Five radical designs for future smartphones


Rohin Dharmakumar, Forbes India
Feb 22, 2013 at 05:45pm IST

1. Wearable, augmented-reality glasses: One of the most radical of all new designs, the Google Glass is a spectacle-like wearable computer that you control with your eyes and voice.

Availability - A few lucky Android developers are getting their hands on the device in early 2013, with limited consumer availability expected in 2014.

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Price - About $1,000-not too bad, considering that the top-end iPhone 5 costs Rs 60,000 ($1,100) in India!

2. Smartphone-PC: The Asus Padfone represents an inevitable fusion of the smartphone with the PC. By itself, it is a 4.3-inch smartphone, but with its accessories, you could do away with a PC or laptop altogether. Plug the Padfone into a larger screen, or a keyboard, and it seamlessly shares data, internet connectivity and processing power to provide you with a PC replacement.

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Five radical designs for future smartphones

So have we hit an 'innovation plateau' in smartphone design? Here are designs you could be using in the next 2 yrs.

Availability - Version 2 of the Asus Padfone is already available.

Price - Though not yet launched in India, about Rs 40,000 for the phone plus Rs 15,000 for the optional screen.

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3. Foldable screen: The Samsung Youm's flexible colour screen can be twisted and folded. Unbreakable, flexible displays open up many possibilities, like phones that 'unfold' to become tablets.

Availability - Samsung demonstrated the device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on January 9. Its next flagship Galaxy devices (S4 or Note III) could sport these screens.

Price - NA

4. Gesture-controlled phone: Microsoft's Kinect add-on for its XBox gaming device is smart enough to 'see' the people in a room and recognise their gestures and expressions during gameplay. This technology in a smartphone brings with it possibilities of Minority Report-like gestures, physical gaming and facial recognition.

Availability - At CES this year, PrimeSense, the makers of the sensing module that powers the Kinect, unveiled Capri, a significantly miniaturised version of its three-dimensional sensing module that can fit into smartphones and tablets. Thus, the fabled 'Kinect Phone' might be here sooner than we think.

Price - NA

5. Multi-screen phone: On one of its sides, the YotaPhone has a traditional colour touchscreen, with Google's Android running underneath. When you turn it around, you will find a black and white 'e-ink' display. The second screen can be configured to display any number of things-a to-do list, a flight boarding pass, photos of your kid or newsfeeds-with zero use of battery. Perhaps not so radical or disruptive, but an interesting and clever innovation.

Availability - To be released in 2013.

Price - NA

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