Over the last couple of years the smartphone design brief hasn’t really changed. Yes, the technology in the phones such as camera, screen size, screen resolution and performance have all been getting better. But if you look at some of the very first touch screen smartphones there hasn’t been any massive stand out changes, just smaller evolutionary changes to help improve the original recipe. Now we have hit a new decade, will smartphone brands start to become a bit more adventurous and go outside of the fold with their new phones?

We have already had a glimpse at future smartphone technology already and many different companies have their own take on the smartphone of the future. Samsung, Motorola and Microsoft seem to be going in the foldable phone direction, with Samsung already releasing the Galaxy Fold, Motorola have previewed a working concept of the new folding Razr and Microsoft have also released a concept folding smartphone called Surface Duo. The folding smartphone sure is a good idea for a device that has everything in one package. The screen size of the phone would be the same size, if not bigger than we currently have, but with the added benefit that they can be folded smaller and easily fit into your pocket or bag. The Galaxy Fold for example is similar in size to a current smartphone when folded, but when opened it has a massive 7.3 inch screen which is the current biggest ever seen on any smartphone, and not far off from a tablet. Unfortunately, though, the launch of the phone didn’t go very smoothly, with the first examples sent to media for reviews experiencing issues with the screen starting to peel away after folding it many times, and subsequently the launch was delayed. However they managed to iron out all of the issues and put the device on sale. They now claim to have sold over 1 million Galaxy Fold’s so the high price tag and new concept doesn’t seem to be putting people off. So far Samsung are the only main stream manufacturer to actually start making a folding phone for the public, but Microsoft and Motorola say their devices will not be far off in 2020. Is the folding smartphone just a novelty though that will wear off after a while? Only time will tell if people will catch on to the trend of folding smartphones. Here’s a look at some of the current crop of folding phones:

Another thing we have already seen last year and looks like it could continue into the future is smartphones with one specific stand-out feature. Whereas most companies like Samsung and Apple strive towards having a great all-round phone, there has been a rise in brands releasing smartphones with more focused features like the ASUS ROG which is a gaming smartphone with processors and memory specifically designed to handle high resolution gaming. Also like with the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 which main focus orientates around having the highest resolution camera currently available at 108 megapixels. So although these types of phones may lack in other aspects, they excel in the features they are specifically designed to have. We expect there to be a lot more phones like this in the future. But the worry is that they won’t sell as much as the all-round phones from bigger brands as they are focused towards smaller audiences.

In the distant future we could even see the end of smartphones, with things like projections onto a surface from a smaller device taking their place. So, when you need to use your smartphone you just select a surface or area and a display/hologram appears for you to use, then close it again once you’ve finished using it. We have already seen a preview of something similar to this a long time ago on the Lenovo tablet which had a built in projector, and at CES 2020 Samsung revealed a smartphone with a built in keyboard which is projected onto a surface like a table. So, although an actual fully projection/hologram-based phone doesn’t exist yet, existing tech suggests that is another direction smartphones could take in the future.

As well as new smartphones the tech and accessories we use with smartphones also looks like it could be changing in the future. One of these is ‘over the air charging’. We already have wireless charging, but we could soon see over the air charging which uses similar tech to WiFi but will charge your mobile wirelessly over the air while you’re on the move. So, this tech could be integrated in places such as shopping centres or train stations and you may never actually need to plug your phone in again.

Like with everything the future is not set in stone so we don’t really know exactly what the future smartphone will look like until it is here. But, what we do know is the built-in features like camera and screen resolution are only going to get better. We are excited to see what the big smartphone brands have in store next.