Innovation in Mobile Phones!!!!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by cbongiova, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2011
    I keep reading and hearing from various sources that mobile phones have gotten to a point that there isn't much innovation left, just small spec bumps like what have been seen in desktop computing for the last few years.

    I think this thought process is incorrect and I would like to present some ideas I have had on what type of innovations I think may be developed in the next 5-10 years.

    I will break these ideas up into categories.

    High Speed Video Recording: This will be a really cool feature that people don't currently have but would have some real world utility.

    4K & 8K recording. I think this will hit main stream probably ahead or right behind that of recording on actual dedicated video cameras or DLSR's.

    Rotatable Cameras - This could allow you to use the same great camera for both taking pictures/Videos and doing FaceTime/Skype calling.

    Larger Sensors - Similar or approaching DLSR's size. Would be obviously useful for better low light and less noise.

    Lens Attachment - This could be a retractable attachment similar to the loop attachment mechanism on the iPod Touch 5G.

    1 millisecond response time to touch - This would make scrolling, playing games, handwriting, etc significantly more useful and easy to use.

    Edge to Edge Screen - I hate bezels. All screen all the way. This would be useful to increase the screen size without increasing the phone size.

    Transparent display - The front facing camera could be underneath the touch screen display and could possible still take videos and pictures. Also could be used for finger print reader.

    Flexible display - Could be used to have a home button underneath the screen that you could push down in a specific location. Or the entire surface could be flexible and act like a home button.

    Continuous Client: The phone would have all the processing power needed and the other screens (desktop, laptop, tablet, TV, etc) would just communicate through your phone wirelessly. This would save cost for the customer because you wouldn't need a dedicated processors in those other devices. They would just be screens, batteries and possible keyboards.

    Cloud Processing: The phone would only have the most basic processor and minimal RAM. All of the processing would be done in the cloud and your phone would just be like a virtual screen to a supercomputer or a network of computer that would be infinitely faster than what could be done on a mobile device. Also no need to buy a new phone for a spec bump. The processor could be just be improved on Apple's or Google's or whoever company servers. Another possibility would be to use the owners own personal computer for this processing.

    Thinner and lighter (Think credit card size and weight) - Can fit in your wallet. Should be cheaper to manufacture.

    Waterproof - This is already possible on some phones. Should be standard in 5-10 years.

    Drop-proof (should be easy if it is really light) - No cases needed.

    Fold-able or roll-able - Obviously would be helpful to increase size of the screen.

    Improve Siri capability to something similar to Watson (as seen on Jeopardy). This would have hugely useful.

    Add translation features for any language that the phone could speak in your actual voice, tone and pacing.

    Magnetic Connectors: No need for physical connectors. Just use magnets to connect plugs, headphones, etc to the back of the phone (now phone can be a thin as you want). Magnets could identify what is connected and then bluetooth or NFC or whatever new technology could be used to transmit data or power the device.

    High Quality Projector - This would be very useful for watching TV or giving a presentation. Also could be use for virtual typing (project keyboard and camera could determine what you are typing).

    That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are dozens of other innovative ideas others have and that Apple, Google, Microsoft are working on.

    I would love to hear other people innovative ideas for mobile phones.
  2. macrumors member


    Oct 21, 2012
    good suggestions, but some are too futuristic.

    lets hope apple makes some of them happen.:)
  3. macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2010
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    There is still some innovation to be done regarding battery.

    Everyone is saying they are content with their phones lasting the day.

    But I want them to last 3 days, then 5, then 1 week. This is where innovation needs to be done.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2012
    I agree, my day job is an amish horse barn cleaner and at night I like to sleep in the city dump so I'm never near a plug-in to charge my phone. The only chance I get is every 3 days when I get arrested for trespassing, and the old guy at the station lets me use the plugs there. Are you in a similar situation to need a 3 day battery?
  5. macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2009
  6. macrumors 65816

    Jun 5, 2007
    Actually, TM is spot on when it comes to the battery, though it's not necessarily all about time between charges. Fundamentally most engineering problems in the mobile space (and any application where space is at a premium come to think of it) are directly affected by how much power you have available. There was an article a few years ago when the original Iron Man movie came out talking to engineers about the biggest problems making that suit in real life. The answer? If we had an arc reactor the rest of the problems, while not being simple, get a heck of a lot easier to solve.

    Granted, extreme example, but there's a lot of truth in it. Look at any modern mobile computing device and the vast bulk of the product is batteries. If you could, say, double the storage capacity of the batteries Apple uses today you can either reduce the overall size and weight of a device or problems such as making a Retina-equipped iPad Mini (or for that matter having an 18 hour battery life for an iPhone being used constantly on an LTE network) pretty much go away.

    As to the OP, sorry but a lot of what you suggest is either a heck of a long way off, not practical or just plain impossible. DSLR-size sensors in a phone, for instance, is just not going to happen. Next time you're holding a DSLR pop the lens off and have a look at the sensor then compare it to an iPhone. Then you need to have a lens that'll make good use of that sensor which, again, ain't going to fit into a thin phone body without major compromise. I suspect it's far more likely that we'll see systems like Nokia's PureView 40Mpx sensor becoming standard rather than high-end camera gear moving down. Just to put some figures on this, the iPhone 5 has a sensor measuring (roughly) 6.15mm x 5.81mm. A DX format Nikon has a sensor measuring 23.6mm x 15.6mm, three times larger on both axis.

    Ultimately the phone market is now a mature market and I would expect the vast majority of phones to be iterative for the foreseeable future. Frankly I wish manufacturers would slow down a bit, leave products in the market for at least a year before replacing them and focus more on supporting them with regards software upgrades. That way you'd see bigger changes between versions and more than likely get a better user experience too.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2010
    Please explain to me how you will fit a projector in a phone as thin as a credit card...
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2008
    Let's think of an occasional Friday. You wake up at 8am, take your phone off the plug, go to work, listen to some music on your way to work let's say on the bus or subway. Arrive and start the work at 8:30 am, some whatsapp, email done during the day, a little browsing etc and by the end of the day at 6 pm charge is already at 30%. If you were to go straight home after work that would be a day. But let's say since this is Friday you decide to meet your friends after work. You go to movies, then a nice dinner. You have already turned brightness all the way down, turned 3g off and being careful not to use it. But you get some messages and you have to reply, check them. At the end of dinner you are at 15% despite all your efforts.

    Tomorrow is Saturday, means no work so you decide to go to a bar or a club with your friends. By 1-2 am, your phone shuts down and you'll be home at 3 am or perhaps you'll stay at a friend's house who doesn't have an iphone charger.

    This is me and my iPhone 4S battery. I think we need a lot of research done on battery. You don't need to be an amish horse barn cleaner to need it more than a day.

    Mine can barely get through a day, i need at least 1.5 days without compromising features.
  9. macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2012
    Nice list, some of them not entirely impossible to implement at the rate technology in our world is progressing. Really hope Apple would be the one to implement at least some of it. ^^
  10. macrumors regular

    My name is Alex

    Sep 5, 2010
    Gold Coast, Australia
    The phone won't go into the wallet, the wallet will go into the phone. With NFC and other things, wallets will be made useless, and everything will be done on one device.

    Also the Lightning Connector should've been magnetic like the MagSafe...
  11. macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2010
    Edinburgh, UK
    I do like the idea of magnetic connectors for charging and direct comms.

    You would have the choice of transmitting data or power through the glass layer or having conductive areas on the surface of the device that would serve the same purpose. It would make the device waterproof and reduce the size of the internal components due to there being no need for stress relief on the connectors.

    If you had a pad of conductive material, pixels of which that could be switched on and off at will, you wouldn't even really need to line up the external "connector"... just make sure it was in the area covered by the pad and the device would say... "I feel something connecting to the pad. I will test the area and see what parts of it appear to be metallic. Aha - it matches the pattern of a Lightning2 connector - I know which conductive pixels to turn on now."
  12. macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Well said.
    Seems like everything else is improving besides battery tech and only way to accomplish longer life is to stick a bigger battery in.
    Hope there's advancements in that field soon also.
  13. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2011
    My post was not meant to have all of the innovations in one phone. These are just some examples of possible innovations. Some of these suggestions are completely opposite like the processor section. One idea suggest cloud processing while the other is the processor is only on your phone and is used for all your devices. Also having a credit card thin phone would make it hard to have a good camera, but I think in some cases this trade-off would make sense. Durability, lightness, cost versus having more features.

    Obvious device manufactures will have to have compromises.


    I think one way would be to have improvements in e-ink display technology. Problem is color (although I've seen some prototypes with color e-ink) and refresh-rates. Need to be at least 10-20 frames per second. This could be possible.
  14. macrumors 68000

    Mar 22, 2011
    Apple already has many patents which never made it into any device as yet. So perhaps its time as the Smartphone or Iphone is already played out.
    At this point in time its more about a change in the hardware as the software is in a comfort zone for most people.
  15. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2011
    I think people are satisfied with the current software on smartphones but there is a lot that could be improved. For god sakes we don't have common productivity programs like Microsoft office. When you can do everything you can on your smartphone as you can on a desktop then I think we can start saying the software is good enough.

    Also there is a lot you can improve with a personal assistant program like Siri or google now. Think of what is possible if you could talk to your phone like a real personal assistant to get things done. This will be possible in the future.
  16. macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I was for the whole MagSafe for iPhone thing, but when you think about it, it would be useless. The magnet would have to be fairly weak so it would come out easily, and therefore meaning something that would fall out at the slightest jolt!
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 5, 2008
    They have used the 30 pin adaptor for about 8 years and i think we will use lightning for around that much time also but i think the mid 20s we can see phones get thinner and water proof because of magnetic everything (charger, headphone adapter) or even better they can all go bluetooth/wireless. Who knows what the future holds. Let's hope the tech world to not go in to an innovation crisis like it did when Microsoft was owning the sector. (90s)

    I love Apple products and i hope they keep on going like they did from the turn of the millennium. Even if they don't some other company will keep innovating. Wish we had some way to know which technologies are being worked on right now. (Like on TED or something)
  18. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 19, 2012
  19. macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2011
    It's not about that. If the phones are more power efficient it saves power. May not be much in one device but add up the tens of millions of devices and you are saving a lot.

    Also why wouldn't you want a longer battery? It would be much easier to need to charge much less.

    If we were content with what we had and didn't want to advance we would still be living in the Stone Age.
  20. Applejuiced, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012

    macrumors Nehalem


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    I hear you.
    It's nice to see improvements in display, CPU, 3G and LTE chips for all of them to consume less power.
    But nothing in battery tech to let's say be able to last me a day extra in case I forget to charge it or use it a lot one day without having to worry about plugging it in.

    Very well said.
    I'm sure everyone would hate a longer battery life like the poster above.
    Why bother with cellphones or wireless data.
    We should all stay plugged in and use land lines and 56K modems still:)
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2007
    As much as I'd like to think in 5 years phones will do things we can't even imagine now I really don't think that will be the case. About 5 years ago (really 4.5 years but it's close enough) I had bought my first iPhone, the 3G. While I'm very impressed with what I can do with my cell phone today (I'm using a Galaxy Note 2 but for this post am thinking iPhone 5) back in 2008 I thought there would have been a lot more innovation over the 5 years. Comparing the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 5 I see the innovations as:

    Thinner, Lighter, Faster, Better Screen, and Better Camera. For software things like iCloud, Passbook are neat and in a way innovative but not something that would have blown our socks off in 2008. Siri might fall into that category as it would have been very hard to imagine back then but most of the people I know still consider it more a gimmick and don't really use it/her in their day to day life.

    Now don't interpret this as me saying that iPhones aren't innovative and Android is awesome. For this post iPhones/iOS and Galaxy Phones/Android are interchangeable. It is really neat what we can do on our phones today but most of it is the same stuff we were doing back in 2008 (really 07 when the first iPhone came out) and today it is just clearer, faster and less bulky.

    Hopefully in 2017 we will be doing things with our phone that we can't even imagine now but I think it will be more of the same.
  22. macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    High Speed Video Recording = I don't get it. If you are saying slowmo, it is already present in many phones. If you meant to accelerate stuff, you only need a piece of software.

    4K & 8K recording = I believe the only phone close to that is the Nokia's 808 purview

    Rotatable Cameras = This is SO pre-iPhone era. There were plenty phones with that function. It is not practical to have the same camera for everything.

    Larger Sensors = Again Nokia's 808 Pureview

    Lens Attachment = I don't see this coming... ever. This would have the same success as some P&S with detachable lens....

    1 millisecond response time to touch = That would rock!!!

    Edge to Edge Screen = Not that convenient, where would you grab your phone from?

    Transparent display = Would be astonishing!!!

    Flexible display = Nokia was experimenting with a technology somewhat alike. Some sort of selective haptic feedback. That coupled with those flexible displays being developed by Nokia and Samsung, could make it work.

    Continuous Client = This reminds me of Microsoft's 2020 vision.

    Cloud Processing = This will happen, but will be feasible only after many generations ahead of LTE. Do you imagine the amounts of data and the speeds of transfer to be able to make it happen everywhere?

    Thinner and lighter (Think credit card size and weight) = Again, remind me of Microsoft's 2020 vision

    Waterproof = Xperia Go

    Drop-proof (should be easy if it is really light) = Xperia Go

    Fold-able or roll-able = Samsung's and Nokia's flexible screens.

    Improve Siri capability to something similar to Watson (as seen on Jeopardy) = This would be possible with the cloud processing you mentioned.

    Magnetic Connectors = There are baby steps in this regard. Nokia's wireless charging in one front. NFC in the other.

    High Quality Projector = This is so 90's. The tendency now is not to project, but to try to do the opposite IE Google's "project glass"

    What I would really love to have, is a wireless communication device embed into a person. Something like was shown in the awful remake of Total Recall, but less intrusive.
  23. J.C
    macrumors 6502

    Nov 12, 2008
    I realise MagSafe has the safety aspect (obviously) but it's also about the convenience of connection. Even if the magnetic attachment was strong enough to hold the weight of the iPhone, it would still be nicer to connect/disconnect.


    Edge-to-edge displays is a great suggestion and a highly probable one for the not to distant future. The OS can handle the touch issues. I believe the iPad mini is already smart enough to ignore (some) unintended touch caused by the narrow side bezels. Obviously this tech will improve and edge-to-edge is just a further extension of the 'the display *is* the device' concept that is the iPhone.

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