I bought my first mobile phone in the early part of the 1990s, and it was a brick of a handset. It was too big and heavy to even fit in my pocket. The battery lasted only a few hours, and it took a whole day to charge.
The earlier phones were aimed at the business users, with consumers not yet a priority. Roll forward two decades and now mobiles are small enough and fast enough to satisfy both enterprise customers and the general public.
The technology trend was to make smaller phones, with Motorola leading the way with its Razr model. I bought three of the Razr at once, as it was one of the best phones out there. It led the way for some time both in innovation and design.
Smart phones started to appear on the horizon a few years back, but most of them were – again – bulky in size with a weak battery. As a result, these early products failed to gain mass appeal like their earlier cousins.
In 2007, Nokia had announced a device called the Tablet 810, which was one of the best of its kind at the time. Still, acceptance by the mass market was minimal, given that size still mattered the most, and the tablet was too big for most people.
This all changed when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone. Suddenly smart devices had gone mainstream, and from this point onward the world had been changed in one stroke.
I suppose that’s what a genius does: innovate and create disruptive technologies, watching new technology ecosystems grow up around them. Just look at the proliferation of mobile apps since the iPhone first launched.
So what does the future hold for mobile phones? Well, we will all ditch our standard mobile phones, if we have not already done so. The screen sizes we once knew, 3.5 inches, will have grown larger to 4.3, 4.5 and even 5.3 inches, such as in the Samsung Note.
To compensate for the bigger screens, the devices themselves will have become much lighter in weight. See: the Samsung Galaxy S11. So we will not mind carrying devices with large screens, provided the devices are thin and lightweight.
Screen size will also be affected by the soaring use of bandwidth to process data, content and applications. Therefore, I think the standard will become 4.3 or 4.5 inch. Even Apple will have to change its 3.5-sized model to suit the changing needs of consumers. May be in the version 5 of the Apple iPhone, we shall see a 4.3 screen.
If Apple does this, it will once again be in the front of the device curve, provided they spin out a few more innovative features for its newest model.
With larger screen size, faster dual processors and longer battery life, the mobile device will be our portable computer and phone all rolled into one. But it also will do a lot more. It will become the heart of the digital world, our tool that connects us to everything. We need to live our daily lives in this digitally connected world.
Jazz Gill is a technology, telecoms and private equity consultant. You can contact him at [email protected].