I was thinking about how different our lives will be as cell phone technology continues to improve. Someday your phone will be your only computer, and your home will have a screen in every room that senses the proximity of any phone that approaches. Push a button on your phone and it will take over any nearby screen to display a movie, recorded TV show, or music video. You could browse the web on the big screen, or create a Word document. You might want a wireless keyboard in some rooms, but for most applications your phone would control the cursor and allow you to do minor typing.

If you have no nearby screen, the phone could project a larger image onto any surface. That technology is already on the market.

As you walk from room to room, your TV show or music would automatically follow you, at least in your own home, assuming no one else has control of the screens in those rooms. And your phone would be the universal remote control for everything in the home, including lights, temperature, and security.

When you go to work, you simply approach your cubicle and the phone in your pocket wakes up the screen and becomes its processor, communicating with the screen and the Internet. The phone would have massive data storage, and back itself up automatically over the Internet. If you lose your phone, all you need is your security codes and passwords to be up and running with a new phone in an hour.

Wallets will become relics. Just wave your phone near a point of sale terminal, enter your PIN code on the phone and your bank account will be debited. Or perhaps by then your phone will read your thumb print to verify your identity.

When you shop, just wave your phone over the bar code on a product and see reviews and comparisons.

As you approach your car, it senses your phone's proximity and unlocks the doors nearest you and adjusts the seats for you.

All of this technology already exists in some form, or will soon. In the future, the only computer you will ever need will be in your pocket.

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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 20, 2009
The only thing that hasn't really kept pace with technology is battery life. Currently, if a phone was required to do all the things you state in this post, you would have to recharge it at least twice a day - I gather the iphone when used with all it's apps etc, only lasts about a day before it needs recharging.

Of course, new longer lasting batteries could just be around the corner - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin_film_rechargeable_lithium_battery - and then everything you describe becomes possible :-)
May 20, 2009
Hey Scott, sorry to advertise, but I have few things where your dream could do better ;)

Your phone should also be made from flexiple materials.

This flexibility makes me ask:

1) Why to keep your phone in your poket? That place is hard to reach! Its better to wrap it around your wrist.

2) Why you need sceens? The phone has a screen and its flexible, so just grap the cornes, bull to different directions and hey presto! You have a large screen in your hands! When you done, fold it back and return the device to your wrist. (I know, i know, the consept does not suggest a large screen but a larger screen possible. I trust that capitalist management powers would demand in time that the screen can be streched to a size of a football field, so the product would be the most streched in the market! Nobody need screen that size but it´s a competetion benefit)

sry for the bad english, not native and dyslectic.
May 20, 2009
you have a major cultural train wreck on its way.

christians will fight this technology to their bitter end. it may seem logical to put a chip in everyone's body for real id, but the bible is interpreted pretty universally on this.

everyone will get to decide if they really believe in liberty or if they want to force people to get the implant. cybernetics has so many advantages, what atheist can resist? once the cancer side effects of implants is solved, what is the drawback?
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 20, 2009
The key to this is separating the networking technology from the stuff that uses it. Phone manufacturers currently seem obsessed with doing the opposte - cramming more and more random crap into phones. I don't want a phone that does eveyrthing, I want one that does nothing but act as a gateway to networks. Then I want my pda and my laptop and my mp3 player and my headset etc. to talk to the gateway. That way, I can use whatever device I want to at the time. This might mean I end up carrying more than one device, but I'm happy with that if I can mix and match them to make sure I have the functionality I need and ONLY that functionality.

There will still be room for small devices that can do lots of things, but the point is that the devices should only need to talk to the gateway, which will sort out the connectivity for them, depending on what is appropriate.
May 19, 2009
Even better than this,

0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 19, 2009
Or do away with the phone and just have a microchip implanted in your ass check when you're born. Instant wireless connectiviety with the main newtwork, upload your preferences for music; movies etc via any voice activated monitor that recognises you the instant you come within 3 feet of it. No need for PIN's or fingerprint scanners, just waggle ur ass within 3 feet of the scan point and you're done, identified and paid.

My only worry is with the bit about being able to project your own big screen and where the light would come from.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 19, 2009
Your vision implies only electronic currency, and no real 'cash' - is this what you meant when you said that we wouldn't need a wallet anymore?
May 19, 2009
I don't see why it has to be a phone. it could simply be a chip implanted in your palm that you talk into. or, it could be integrated into your whole body, so that you talk it automaticly listens. but I guess that's just more of a cyborg
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 19, 2009
My hunch is that more than likely a phone like this would not have have massive storage that's backed up to the internet, but instead will use online storage as for primary storage, and stream media content over a nationwide high speed wireless internet connection. Likely it would off load processing to the cloud as well, so that you have a virtual desktop that can be upgraded as part of a monthly service fee so that you always have cutting edge hardware that your phone just acts as a terminal to.
May 19, 2009
"Assuming that trends will last forever is moronic.

just like desktop cpus hit a wall with heat and density limitations, the same wall exists for handheld devices.

Also, information theory puts unbreakable boundaries on digital communication (and specifically wireless since it's a very noisy channel)."

What wall? Sure, single-core processors are reaching physical limitations but multi-core and multi-chip systems have more than picked up the slack. We'll reach limits with them as well but we're nowhere near that point yet. When we do get there, necessity will drive new technologies into maturity.

It's awfully naive to assume that technology will cease to evolve once we approach an apparent wall. Fashion trends may be short-lived but technology has been developing for thousands of years. Exactly how far out is your 'forever'?
Wireless bandwidth on 'cell' networks leaves much to be desired (right now) but that will come as well.
(Remember just decades ago theory also predicted the sound barrier was an unbreakable boundary)

As others have pointed out, it's not a matter of technological brute force (batteries aside, for now), it's successful software/hardware implementation. We're at the bottom of the S-curve here, not the crest.

It's hard to say exactly what's in store for the near future but I'd argue massive integration in the direction Scott describes is a pretty safe bet.

Hmm...this is longer than I expected...
May 19, 2009
One Ringer to rule them all, One Ringer to find them,
One Ringer to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
May 19, 2009
Can I have a predator phone?

You know, one of those phones that takes over the screens of every house you walk by, locks out their regular users, and plays Rick Roll music videos 24/7 to distract from all the data my phone is silently collecting and automatically selling on the black markets in Asia to the highest bidder.

Yeah, I wanna be that guy...
May 19, 2009
I disagree about the work scenario, though. Maybe the processor there will sense your phone and know you're you (for timekeeping purposes), but how many employers would allow the average staff person to store work-related data on their own personal data device?

Your phone could function as your login, but the processor, programs, and data-storage will be the company's.
May 19, 2009
i just need one more feature from my phone. wave the cell phone over crotch and "tada" ......i have an orgasm
0 Rank Up Rank Down
May 19, 2009
An approximation of this is already available, has been for a few years: http://plutohome.com/

May 19, 2009
i usually don't agree with your blue-sky stuff, Scott. But this time you're right. The technology to do all of this exists. What needs to be solved is HW integration (i.e., make it small enough), SW integration (make it all work together), and the phone-power-battery issue (partly solved by more energy-efficient electronics, and partly by higher-density batteries). I think the standards/SW-integration problem will be the hardest to solve. The big players are very powerful and don't want to play nice together. It's more profitable for them not to.
May 19, 2009
Probably not so much a phone as a LifeRemote(TM) control. A touch screen display that is contextual to your environment, speaker, mike, barcode/RFID reader, Pico projector and all other inputs/outputs that can be included in a pocketable device*. Permanent network connection (i.e. not WinCE based).

Works as a UniversalUserInterface(TM) to whatever you're near - at your front door, enter pin for access (ditto for checkouts), sat on the sofa, control your TV - everything**/body you currently interact with every moment of the day will be done via the UniversalUserInterface(TM).

One device to control it all.

*Note to all patent trolls: I consider this post to be a publication of my 'prior art'. I'm gonna be rich beyond my wildest dreams...

**When I say one device to control it all, I claim 'everything' to mean *everything* - no exceptions.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 19, 2009
While the possibility exists, I think you're forgetting a important factor as to why computers are so popular as they are today. The geeks. Yes, the people who build them, upgrade them, fiddle, program, support, and play. We are they who pushed the computer as a major part of our lives today because of their potential. Until we can build our own phone from scratch customizing every little detail, it will be a long time.

WE also need to consider :

The gaming community is HUGE. Technology of today's phones are barely reaching the speed and potential of PC's 10 years ago. They have a huge gap of graphics rendering capacity to overcome. One that PC's have a huge leading advantage.

Technology isn't just about convenience, and our computer enriched society won't just yield all of our computing activities to a handheld phone. If this were the case, we have seen the demise of the PC replaced by Notebooks and laptops years ago. I think you are right in that many of your 'features' of a future cell phone are indeed going to happen, but it won't replace the PC (mac, *nix included.)

Despite many of the already listed hurdles to overcome, phones simply are far to weak, and we will need a huge hurdle of technology development in order to overcome the barriers.

If it ever did happen, I doubt we would see it in this life. Technology is so driven by capitalism, especially in the US that developers will milk everything they can out of them.
May 19, 2009
What a beautiful day that will be when I only need 1 system. Sounds like tech bliss to me.
May 19, 2009
If you want to include all of that in a phone, which would be nice, you'll have to figure out a way to power it. Considering that an iPhone can barely make it through a day without a recharge, imagine the power suck that would be accompanied by this technological marvel. But I'm all for what you described. Sounds like a great gadget.
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