Over the last decade or so, smartphones coupled with the power of internet and social media have influenced the way we communicate. Today we have access to more knowledge and information at our fingertips, plan down to the minute to when we will arrive at our destination, watch interesting things happening far away from where we live, learn about things in real time, speak our minds to the world, gossip, become more productive, showcase our talent, track our health, know when to wake, when to sleep!
Smartphone manufactures are pushing the limits of hardware innovation
The mobile industry never had a dull day since it hit the floor. Smartphone manufacturers are redefining on what’s humanely possible on the hardware front. 2018 has already seen witnessed its share of what to expect in the coming months. Smartphones of today pack a host of applications. The biggest grouse of any user is how much the phone sucks up battery life and sometimes at the world possible moment. Manufacturers are bulking up battery capacity with the realization that it’s not a solution in the long run. It’s a matter of time when wireless charging will become mainstream, probably without a need for a conventional power source.
When it comes to Phones, bigger the better is definitely not the mantra. Over time, smartphones have become smaller and slimmer. Flexible OLED panels will introduce us to foldable smart phones. Samsung Galaxy X is leading the way in foldable mobile phone technology.
You find changing the sim card irritating every time you junk your provider? How about the embedded sim or eSIM which will allow you to switch carriers with a software app menu and a few taps on a screen?
Limitless - When mobile phone is mated with Augmented Intelligence (AI)
In spite of all the physical improvements, the success of smartphones and their effectiveness is because of the software and apps that improve our productivity, add colour to our lives and how it makes a lot of things much easier. That will change multi-fold when the smartphone is embedded with Augmented Intelligence.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 80 percent of smartphones shipped will have on-device Artificial Intelligence capabilities, up from 10 percent in 2017. ARM, the company behind virtually every chip in today’s smartphones, wants AI into every mobile device with their Trillium project. Apple has already in built a “neural engine” as part of the iPhone X’s main chipset, for images and speech processing. Huawei had unveiled its Kirin 970 chipset with built-in AI calling it the "future of smartphones". Its new mobile AI is made up of a combination of on-device AI and cloud AI, assisting and making decisions for you.
So what does AI in a phone translate to, as a user?
Personal assistant: Yes, your own Personal assistant. We already have Siri, Cortana, Google Now which can accept natural language voice command and assist you to make calls, check weather and news, set alarms, tell jokes, play music, order your grocery, send messages etc. With smart home automation, your phone can switch on your air conditioner, change TV channels according to you mood, or. Well, with the phone becoming more intelligent, you may not even need to lift your finger to get things done.
Travel without fear: According to hostelworld, language barriers stop five million UK adults from travelling abroad. Whilst some efforts are on to translate languages, teaching a system to translate language is highly complicated because two different translations of the same word may sound equally right. People choose different words depending on context, mood and who they are communicating with. With advancements in natural language processing and sentiment analysis, real-time translations is becoming reality. In a recent development a Microsoft AI translator just nailed one of the hardest challenges: translating some 2000 odd sentences in Chinese into English with accuracy comparable to that of a bilingual person. Soon you will be able to pack your bags without worrying about a foreign language as your phone with its natural-language understanding capabilities will be a near real-time voice translator when traveling.
Experience ‘Twisted Reality’: VR & AR technologies brings in excellent understanding of space and motion to your phone. Phones like Asus ZenFone AR with in-built AR allows to perceive depth, track its motion, and even learn its environment, allowing one to immerse themselves in augmented reality like never before. Just want to jump of a cliff? Learn driving in a simulated environment? Tinker your car without going through the manual? Check if Lewis Hamilton is a better racer than you? No matter what you would want to do in a simulated world, your phone is just around the corner.
User authentication: Password-based authentication is less effective resulting in weak security and poor user experience. Phones with facial recognition (with all of its flaws and racial biases) have hit the scene and pretty soon become a basic feature. The differentiator will be security technology overhauled by combining machine learning, biometrics and user behavior. How about the smart phone learning your behavior, patterns as to when you walk, swipe, apply pressure to the phone, scroll and type, and authenticate the user without the need for passwords?
Best shooting mode: Recently Google used machine learning talent to squeeze better images out of a tiny smartphone lens, including its portrait mode shots, with blurred backgrounds and pin-sharp subjects. DeepLab-v3+ is an image segmentation tool built using convolutional neural networks, or CNNs: a machine learning method that’s particularly good at analyzing visual data. Image segmentation analyzes objects within a picture, and splits them apart; dividing foreground elements from background elements. Similarly LG has launched what it calls as Vision AI by analyzing over 100 million images. What it means to an average user? – recommendation on the best shooting angle, colors, backlighting, saturation levels and more to give you the best automatic shooting mode possible.
Your phone, your therapist: Here we are not talking about apps that can track a person’s daily steps, enable patients to refill prescriptions, medication reminders or to search medical references. AI in smartphones has the potential to turn your phone into a medical device and conduct traditional examinations of your organs, perform ultrasound scans, measure vitals such as heart rhythm, blood pressure and glucose levels, and even DNA sequencing. Will your phone become a GP?
If smartphones changed the way we communicate, intelligent phones will make decisions for us and change the way we live.