Put these attributes on your hit-list.
Last week saw the IFA technology show in Berlin, marking the second major opportunity (following Mobile World Congress in Barcelona each February) for the world’s biggest technology firms to bring their latest products to show off on European shores. Although televisions, games consoles and home goods such as smart fridges were all on display, it was mobile phones which undoubtedly caught the attention of the watching world.
Coming the week before Apple is set to launch its highly-anticipated iPhone 6; IFA was the chance for the top phone manufacturers to take the wraps off their latest devices – but what should you be looking out for in your next smartphone? Here are five things we think your next device should definitely have…
To be frank, we’re all getting a little bored of new mobile phones being soulless, metal or plastic rectangles. It’s time to liven up the design space, to make phones more aesthetically appealing.
Motorola is going a long way towards this with its Moto Maker service, which allows users to customise their new Moto X handset with a variety of materials, including wood and leather, giving you the ultimate freedom of choice in creating a unique handset.
On a grander scale, Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone project, promises to revolutionise the entire mobile device market. Starting with a basic case, users can pick and choose what components they’d like to include in their smartphone, such as a bigger camera instead of a larger screen. Currently in development in the company’s secretive Google X labs, Project Ara has had several tantalising leaks, and should be released sometime next year if targets are hit.
Doom-mongerers have long predicted that technology would lead to the downfall of human society, as machines and services take away our free will and automate much of our lives. However fortunately this has so far not proved to be the case, with many companies actually using technological advances to develop and release devices and programs which should make us healthier.
Alongside typical fitness trackers from the likes of Pebble and Fitbit, many new smartphones now come with an in-built health tracking service, providing users statistics on the distance walked and calories burnt throughout their day. Expect to see these services evolve and develop over the next few years as more and more manufacturers see the benefits, especially if it means pairing your smartphone with a wearable device.
This could also include biometric identification; already present in the iPhone 5S, where a fingerprint scanner is used to unlock the device, and could expand to facial recognition or retinal scanning, both well in development and coming to a smartphone near you soon.
Mobile payment technology
20 years ago, your collection of personal electronics would have included at least five or six devices now found inside a modern smartphone (radio, watch, music player, camera, and actual telephone to name a few…) But having conquered that field, the mobile industry is now looking at over ways to expand its reach. Payment systems look set to be the next big confluence, as an increasingly cashless society looks to alternative payments that mean they no longer have to lug physical money around.
Already popularised by the likes of PayPal and Square, mobile payments could be set for the big time if found in Apple’s next iPhone, which could prove the catalyst for a payments revolution.
Expect your next smartphone to be easily linked to your personal bank account, allowing quick and easy contactless payments using your device instead of a debit or credit card, and lessening the load in your pocket even more. And if you choose to jump ship and join the ‘unbanked’, there will be no shortage of payments providers able to provide you with services to ensure your transactions go through in a flash.