It was just another day in sixth grade. Even worse, a Monday. And I was a restless 11-year-old dreading the history test that was soon to come.
But that morning, I overheard my teacher talking about something I’ll never forget. She was telling another teacher about how she got this new phone that had the internet on it.
At that point, my knowledge of the internet was very limited. But what I did know is that the only way I’d ever seen it was through a bulky desktop computer at home.
It was that day in 2003 that I had first seen a smartphone. And even though they’re common nowadays, fitting a whole computer into a tiny box was mind-blowing to me.
Smartphones really hit their stride soon after the release of the first iPhone back in 2007. From 2008 through 2013, shipments grew from 180 million to over 1 billion. That’s growth that averaged over 40% per year.
But now, it seems that the era of the smartphone could be coming to an end. Last year, smartphone shipments actually fell for the first time ever. And through the year 2022, yearly sales growth is only expected to be 1%.
Right now, there’s no feasible replacement for the smartphone. However, there are some new technologies expected to come out soon that could revolutionize how we communicate.
Introducing: 5G Technology
Every time we get on the internet with our phones using our data plans, we’re using 4G wireless technology.
4G was first launched back in 2010, and there’s been a huge shift in technology since then. As a result, 5G, the replacement for 4G, is going to be adaptive to our current lifestyle, which includes things like wearables (e.g., the Apple Watch) and “smart devices” like the Amazon Echo.
5G-compatible phones are expected to begin coming out next year, and there are a couple huge benefits that come from this technology.
What’s The Hype?
First, the speed of this network is going to be up to 20 times faster than 4G.
A lot of times, when we try and get on the internet or use apps on our phones without being connected to Wi-Fi, it doesn’t run well at all. That’s because the 4G technology that we’re using is outdated, and we’re trying to run brand-new technology on an 8-year-old network.
5G is going to make browsing the internet on your phone seem like you’re on a computer or tablet. The speed will be so fast that you’ll be able to download a full movie onto your phone in just 32 seconds. That’s about twice the speed of a relatively fast computer nowadays.
The other main benefit that we’ll experience with 5G is the number of devices that we can connect.
Compared to 4G, 5G will be able to support over 1,000 more devices per square meter. That means that it will support just about any and every smart home device we can think of right now, and the speed will hardly be affected.
Think about it: This technology could be the final blow to cable.
If you can connect smart TVs, phones, laptops, tablets, smart watches and more to the internet at once, all with blazing speed, why would you have cable?
Instead, you could get something like Netflix or YouTube TV and stream it on all of those devices at the same time using 5G, and it’d save you a ton of money.
So, this is a benefit that will support the Internet of Things revolution as well.
Augmented Reality Is the Next Big Thing
I believe that 5G will be the final stage in the smartphone era.
While it will be a great time for smartphones because of their faster speed, 5G will be the technology that really allows “the next big thing” to be created.
And right now, it’s looking like that next big thing could very well be augmented reality (AR) headsets.
AR headsets are still a few years off, as issues with bulkiness and bad battery life make them not quite practical. However, there are some being developed with real-world applications.
One of the main pioneers of augmented reality is General Electric. For a couple of years now, GE has been using AR headsets for practical work issues.
One example of how it’s helped is by making complex jobs easy.
Putting together the wiring inside of a wind turbine is a difficult job that requires a lot of precision. But at GE, workers have begun using Google Glass, a leading AR headset, which projects instructions right onto the screen of the glasses.
Every wire can be labeled, and there are actually step-by-step instructions. While using these “smart glasses,” the worker can concentrate on the task at hand instead of looking at the manual every few seconds to know what to do.
Another use of AR is that a worker’s field of vision can be broadcasted to their team members.
For example, there was a job that involved replacing an outdated turbine halfway across the world that normally would have cost $50,000 and taken at least 10 days to complete. Additionally, a whole crew would have to be flown out to the site, which is inconvenient for everyone involved.
Instead, one technician was able to fly out with a pair of AR goggles, and the specialized crew could see through his eyes and supervise the project back at their local office.
The End of the Smartphone Era
AR headsets are already making huge strides in the workforce, and it’s only a matter of time before we’re using them to check emails and browse the internet.
Huge companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are all racing to be the first one with a successful AR headset that fits consumers’ everyday needs.
With the declining demand for smartphones, it’s clear that something soon will overtake them. And with all of the time and money that these tech giants are pouring into AR, this is the most likely candidate.
Just like how smartphones blew people’s minds back in the late 2000s, augmented reality technology could be the long-awaited sequel.
Editor, Rapid Profit Trader