Smartphones as Yesterday’s News: Will IoT Devices Cannibalize our Precious Phones in 10 Years?

The idea of a smartphone becoming old news is a scary thought. After all, they do practically everything, would anyone want to get rid of a smartphone?

Nothing connects you to friends, entertainment, and terrifying world news better than a smartphone. But with IoT on the rise, the fate of our little rectangular friends may be in grave danger. So how likely is it that we’ll bin the phone in order to access the Internet of Things?

The Current Dependencies

Right now, smartphones look to be in a pretty cozy position. Smart devices are great at collecting information, but not so much at beaming it to you. As such, a lot of IoT devices take the smartphone route using a bespoke app. If you want to check your pulse with a heart rate monitor, you can see it on your phone. If you want to tweak the colour of your Philips Hue bulbs, just boot up the phone and adjust the sliders. It can do so much, it’s hard to imagine that your smartphone can actually call people, too!

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IoT devices need commands to operate, and in order for you to deliver said commands, you typically use a smartphone. Having ten different remotes to control each and every device is ludicrous, so having everything in one handy package is very useful. As such, smartphones currently have a good anchor within the world of IoT.

How It Might Change

The keyword here is “currently.” It’s easy to tout the smartphone’s dominance over all other less-convenient devices, but what if that dependency changes? It was hard for us to accept smartphones when they came out; browsing the Onternet was easier on a PC, watching videos was better, and writing without a physical keyboard was a pain. One by one, however, we saw these problems vanish as smartphones developed. For some people, smartphones and tablets superseded laptops and PCs for Netflix watching and sending emails.

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So, what’s to say it won’t happen to our own smartphones? They’re looking pretty safe now, but when IoT gadgets start doing all the work themselves, maybe then it’ll look a bit less certain! AI is getting smarter and smarter by the minute, and it won’t be too long until even our toasters will need no outside assistance. When your heart rate monitor automatically uploads its data to health sites, your bulbs change by themselves depending on your needs, and your stylish pair of glasses beam your emails on their lenses, the smartphone may become a little less essential.

Or Maybe Not?

Still, as much as I can say that smartphones beat out laptops and PCs for being so convenient, it’s also true that those devices are still around and seeing healthy use. Perhaps they’re not the do-all powerhouses they once were, but they still find their uses. Have you ever tried writing a report on a smartphone? No amount of predictive text can save you.

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It’s true that IoT devices can get smarter and less dependent on smartphones over time, but it may not be the death knell for them. For one, the mobile games industry is a huge market. Right now, there’s no better way to spend a long car trip than to bust out the phone and play a few games. It’d be very hard to fit Candy Crush on a watch!

There’s also that “additional feature” we often take for granted with our smartphones: their ability to contact other people. There are other devices that allow users to speak over the phone, text people, send emails, and boot up messenger apps, but right now the smartphone is the king of all four of those areas. The smartphone will probably lose its title as the King of All Devices, but it will probably continue to be a great communications tool for years to come.

Surviving Smartphones

While it’s true that the smartphone will be superceded in the future, I think they’ll still be around in 10 years, much like how PCs and laptops are still around. They probably won’t dominate our lives like they do now, but as a portable communications and gaming device, I can see no better device in the future than a smartphone.

What do you think? Will smartphones die? Let us know below.

Image credit: Taking a hammer and breaking a smartphone