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4 Ways Smartphones Shape Technological Advancements

Smartphones have greatly changed how people live their lives. These seemingly limitless devices are slowly turning into a must-have just to keep up with the ever-changing requirements of daily living. Here, we take a look at what lies ahead in the world of smartphones and teach you how these technologies can impact people.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has now become much closer to the reality it’s trying to replicate. It has also become more easily accessible to anyone thanks to this advancement in smartphones.

These powerful devices have technologically evolved enough to become a “gateway” to anyone who wants to see the world in a different way. To get that VR experience, users need to have a supplementary head tracking optics hardware.

This is where the Gear VR, Oculus VR’s mobile accessory, comes in. Through this accessory, smartphones users are able to visualize their environment in what seems like a widescreen HD OLED.

While the headset currently finds support on a select Samsung phones, this kind of functionality is becoming more ubiquitous. In fact, there are talks of other mobiles devices that can support VR on their own. Google Cardboard has been wildly successful, and LG is shipping a low-end VR shell with every LG G3.

Then again, today, the Gear VR is the gold standard for this kind of functionality.

Case in point: Samsung has given Oculus special, low-level access to the operating system, allowing Oculus to trim the cringeworthy motion lag down to a bare minimum. On top of that, Samsung phones also have an OLED screen, which allows for a low-persistence display that eliminates VR motion blur. Most importantly, unlike most cheap VR shells, the Gear VR comes with its own motion tracking hardware, which is a far more precise than the poorly-calibrated gyros and accelerometers already in the phone hardware.

As such, it’s only a matter of time before other hardware manufacturers get their products to the same level of quality.

Mobile VR is already a great experience for watching movies, and in another hardware generation or two, it may prove to be useful for mobile computing, allowing people to use crazy VR operating systems on the go, creating huge virtual screens to work on while on the go. Potentially, depth cameras may provide the positional tracking needed for such an application.

While it is now mainly for entertainment such as watching movies and playing games, there’s still a lot of untapped potential for virtual reality, like scientific studies or medical procedures.

Shopping

Most of the attributes that make a smartphone appealing — portability, interactivity, and location identification — have made it the most ideal shopper’s companion. A ton of studies have shown that more than 80 percent of U.S. shoppers turn to their phones for help. With one swipe, consumers can access product descriptions, reviews, and price comparisons, upending the conventional wisdom on how marketers should attract customers.

Studies have shown that U.S. companies spent more than $28 billion on mobile advertising in 2015 and are set to double that by 2018. Much of this outlay is aimed at users of mobile apps, which account for about 87 percent of people’s smartphone usage.

It’s more about the ease of buying, where buyers can link different shopping applications to buy most of what they want to buy. They can pay with any kind of currency, as well as any kind of monetary source; from raw cash or credit cards, to VISA, MasterCard, or bitcoins. They can even opt for prepaid card services that of lycamobile top up. There’s just so much flexibility in shopping through mobile apps that make it more viable as the years go by, and the technology advances.

According to research from a large, U.S.-based retailer of consumer electronics, video games, and wireless services, there have been critical variations on the transaction analytics of purchases done virtually versus purchases done “physically.” The study has isolated the effects of mobile apps on important retail metrics, which includes how much each customer spends, the number of products they return, and the relationship between various app features and purchase decisions.

In addition to transaction-related records from the chain’s 4,175 stores and its website, the authors has examined data on the more than 2 million customers — among the company’s 32-million-strong customer base — who adopted the mobile app.

The amount of people affected by and constantly using the technology of mobile applications becoming a tool for shopping is just overwhelming. In the near future, there will be more technology that can help shoppers, such as increased security, or more options to try out the product by virtual representations. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

Battery Technology for Longer Usability

People got past the limitations of smartphone batteries by discovering mobile power sources like power banks. It’s just that the technology on smartphones also requires them to take more power to operate. The more tasks that are required of smartphones, the more they will continue to demand from their already-scarce battery availability. Thus, the battery is still a huge limiting factor for smartphones’ usability in many ways.

Now, batteries are advancing, but not nearly as quickly as screen resolution, processing power, or storage space.

There are is a number of breakthrough technologies that could improve battery life. One of the most promising, in the long term, is the use of ultracapacitors — a process that uses nanotechnology to create devices which can charge almost instantly, while storing far more energy than normal batteries.

Normal capacitors work by storing a static charge between two layers of conductive material, which can be discharged later. Ultracapacitors use nano-structured materials like graphene to create enormous numbers of those layers which can then be discharged one at a time, creating a slow, continuous flow of power. These capacitors wouldn’t degrade over time like batteries and could potentially be far more energy-dense.

This technology is on its way to most smartphones, and it would be a huge technological advancement as it can push many mobile devices (even with tablets, laptops, gaming consoles, and other equipment like drones) to a place where their usability is extended exponentially.

Hardware Modification, or Mobile Rig Building Technologies

There’s a lot of ways personal computers can be improved just because every single part is modifiable. A couple of years back, smartphones have had limited flexibility in terms of modifications and improvements. Now, a technology has been developed that can really change how smartphones function.

Everyone who buys the latest Samsung Galaxy phone or Iphone is buying the same processor, the same screen, and the same speakers. This is in contrast to the way everyone buys PCs. Even if you aren’t into the PC rig building scene, most people still customize their PCs with faster GPU, nicer screen, ergonomic keyboard, big speakers, and other features. 

Bringing this kind of customization to the smartphone is at the heart of Project Ara, Google’s new initiative to transform smartphone components into Lego blocks: self-contained units which can be mixed and matched, and upgraded in place.

Of course, the benefit of this structure is having more flexibility and usability on the device.

The idea of modular smartphone rig building allows consumers to buy a relatively cheaper smartphone “skeleton” that has slots for various modules. Those modules would contain processors, speakers, memory, batteries, and the like. These modules could then be replaced and upgraded, without having to get rid of the rest of the phone, and with no special tools or expertise.

About the author

Kenneth Roberts

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