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What would you do without your smartphone?

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 4:56pm
Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern

Imagine a world without smartphones. 

Everybody you see is talking into thin air. Holograms of people are popping up everywhere. You bump into everything, not because you’re too busy texting but because you’re too busy looking at your glasses instead of through them.

That world might soon become a reality.

IDC, an organization that advises executives and business and technology strategies, warns in a recent study that smartphone sales are about to collapse. Though smartphone sales grew to almost forty percent in 2013, IDC predicts they’ll decrease to single digits by 2018.

Right now, smartphones are everywhere, with new vendors and models popping up daily, but without a clear dominant product, sales will falter. Companies are constantly lowering prices, so it grows harder to turn a sizable profit. And on the consumer side, between increasing rates for data, mandatory (and bug-filled) updates, and constantly changing models (they went from huge to tiny and are growing again now), the whole ordeal of owning a smartphone is exhausting.

So if smartphones are off the market, what’s next for consumers? 

Smartphones are especially annoying when compared to other devices on the market. Wearable technology like smartwatches are sailing into the market. These give you access to the internet and all of your contacts and files right on your wrist. They also have a Bluetooth connection, which allows you to make phone calls right from your watch. (Imagine that. The smartwatch users of today are the Maxwell Smarts of yesterday.) And many of them are specifically made for exercise, equipped with everything from music players to heart rate monitors so you never need to worry about putting your phone in an awkward inside pocket of your running shorts again. The most popular smartwatches currently run on the Android system, though many also use iOS. The technology they bring is familiar, but the medium is new and improved. With smartwatches you can essentially use your smartphone without carrying your smartphone. Sales are expected to take off over the next six years.

Soon Google Glass will be available to the public too. That means people will go everywhere in talking “smart” glasses that do everything from accessing the internet to acting as a camera. Glass will talk to you or let you talk to other people; run a search or take a picture for you. The idea is that the glasses will be able to do all the things a smartphone can do and more without lifting a finger or even a wrist: Even better, everything Glass can do is voice-activated. That sure does soundbetter than a tedious smartphone with endless buttons. And Google Glass won’t be the last of its kind. As it turns out, Microsoft just released proposals for its own secret glass project which could make even Google Glass obsolete. Instead of displaying information in a tiny portion of the screen, Microsoft’s design would project images and allow the wearer to interact with the world they see through the glasses. The technology is loosely based off of Microsoft’s ideas for revamping video games with virtual reality. If Microsoft’s glasses come to fruition, video game technology could blend with reality. And the mix of the two is definitely poised to replace the smartphone.

As for me, well, I’m not budging. You can pry my BlackBerry from my cold dead hand. I’m not alone— people generally gravitate towards the familiar. And of course all of this new technology is a few years out. Once it gets here, though, it’ll be here to stay. As of now smartphones have become a crucial part of daily life, but it’s not crazy to think that they’re being phased out. 

What do you think? Does this seem right to you, or do you think it’s ridiculous to imagine a world without smartphones? Leave your opinions below.

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