Technology 4 min read

The Death of the Smartphone and the Rise of AR/VR

The death of the smartphone will come soon due to AR and VR. However, phones like the iPhone 8 and Hydrogen One may adapt and survive.

Burhan Bunardi | Shutterstock.com

Burhan Bunardi | Shutterstock.com

AR/VR technologies are poised not only to achieve mass-market appeal enjoyed by smartphones but also to make these devices disappear altogether.

Or maybe the two platforms will unite into one comprehensive device like the Hydrogen One.

Hydrogen One Smartphone | RED.com
Smartphone technology will die, VR/AR to replace it.Click To Tweet

Smartphone Technology has hit a Plateau

January 9th, 2017, marked iPhone’s 10th anniversary. Though not the first smartphone to hit the market, Apple’s iPhone is responsible for its ubiquity and it ushered in a new era of connectivity.

While at first attracting only a few enthusiasts, the sleek design, the touch screen and rich functionalities helped iPhone (and other smartphones in its wake) to win customers over.

We already use smartphones to do pretty much everything. They’re compact, versatile, and bring the world to our fingertips.

The iPhone8 will come with AR capability.Click To Tweet

But in a not so distant future, smartphones may go the way of other technologies that are thought to be obsolete like fax machines.

If we take a look at the latest models of different brands, we get a sense that smartphones have hit a plateau with more “updated” features than “revolutionary” ones.

The post-smartphone era is slowly and inexorably taking shape.

Ten years after Apple broke the mold, smartphones have peaked and might not survive the next decade.

And we’ll have to put the blame for smartphones’ demise on the rise of AR/VR.

Immersive Tech to Pull the Curtain on Smartphones

Immersive technologies promise to meet the new standards imposed by next-gen connectivity and hyper-personalized content.

Unlike smartphones that are access points to a digital world, VR/AR glasses will merge the real and virtual worlds and project them onto the user’s eyes and the environment around them.

If we have to single out one common thread from annual conferences held by tech companies and other several announcements, it should be VR/AR and immersive tech in general.

A plethora of tech startups are busy laying the groundwork for an augmented life that will have no place for smartphones.

Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android platforms have created a whole new ecosystem of services and streams of cash.

Companies that missed the mark ten years before, especially Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook,  don’t want to commit the same mistake again.

Previously, Microsoft had put all its eggs in the PC basket and didn’t see the mobile storm coming.

Not this time!

Microsoft is hard at work refining its near-eye holographic technology, which saw its first fruit with the Hololens.

To prepare for the post-smartphone market, Facebook has launched an new platform, called Facebook Spaces, as a VR extension of its social network. The company has also unveiled the second generation of its revolutionary Surround 360 video camera, and made the design (hardware and software) open-source on GitHub.

As for Amazon, everything passes through the prism of e-commerce. Aside from Alexa, which is already “augmenting” life in its own way in many homes, Amazon is betting on VR to offer new purchasing experiences to its customers to boost its conversion rates.

But that doesn’t mean that Apple and Google, the trailblazers of mobile platforms, are resting on their laurels, as both have their own VR/AR agenda. Just look to what Daydream has been doing lately.

All That Rises Must Converge

Realistically, these two tech generations will have to compromise as the slow tide of the future rolls in. The next-gen iPhone 8, a.k.a. the “10th anniversary iPhone,” won’t be a mere update to previous models. It won’t ignore the coming VR/AR revolution either.

From the bezel-less screen to inclusion of the Apple ARkit and an onboard VCSEL laser system, the iPhone 8 promises to incorporate these smartphone-threatening new technologies we’ve referenced.

Artist recreation of what the iPhone 8 screen might look like. | Computer Bild TV

How could smartphones be phased out by VR platforms? How could they be integrated like with the Hydrogen One?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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