Looking to the future can be fun, especially when it seems that much more realistic when seeing how quickly technology advanced just this past decade! I remember watching Star Trek growing up and seeing those cool Data Pads that worked as a handheld computer. I thought that would be such a cool device to actually have, and here I am, sitting next to my Kindle Fire which is even better than the show portrayed (specifically it being in color). Sci-fi seems to be the natural predictor of the future lately which only makes it seem that much more exciting. But what real advances will we see in the next ten years? What should we expect and how soon?
PC, Tablet and Smart Phone Merging
Over ten years ago, if you told someone you would have a hand held device with the internet, games, phone, email and almost anything else a PC could do back then in the palm of your hand, they would probably scoff at you. Or, at the very least, say it would cost a fortune. Yet now we have dozens of smart phones that do those things, some you can get for free with a new plan! Smart phones have seen a huge explosion in popularity over the years and tablets have only begun to become a mainstream device, thanks to the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. The first hints of phones and tablets merging is the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note, a gigantic phone, or tiny tablet… or both, which does anything a tablet can do as well as a phone. The size of the screen screams tablet, but the 4G speeds and calling capabilities scream cellphone.
It’s hard for me to imagine being without my computer tower, but I know that this technology is on it’s way out as well. Cloud computing seems to be on the rise which will lead to people simply having a screen that connects to a central super computer service. This computer could then run any game on maximum settings, and keep up with any and all computers out there. So if your computer is essentially a screen connected to a massive interface, then it’s only a matter of time for that screen to simply be another tablet, and then your smart phone. Service like OnLive does this kind of thing already, and once our internet speeds get faster, this will become more of a reality.
Nokia has been working on nanotechnology that would allow you to stretch, curve and shape your phone into almost any shape, along with the ability to take a picture of a pattern and copy it. Want your phone to look like a bracelet that matches your purse, Nokia’s Morph could potentially do that. Not only would that be pretty cool, it would be very handy in masking potential technology you’re carrying around if you happen to be in a bad neighborhood. The possibilities of nanotechnology are endless, allowing electronic surfaces to clean themselves, be see through, change shape and even detect chemicals in the air. The examples Nokia Morph showed in their demo were pretty coo,l but I can only see this being a possibility if those abilities are worth the cost it is to develop them into each phone. The only one I see being extremely viable on the market is bendable tech, which is great for someone who may be a bit rough with their phone.
The Nokia Morph video showed quite a bit of cool possibilities, but it is still simply a tech demo and the Nokia’s Morph price is probably going to be rather steep. Though there has been no word on this phone since the tech demo.
Speaking of nanotechnology, screens are getting thinner and thinner! Screens as thin as paper have already been developed allowing full color displays. What does this mean for our future? A few ideas come to mind, such as magazines with moving ads, or even a thin movable piece of plastic that could make any surface, be it a window or wall, into a touch screen interface. You could have a huge wall that appears empty, then activated into your HDTV, or have it display moving photographs, scenery from around the world or just simply the weather! Sony has already developed a super thin screen that can bed and flex in any direction.
The future looks pretty exciting when it comes to technology! Each and every year brings new and fascinating devices that bring us closer to the future shown to us in sci-fi movies, some tech even surpassing those movies all together.