The Strategist

Creator of Hololens: Smartphones will be dead soon

05/12/2017 - 15:39

Considering how much modern people has become dependent on smartphones, it's not surprising that this gadget enjoys great popularity. Check the temperature outside the window, read the news, check the email and messages from friends in numerous messengers, laugh at ridiculous pictures on social networks - all this can be done with a single compact device. No one could have dreamed of such a thing about fifty years ago.

ImagineCup via flickr
ImagineCup via flickr
Sales statistics confirm this theory. According to preliminary research by IDC, the world’s manufacturers delivered a total of 347.4 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2017 - an increase of 4.3% year-on-year. Specialists note that the January-March jump was slightly higher than the IDC forecast of 3.6%.

"The first quarter shows that the smartphone industry is alive, and that the growth continues", said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

However, not everyone believes that smartphones have a future.

"Smartphones are already dead. People just have not realized it yet", says Microsoft’s employee Alex Kipman, thanks to whom devices such as Kinect and HoloLens were born. 

Kipman is sincerely convinced that the future of mankind will be impossible without hybrid devices that can complement the surrounding reality with virtual images and interfaces. Of course, he hints that HoloLens and similar devices will revolutionize the technology. Such a statement of the prominent engineer sounds like a provocation. Yet, if you think about his words in the long term, it becomes clear that, most likely, they share a common sense.

The market for mobile devices is simply huge. In this year alone, manufacturers plan to sell more than 1.5 billion smartphones around the world. Microsoft Corporation, unlike its competitors, does not want to focus on the market’s mobile segment, focusing on alternative technologies instead. 

Attempts to realize a mixed reality in portable electronics are made regularly. Google has already managed to experiment with its Google Glass, and many manufacturers of smartphones and even game consoles have tried to combine a camera and video games in a single device. To this day, however, the technology of mixed reality remains something of little use and looks nothing more than dabbling.

In the next decade, the technology development should sharply reduce size of wearable VR-headsets and increase their computing power. And this, in turn, will significantly expand the opportunities for the gadgets’ owners. Imagine that all the functions that your smartphone is doing today will be will be available in ordinary glasses in a thin frame. Just say a contact’s name, and you are already talking with him, and even seeing his photo before your eyes. At the same time, your hands are absolutely free.

Of course, there are some doubts as to whether the largest IT companies will invest billions in the development of this technology direction. Yet, given that HoloLens is just the first experiment with VR for a corporation like Microsoft, we can hope for updated versions of the device in the future. Of course, it won’t be easy to push smartphones out of the market, and it's silly to believe that Apple or Samsung would suddenly give up billions of net profits for the sake of experimental projects. This would happen in theory, but definitely not in the next few years.