad-scorpion carapaces to house a fire, which you then use to send smoke signals. No, wait, the sky will be filled with black ash. Dammit!

In the year 3000, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29139813)

Cell phones will have a subvocal mode so that people won't broadcast their moronic chatterings into others' ears like I'm broadcasting my moronic chatterings into your faces.

-- Ethanol-fueled

meh... (2, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139815)

What I want is a phone that works telepathically. In fact, screw the phone, I'll take the telepathy. :P

Re:meh... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140261)

You don't want to give telepathy to tech companies... That idea about buying that product was yours or implanted?

For now, "tech" telepathy, or at least reading/writing mind (the "tele" part could be cell phone technology by now) is outside our current knowledge afaik, and could raise enough privacy/human rights/freedom/etc concerns to not have a bright future in the somewhat short term.

But humans can "learn" new senses (as the one that used a belt to sense direction) so maybe cellphones could eventually use alternate output channels.

Re:meh... (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141003)

Really, it is hard for me to imagine that we won't eventually have direct neural interfaces. Why limit ourselves to the sensors and actuators evolution gave us?

Subspace (1)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139823)

[O]ne question remains: will there be enough spectrum to support all this wireless communication?

Duh. All nerds know that holographic telepresence will utilize a rapidly fluctuating portion of the subspace band!

(Not to mention, they're pretty good at hiding the fact they didn't RTFA!)

Features, and lots of them! (3, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139867)

Given that the most-used features of cellphones [orbitcast.com] are things other than talking on the phone (presumably included in the "Other 9%"), I predict that they will become like this Nintendo controller of the future [gizmodo.com] .

Re:Features, and lots of them! (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140809)

Given that the most-used features of cellphones are things other than talking on the phone (presumably included in the "Other 9%")

Even if this were serious, it only seems odd because we use the misnomer "cellphone" instead of something more accurate like, I dunno, personal digital assistant. Imagine if people insisted on thinking of PCs as typewriters (since word processing was an early killer app) and they were still called typewriters, and people started whinging that PCs shouldn't be able to run web browsers because "that's not typing," and "when will we all return to typewriters that just type!" It's nonsense.

Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139913)

In the U.S., we have the slow, bureaucratic and oligarchic FCC that limits technology from acquiring near limitless spectrum/bandwidth.

We're moving to a truly digital age, but still we have the FCC regulating that we should keep analog/digital spectrum separate for various "needs" such as TV, radio, ham, cordless phones, FRS, etc. It's ridiculous.

We have technology TODAY that allows for frequency hopping, for signal strength negotiation, for handling multiple devices on the same frequencies/channels, etc. Private industries can blossom to utilize the right frequency, the right transceiving power, the right tower hopping mechanisms, etc. But they can't get there because the FCC overregulates and strangulates the future.

On my 3G phone (I'm on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, shared via my lovely Cradlepoint router on-the-go even), I can watch TV on-demand. I can listen to music, on-demand. I can read my websites, send my emails, talk via Google voice/Gizmo5 VoIP, send SMS via Google Voice, etc. But there's a limited run of bandwidth.

I don't have a TV at home, so the TV spectrum is useless. I don't listen to radio in the car, so radio spectrum is useless. So much that we do today would be better suited to a HUGE amount of spectrum divvied up and utilized by every device that could hop frequencies as needed to find a clean channel, that could raise power needs when a tower is far but drop them significantly when towers are near.

The future is nearly endless bandwidth for endless users, but we're throttled because our lovely State decides it wants only the powerful to play ball, with the weak kept out of the game.

But what would happen if the FCC went away, and all of a sudden the power players who control TV, radio and other spectra would need to compete with the YouTube amateurs of the world? The powerful would fall. And the State can't let that happen.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (5, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140059)

I listen to the radio.

Why is it that because you don't listen to the radio, it is useless?

Radio is cool. It's completely free and I can find really good music on it. For free. No payments necessary to Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (0, Troll)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140107)

On my 3G phone (I'm on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, shared via my lovely Cradlepoint router on-the-go even), I can watch TV on-demand. I can listen to music, on-demand. I can read my websites, send my emails, talk via Google voice/Gizmo5 VoIP, send SMS via Google Voice, etc. But there's a limited run of bandwidth.

So... how much money are you spending then with all those carriers and all those services?

I don't have a TV at home, so the TV spectrum is useless. I don't listen to radio in the car, so radio spectrum is useless.

So by your logic... since you are not a first responder (Fire, EMS, etc..), those frequencies are also useless.. ok, just don't bitch when your house is on fire and no one can communicate and coordinate.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (2, Insightful)

arun84h (1454607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140231)

I think what he's referring to is the technology that would enable individuals to use the spectrum of frequencies in their tiny, personal area, however they want. I truly don't think he's saying that they should shut down TV and radio and blah blah blah...

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140401)

No, he is an actual libertarian ideologue.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140325)

So by your logic... since you are not a first responder (Fire, EMS, etc..), those frequencies are also useless.. ok, just don't bitch when your house is on fire and no one can communicate and coordinate.

Have you seen the specs for p25 trunked radio? The no communication / no co-ordination part is basically in the spec.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29140109)

I know this NYU Law grad who has this compelling argument about how we're not a free country. We're ruled indirectly by the corporate structure of this country. He examples that I could never do justice to - basically, we have to live according to their rules and we really don't have a choice. The telcos are making too much money with this current system and moving to another would cost too much. It ain't gonna happen.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (2, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140373)

I don't have a TV at home, so the TV spectrum is useless. I don't listen to radio in the car, so radio spectrum is useless.

Not to your neighbours, or people in cars around you. I think you'd be hard pressed to show that broadcasting isn't a reasonably efficient use of the spectra in terms of the amount of content delivered to individuals.

But what would happen if the FCC went away, and all of a sudden the power players who control TV, radio and other spectra would need to compete with the YouTube amateurs of the world? The powerful would fall.

That and everyday people would be left without as all existing equipment would be useless. Given the angst over the digital switch over I'd expect there'd be a lot of rather unhappy people were that to happen.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140387)

I'm a cheapass. I prefer the situation where my existing TV and radios continue to work to the one where you can blow even more money twiddling your widget.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140393)

The technology for making effective use of spectrum is certainly far better now than it has been; but the notion that we've solved the finitude of spectrum seems fanciful at best(especially if some or all of the devices in question are not attempting to cooperate, either because they aren't sophisticated enough[spark gaps of various flavors] or because they are actively maximizing their throughput at the expense of yours, or just because they are hostile[jammers]).

What I would like to see is more spectrum made freely usable. 24.GHz is pretty lousy spectrum; but free access has made it extremely useful. What would also be nice would be a compromise position: come up with an industry standard spec for a wireless transmitter and reciever(roughly wifi-like in character) with suitable support for channel hopping and negotiation and other necessities of cooperation, and licence a chunk of spectrum such that any device, made by anyone, and owned by anyone, could use that chunk of spectrum if it conformed to the open spec.

Making things work with an arbitrary number of noncooperative devices in place seems like a pipe dream; but that needn't imply the current oligopoly based solution.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29141105)

No. This is by far the most ridiculous notion i've heard in forever. The fact that you want to do away with the FCC is absolute ludicrous. If the FCC went away with no organization of similar nature replacing it then wireless devices would move more towards being useless than being improving like you so claim.

It would be complete anarchy with everyone broadcasting signals left and right, up and down, in and out. Nothing would get through the shit storm of signals. On the wireless front everyone would just be trying to broadcast their signals with more power and it would end up being a wireless pissing contest. Frequency hopping is useless if everyone is spaming every single frequency.

I for one am glad the FCC partitions spaces for things like TV, radio, ham, cordless phones and what have you because I'd much rather have them be put into a limited spectrum than spewing out their signals all over the place. I certainly don't want to be on the plane that gets a broadcast of American idol instead of instructions from ATC.

Oh, and just because YOU don't have a TV at home doesn't mean EVERYONE doesn't have a TV at home. Just because YOU don't listen to the radio in the car doesn't mean EVERYONE doesn't. Stop being so goddamn selfish.

Everything You Need And So Much More (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141199)

On my 3G phone (I'm on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, shared via my lovely Cradlepoint router on-the-go even), I can watch TV on-demand. I can listen to music, on-demand. I can read my websites, send my emails, talk via Google voice/Gizmo5 VoIP, send SMS via Google Voice, etc

To me this reads like BnL Hell without the hoverchairs.

Re:Spectrum? Limitless, except for the State... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29141227)

One word, dumbass: ARMY.

Speculation schmeculation (4, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139929)

IMO speculation about the future of technology is a waste of time. It always turns out very different from what was predicted, because some technologies that seem easy turn out to be (extreme) difficult, like flat TVs and nuclear fusion, and others turn out to much easier than expected. Besides the technical issues there are often changes in society that make the predictions about the future futile. Look at all the past predictions about the future back then, and what do you see? An extrapolation of the technology and mindset that was available at the time. So, predictions are fun, but please don't put any sort of value in them.

Re:Speculation schmeculation (3, Interesting)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139983)

well, in the name of fun speculation, i'm going to take what you said about things that seem easy and turn out hard, flip it on its head, and predict that we're going to nail down quantum entanglement in the next 10-20 years, and the use of the radio spectrum to transmit information from point a to point b will go the way of the telegraph and horse and buggy.
If we can pull it off, it means crystal clear voice connections, and freakishly fast network connections, anywhere, anytime.
I'm basing all this on the theory that some things seem hard to figure out, but then turn out to not be.

Re:Speculation schmeculation (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140367)

I also talked about things turning out to be much easier than expected. But what is a prediction for the future worth if you can't predict even that? It's just speculation for fun, and dreaming about what a beautiful world this will be, and what a glorious time to be free. ;)

Re:Speculation schmeculation (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140435)

It doesn't work that way, there is nothing implying a way to do directed measurements (so you can end up with a record of opposite flips on either end, but you can't push on one end and read the result on the other).

Re:Speculation schmeculation (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140499)

I know that the physics don't actually allow faster-than-light communication through entangled particle pairs; but I've often thought that that possibility would be a fun concept for a sci-fi setting.

Assuming that you can't pair devices at a distance after the fact, and assuming that travel is only possible at sublight speeds, the value of an entangled communicator could be anywhere between virtually nothing(your basic cheap cellphone, paired to a nearby base station) and well more than the entire planet(a centuries old direct link to earth on the outer rim of explored space). Values could even change rapidly and unpredictably, depending on who is holding the other end of the pair.

Re:Speculation schmeculation (1)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140661)

IMO speculation about the future of technology is a waste of time

So we've in the right place then?

Fun, but pointless (5, Insightful)

podom (139468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139951)

I can imagine a similar discussion in 1875: "What will telegraphs look like in the future?"
 

Re:Fun, but pointless (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140411)

Well sir, clearly we will communicate with little boxes that ahve miniature telegraphs inside. Why I heard of a gentleman on the East that did wireless telegraph! amazing indeed!

Re:Fun, but pointless (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140441)

They'll be small enough for even a Lady to carry unaided and you'll be able to pay the nearest urchin 'tuppence to scramble up the telegraph pole and connect the wires for you nearly anywhere in the city!

Re:Fun, but pointless (1)

TheGreenNuke (1612943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140507)

I still wonder what telegraphs will look like in the future. But I know the answer is that it will look the same, because we abandoned the technology for a better one.

Re:Fun, but pointless (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140835)

Well, unless Bell or one of his various competitors happened to be posting.

whatever fits into a "pocket" form factor (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139959)

Computing capacity is not the issue. With Moore's Law continuing you'll have a tera-op in that form factor by the 2020s. Engineering cleverness is still factor. The video screen cannot get too much larger if its built-in. People have been experimenting with projection TVs in small form factors at SIGGRAPH and the like.

Maybe this will be the impetus to get voice recognition and generation software working well. Typing is always going to be a pain on micro-keyboard or touchscreen, compared to the alternatives.

a cellphone no bigger than (2, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139971)

no bigger than the bluetooth you have stuck in your year, or the thing stuck in your ear is not a bluetooth device but a voice controlled cellphone :D

Re:a cellphone no bigger than (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140623)

With a convenient holographic display to use any time you want to do something other than make a phone call, like we've been able to do since they invented text messaging.

Hmm speculate (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#29139995)

What's to speculate about. At some point in time cell phones became good at everything except be good cellphones. My speculation is that some day we will.

Mini-computers (4, Insightful)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140017)

I always figured that the future was in phone/PC convergence. Which is to say, rather than syncing your smartphone with your computer, your smartphone would BE your computer.

Coming in to your office, You'd pull your PC out of your pocket, sit it on your desk and plug in a monitor. It would connect to a wireless keyboard and mouse, and away you'd go.

WHen you left to go home or to a meeting, you'd unplug the monitor, stick it in your pocket and off you'd go. The only other thing is you'd pay a cloud service to do incremental backups over wireless or cell service.

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

    - AJ

Re:Mini-computers (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140473)

I like this, but I really don't want to have to plug it in. And I'm not sure I want to have to carry around the intelligence and the storage, it would be nice to be able to pick up (or sit down at) a random device and have it configured the way I want it, with easy access to my data (this process does not have to be mindlessly automatic, just straightforward, so let's not talk about what a security nightmare it could be).

Re:Mini-computers (1)

rho (6063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140503)

Yes, somebody wake me when this occurs.

You can almost do this with the iPhone through syncing and with apps like Bento. Still not docking the phone, exactly, but it's close. But not quite there yet.

I'd also like to not have to carry money around. Remember those IBM commercials where the girl bought a soda with her phone? When is this gonna get here? Granted I don't want the moneyless future to be where any dipshit with a laptop and a soldering iron can wireless suck my doubloons into their accounts. That's not the kind of moneyless future I want. Something that's about as reasonably secure as what we have now with credit cards, but without the wallet, and simpler to cancel if your gadget goes missing.

Re:Mini-computers (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140853)

If you read "The Road Ahead" from Bill Gates in 1995, that's what he thinks too - except he understated the importance of telephony, and the fact that they'd be referred to and often though of primarily as telephones. Which I guess proves that infrastructure is everything.

Re:Mini-computers (2, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140979)

Coming in to your office, You'd pull your PC out of your pocket, sit it on your desk and plug in a monitor.

That's a bit what I try to do with PortableApps. Too bad not all applications run well on it, as development environments wont support being run as a standalone application, but the basic usage tools (VLC, Firefox, Gimp, OpenOffice, ...) can be run.

The scenario is about the same: I come in at a PC, plug in my micro-thumbdrive from my keychain and have my common applications in the same spot.

Just to add a bit of dystopia to the thread... (1, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140043)

Here's what Will Self has to say on the topic of cellphones and the future:

"What they promote is a meaningless level of anonymous chit-chat with people, where you don't have to get down-and-dirty and smell somebody, or see their body-language. They are actually the very very key representation of the anomie and alienation of our culture.
    And the idea that there was a cash bonanza from mobile phone licensing, that the (UK) government predicated its entire second term spending plans on, is one of history's most delicious ironies.
    And when it all comes down, when it all falls down about us, all that will be left in the wreckage of our civilization is a single tiny little black oblong going 'diddle-dee-dee-diddle-dee-dee-deeeee'. And there'll be nobody to answer it. "

Re:Just to add a bit of dystopia to the thread... (2, Funny)

SOdhner (1619761) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140127)

And when it all comes down, when it all falls down about us, all that will be left in the wreckage of our civilization is a single tiny little black oblong going 'diddle-dee-dee-diddle-dee-dee-deeeee'. And there'll be nobody to answer it. "

Wait, hang on... then who is CALLING the phone? Ghosts? Man, that's freaky.

Seriously though, that's a pretty over-exagerrated scenario. I don't think we have have to go so far as to predict the end of civilization with only a single phone surviving.

There'll be at least four or five.

Really, while it's true that we lose something in terms of body language and face-to-face contact we're also gaining things all the time - look at the article in question. Sooner or later, unpopular as video phones have been, we'll still find ways to interact in more ways than just voice.

Re:Just to add a bit of dystopia to the thread... (1)

anarche (1525323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140251)

Thats not dystopia, dystopia is the worst possible human society.

thats moronopia.

Re:Just to add a bit of dystopia to the thread... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29140187)

That would have been labeled as pretentious bullshit, if it didn't come from a relatively trendy British novelist. In which case it is better labeled as pretentious rubbish...

Re:Just to add a bit of dystopia to the thread... (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140873)

I initially read it as "Will Smith" and was expecting something like
"Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I liked to take a minute
Just sit right there"

"elsewhere-ness" (5, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140235)

Where you are with a small group of humans with no electronics you are talking directly to each other, looking them in the eye, or at their body language. Sometimes you touch too.

Now when you are in a public space like a coffee-house, walking the street, sitting on the train, etc. many people are communicating with those out of sight and completely ignoring those in sight. To me it feels like a zombie movie.

Re:"elsewhere-ness" (3, Insightful)

JonBuck (112195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140893)

There was an old stand up routine by Dana Gould that had a man walking down the street, talking to himself. Ten years ago this would be a crazy person. "You can't tell a Navy man when he's had enough to drink! Only a Navy man knows when he's had enough to drink!"

Now, you have to check his other ear to see if he has a Bluetooth earset.

I feel like we're in the "Slow Take Off" first chapter of Stross's _Accelerando._

Spectrum? (0)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140171)

"will there be enough spectrum to support all this wireless communication?"

Bah, in the future cellphones will have Z-Space Transponders.

Thats not the real question (2, Funny)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140211)

I think the real question is not whether there will be spectrum enough for our bandwidth needs, but whether we will be able to afford it! Given that AT&T charges an arm and a leg for data rates/roaming, I can imagine what the charges will be in the future!

Input (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140307)

Some smart glasses could give all the niceties of a big screen, augmented reality and so on to cellphones or portable devices in a discrete way. But the main problem is how they get input from us. In air keyboards, speaking, hand gesturing, whatever, would be something very funny and/or ridiculous to see in the streets. What kind of "future inputs" will have those devices?

I see this: (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140327)

and in the near future:

a device similar to the iPhone, but with 2 USB ports and a miniHDMI port. In essence: the smallest computer. keyboard/mouse go in one USB, a hard drive in the other. Hook up your monitor to it, and you will have a computer that will surf the web, do basic word processing and Office-type stuff. It will cost USD$299.

I don't see Apple doing it as it would evacuate the need for MacBooks, but I could see Panasonic or Nokia or Palm pulling it off.

And of course: it would run Linux...

Re:I see this: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29140813)

Its already here, Nokia N900
http://www.mobile-review.com/review/nokia-rx51-n900-en.shtml

Bandwidth (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140445)

Why does bandwidth seem to be sich a problem. Much of the data can be stored directly in the "phone" and predictive services can off load much of the dynamic data. Example: your phone grabs your calendar and knows that at 10 you have a meeting across town. If you do have a car it snags the GPS nav data for the immediate area as well as predicted traffic patterns, if you do not have a car then it contacts the taxi company and arranges transport. Your meeting is with new clients (ones not in its database) so even though you have it scheduled for 2 hours it knows there is strong flexibility in that time. It has already loaded in the public profiles of the people you will be meeting with as well as your health profile so when you extend the meeting over lunch it takes into need your caloric needs plus communicating with your clients and submits you options for food. GPS and traffic info allow the rest of your schedule to be dynamically changed.

Now most of this data is retrieved via hardline while you are asleep or when you receive the appointment info. Individual personal data overlays are received peer to peer from the public profile on the other person's "phone" and can be used short range. this way only updates need to be sent over the "cell" network. It records and transcribes your daily interaction, overlays your vision with information you are normally interested in and even makes suggestions and helps you manage your time and life. This is part of what I se as the future of "cell phones" and part of me is terrified by it and part of me is fascinated by it,

Dennou Coil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29140601)

Have you seen this anime? I doubt most of slashdot has, but in it, there are augmented reality glasses that are effectively PCs.

To make a phone call, they do that phone sign with their hands, aka the fist with thumb and pinky extended to the side of their head.

In the future, rather then cellphones, we'll have highly compact computers with inbuilt VOIP. Cellphones will die if computers become compact enough.

Two must-have features (4, Interesting)

darpo (5213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140681)

I'd like future phones to do two things: 1) Not let people mess with their phone at a movie theater. 2) Not let people use the phone while driving.

Holographic telepresence? (1)

BlueTemplar (992862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140885)

What they are showing in that video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYCycOSoPfQ [youtube.com] isn't physically possible - holograms don't work in that way. There is no such thing as an "holographic projector" - roughly put, you need to look at a screen that has interference patterns (sometimes lighted by a laser, sometimes natural light is enough, like on a credit card), and any image you see will be framed by the borders of that screen.

Worst case! (1)

DadLeopard (1290796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140967)

I can think of nothing worse than having a future phone implanted and being stuck with a 2 year AT&T plan in some place like San Francisco!! Heck with an implant you might be stuck with that carrier for life or till you have it surgically removed!!

Who cares if it can run Linux? (1)

bakdor (1617851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29140969)

I need it to be able to run System Shock - I've been trying for a while, and damned if I can get it going any other way.

Screw all that... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141061)

If I'm going to have to listen to you yammer how the doctor had to poke and prod and insert a tube in your grandpa's rear end to no avail, I might as well get close captioning to the conversation as well. Why miss the other half of the dialogue?

I've Got a Picture Right Here (1)

Iyonesco (1482555) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141157)

The 1987 anime Daimajuu Gekitou Hagane No Oni clearly shows us what cellphones will be like in the future:

http://i29.tinypic.com/2cfd1f4.jpg [tinypic.com]

I simply can't wait to get my hands on such a technical marvel. Compact, functional and incredibly stylish - it makes me wish I was born in the future.

To be fair, the device did show similarities to a modern smart phone in terms of functionality, so while the producers were a bit off the mark with the design their vision of a future mobile phone was fairly accurate.

Utilizing cell-phones as thin clients (1)

garnser (1592501) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141171)

I wrote this blog-post a while ago with the idea that the iPhone could be a potential thin client. Obviously there's no reason to limit it to one hardware manufacturer but I believe that enabling one to carry your personal data with you at all time and interface it through a server when visiting an office, working from home or any other location would be a great thing. http://garnser.blogspot.com/2009/07/iphone-next-potential-thin-client.html [blogspot.com]

Nano + gene tech combo (1)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 4 years ago | (#29141195)

In the far future, we will pick a phone from the phone tree, make a call and eat the phone afterward.

Don't forget the Borg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29141287)

They were connected in the hive via cell-phone technology.

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