We have seen incredible advances in mobile phone technology over the years. Since the first mobile phone call was made in 1973, phones have shrunk, they gained color displays, and touch screens have been introduced.
The average American adult spends nearly 3 hours each day on their smartphone and they have become an intricate part of our lives, facilitating day-to-day activities and improving access to information.
This is the reason why mobile technology regularly attracts a lot of venture capital and private equity firms. As an investor and founder of a leading mobile technology venture capital firm, I’m endlessly interested and intrigued by smartphone innovations, and how they could improve our quality of life in the future.
Below, I’ll cover the five most exciting innovations that investors and customers are looking forward to seeing in smartphone technology:
1. Improved batteries
Despite the fact that smartphones have come along leaps and bounds, lithium-ion batteries have seen very little progress or innovation. Our advanced technology is hindered by limited power, which seriously impairs the average user’s experience. Thankfully, there are ideas in the works that could change everything for the better.
The innovations are quite spectacular when you consider them, and they seem like they belong to the realm of sci-fi. In a few years, we might be using lithium-air batteries, which use oxygen as an oxidizer.
Lithium-air batteries have a theoretical energy density ten times greater than lithium-ion batteries, which would make them cheaper and lighter overall, so the battery life of each smartphone would be greatly increased.
Other battery innovations include gold nanowire batteries, which could lead to future smartphones that never need to be recharged, and hydrogen fuel cells, which combine hydrogen with oxygen to create an electrical current and have the potential to charge smartphones for a week.
2. Super fast network speeds
When it comes to internet access on our smartphones, speed is always a top priority. We now have access to 4G internet, but by 2020, 5G internet will be here to set the smartphone world ablaze. 5G will be significantly faster than 4G, which will make life much more bearable when it comes to streaming videos on YouTube, browsing the web and playing online games.
3. Holographic projections
Despite how advanced our current technology is, as consumers we are always eager for more. Technically, 2D displays can’t get any better than Apple’s Retina Display, the resolution of which is actually sharper than the vision of a human eye. So where is there to go but toward holographic projections?
For a while, we’ve been looking forward to the idea of interactive, three-dimensional images, and this technology isn’t unfathomable. Researchers are attempting to perfectly combine display capabilities, light conditions and image processing power.
Once this technology gets off the ground, it’s likely that many investors will be eager to provide venture capital.
4. Collapsible electronics
Durability is important for smartphones, which is why we’re all eagerly anticipating the release of flexible, foldable, collapsible phones. Such phones would be far less likely to be damaged, meaning you could comfortably keep them in your back pocket or drop them on the floor without worrying about the repercussions.
This remarkable technology could become commonplace in the not-too-distant future, thanks to Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, which allows for paper-thin screens.
5. Green smartphones
Increasingly, the world is becoming more concerned with protecting the environment and living green. Such concerns bring to light the problems involved in smartphone manufacturing. As the years go by, it is likely that smartphones will become far more environmentally friendly, and there is a chance they might be built with biodegradable materials.
We can also hope to see greener batteries in the future. In fact, Chinese researchers have recently developed an aluminum-graphite, dual-ion battery: a green, light-weight and low-cost battery, which means battery disposal won’t be so damaging in environmental terms. This research is likely to improve and advance as the years go by.
This is certainly something venture capitalists and consumers will be willing to invest in, particularly as, as some sources suggest, ‘sustainability’ is venture capital’s new buzzword.
About the Author: Will Jiang is the founding partner of N5Capital, a leading venture capital firm in China that focuses on early-stage investments in the mobile internet industry. Will has years of investment experience and he is passionate about tech startups and the power of mobile disruption.