5G AND THE SMARTPHONE : tactical Internet

It’s said that 5G is a big deal not only for gamers but also for businesses.  It is, in fact, the first of the “G” series that is designed for business uses like smart cities, industrial automation and critical infrastructure for the “tactile internet.”

Some analysts think that 5G marks the beginning of the end for the smartphone – the device that has become the best-selling consumer device around the world in just a decade.  So, why wouldn’t the smartphone also benefit from the inception of 5G?  Those that predict the smartphone’s demise claim that it will be replaced by “computing and connected devices based on voice, gesture and touch.”  I think that might be the right timing for going back to hand-writing and mailing of letters!  At any rate, it’s said that the smartphone will transition to smart wearables and invisible interfaces such as earbuds that have biometric sensors and speakers; rings and bracelets that sense motion (we talked about these devices in an earlier post); and smart glasses that record and display information – wasn’t that tried and failed miserably?  Other analysts, however, such as David McQueen of ABI Research, say that, “The smartphone is not going away, but it might change its shape and form factor – the smartphone market still has legs for many years to come.”  Good news for those who are firmly attached to their smartphones.  McQueen reports that the mobile industry is evolving to devices with more immersive touch-less experiences, fueled by artificial intelligence, mixed reality and gesture control.  And that new devices may also see improved biometrics such as face recognition and foldable screens.  IDC, a firm that also researches this area, indicates that smartphone sales will decline in 2018 by about 0.7 percent (or, down to 1.455 billion units) but are expected to pick back up again by 2022, to 1.646 billion units.  And an IDC analyst reports that the smartphone market still has healthy growth ahead, although finding and competing in those markets is increasingly more challenging.  In the U.S., 91 percent of adults under 50 use a smartphone and 95 percent of teens have access to one.  A Techanalysis Research spokesman says that smartphone sales have slowed in the U.S. and other developed markets because carriers have ended their subsidies, resulting in people who pay full-price for their phones holding on to them longer.  This situation might be altered by the 5G system that’s due out in 2019 and likely to bring with it devices with foldable and bendable displays – which, among other things, opens up the possibility of a larger screen in a smaller device.  The wave of the future sounds a lot like the one that already exists, but with more capability and intricacies.

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