Over the past decade, we have seen dramatic, path-breaking innovations in cell phone technology. The cell phone has already transformed from a device to make and receive calls, to a smart phone that can do a lot of things. It has grown into an all-in-one device that you carry in your pocket, replacing cameras, video recorders, music players, personal data assistants, mini PC, GPS systems, gaming devices and lots more.

If the current trend continues, what will be the future of the cell phone? What new paradigms will be shattered in the coming years? What new frontiers will technology conquer? While research is going on under covers and strict secrecy, some trends are clearly emerging. Let us look at some of the likely areas of focus.

The cell phones of the future are likely to have smarter, intelligent screens. Advanced touch-screens may give way to new devices that can understand voice commands or human gestures. The phone will become a personalized device, customized to its owner. This will enable swift reaction from the device in response to the needs and urges of the user.

In the recent years, mobile devices are available in a variety of screen sizes. Apart from the pocket-size screens, we have notebooks, tablets and bigger screens available for all occasions. The cell phone of the future may combine all these devices into one and offer a flexible screen. The user may be able to expand or contract the phone screen on-demand. Thus, the phone can be expanded into a projector during a presentation, and then shrink back into a pocket-size device. It may also get molded into other shapes such as a wrist-watch.

The cell phone is fast growing as an essential device carried by everyone. This has attracted the attention of the fashion industry. In the coming years, it will not be surprising if the cell phones are used as fashion accessories. Bracelets, necklace pendants and many such ornaments may have cell phones embedded in them.

Holographic 3D screens may also be a reality very soon. The messages (and the messenger) may ‘step out’ into the real world and provide a realistic experience. This technology will also expand the use of the cell phone as a device to watch 3D movies, television shows and interactive games.

Research in projection technology will allow phone owners to use any surface as a projector. The keyboard as well as the display screens will be flexible and can be projected anywhere. This has tremendous potential benefits to the users. The keyboard can be projected on a wall and an email can be drafted easily using the large holographic images of the keys.

With the advances in sensor technology, the future cell phones may be embedded with several intelligent sensors. This technology will empower the devices to read the surrounding data and analyze it for the benefit of its user. For example – a cell phone can take live reading of the surrounding weather conditions, temperature and pressure. It can compare it with the meteorological reports for the region and issue warnings. Another example is a sensor that can be used as a diagnostic tool. Such sensors will go a long way in improving the versatility of the cell phone. This will lead to thousands of new apps that will leverage this technology and provide useful information.

The cell phones of tomorrow will also be better devices as compared to the current models. Research is also being carried out in improving the essential features of today’s phone models. For instance, the battery life of the phone will be a critical feature. A longer battery life is essential to use the phone for all the various functions and more. The challenge will be to invent batteries with longer life and lighter weight. Phones that can charge themselves using solar or other source of power may also usher in a green revolution. The touch-screen is another area of improvement. Bigger, better resolution will be an area of focus in the phones of tomorrow. Similarly, we will see improvements in other features and functions in the cell phones of tomorrow.

To summarize – the innovations in the mobile space will grow rapidly in the years to come. Interactive devices that can understand and react to inputs better; flexible screens that can be changed to suit the needs of the occasion; projection technology that can turn any surface into a keyboard or a screen; advanced sensors using nanotechnology; and better and powerful features and functions will continue to improve the entire mobile experience. In the years to come, the cell phone will grow in its versatility and replace several other devices such as cameras, music players and other complex devices.