What Possible Technology Could Ever Follow The Smartphone?

The smartphone is a piece of technology that has undoubtedly transformed our daily lives. Not only is it a phone, but it’s also a calendar, a camera, our access to stores. We are all connected now, thanks to the smartphone.

It’s shocking to think the smartphone could one day be a thing of the past, stored in the attic next to the Walkman and VCR. But surely it can’t last forever…right?

Even top technology experts struggle to lock down the exact technology that will follow the smartphone, and when. Whatever comes next has quite the legacy to follow.

And the smartphone has represented top technological potential for awhile. In fact, while the term “smartphone” was first introduced in 1995, some argue that the technology was around years before.

So what will end this tech-miracle’s reign?

Wearable Technology (But Not What You Think)

Products that are completely hands-free could very well be the smartphone’s biggest threat so far. No more fumbling with handheld devices (because, apparently, holding a phone is just too physically demanding). Consumers are already stocking up on wearables—mostly step-tracking devices and the Apple Watch.

But imagine shouting commands at your necklace, earrings or cuff-links. “Smart Jewelry” may just be the next voice-activated personal assistant.

In addition, just about every company including Microsoft and Facebook is working on its own headsets that will project 3D images in front of your own eyes (yep, like what you see in the movies). Microsoft seems to think this so called “augmented reality” could actually replace anything with a screen, including the television.

apple watch photo
Getty Images | Pablo Cuadra

Prepare Yourself For This One…

Elon Musk reportedly launched a company dedicated to one thing: linking our brains to our computers. Neuralink is working on technology that would allow humans to communicate with machines without any physical interaction. How many times have you wanted to complete a task just by thinking it? Well, it appears we’re on the verge. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Others predict a rise in the number of senses a piece of technology will be able to recognize. For example, you could be sitting on a friend’s couch, wondering what type of fabric it’s upholstered in. Just set your phone down and it will tell you! Seem ludicrous? It’s possible with embedded sensors we already have in our phones. It’s why you can change the channel using the Galaxy S4 IR blaster.

galaxy s4 photo
Getty Images | Neilson Barnard

Don’t Throw The Smartphone Away Quite Yet

For at least the next few years, consumers will still see slight modifications to current products—a little faster, more storage, better resolution. The typical upgrades we’re used to from companies. Business Insider looks to the new Samsung Galaxy S8, summing up the changes as, “more refinement than revolution.”

Research shows that flexibility will be a major indicator of whether smartphones stay or go. Analysts predict screens that fold (a smartphone and tablet in one), and screens capable of working in different lighting.

But as much as we depend on tech giants and influential start-ups to decide what comes next, it ultimately comes down to what we’re all willing to buy.

And, sometimes, what we’re willing to give up—don’t you still regret giving up that flip phone?