25 years ago, I bought my first US Robotics Pilot 1000 PDA and have experienced incredible advancements in mobile technology since then. Smartphone form factors stabilized on metal frames with glass back and front panels a few years ago, with the focus on camera performance in 2021.
For many years, we’ve seen the “mega-pixel race” for smartphone cameras, but most companies have moved to 12MP as the standard for smartphone photography. Algorithms and software intelligence were advanced and perfected in 2021 with Google and Apple taking computer photography to the next level. It’s great that smartphones help you take great photos, but a phone is way more productive than taking photos.
See also: Best camera phone: Take the best photos and videos
Google released Android 12 at the end of 2021 while Apple brought us iOS 15 and these two major updates offer a glimpse of what we can expect in 2022. Our phones will finally start using intelligence, data and the computing power to do the heavy lifting without our constant interaction while providing us with an experience where we can more easily connect with others, focus on the people and the world around us, and have confidence that our smartphones are playing the game. role of valuable personal assistants.
About a decade ago I attended a Mobius influencer event where we brainstormed ideas on where we would see smartphones in the future and it took a lot longer than a lot of my time. group never imagined it to come to a place where the phones were dealing with things in the background. on models captured from large amounts of data, then using that data to deliver a personal, focused user experience that is unique to each individual.
Google Android 12
Android 12 customizes colors and widgets so that your home experience is designed especially for you and isn’t the same as everyone on Android 12. Chat Widget puts the people who matter most to you right on the phone. ‘home screen to help you log in and stay informed about them with little effort on your part.
We’ve also seen developments in Google’s apps to help you in a number of ways. For example, smart response suggestions make it easier to respond to emails because computing power is used to create responses based on your history and past interactions. Google Assistant and voice typing have improved the way you can find things and interact with people faster and in more situations.
Google search is also implemented deeper into the operating system with AppSearch providing the ability to search for people, settings, music, photos, and more. This ability can change the way you interact with your phone. So instead of tapping and swiping multiple times to drill down to the app you want to use, you can just go in one place and skip a lot of middle steps. Reducing the manual interactions we have with our phones is a major way to harness the power of the phone, and to re-focus on people and the real world around us.
See also: Best phone: The top 10 smartphones available
Apple iOS 15
Apple has also taken steps to make your iPhone do more work and make your life easier. The Focus option helps you set your time away from your phone and then lets you share it with others so you don’t get interrupted. FaceTime’s improvements have been especially helpful in 2020, as people are working remotely and connecting through video more than ever before.
Something we should have seen years ago is Live Text where text in a photo can easily be made actionable. With a photo of a real estate agent sign, you can call that real estate agent, send them a message, or even search for directions for an address. You no longer need to bounce between a photo and other messaging, phone, or mapping apps to act on text in an image.
As Google has been doing for some time, Apple now also offers Visual Look Up so that you can learn more about various objects in the photos you capture. I have spent many hours identifying flowers, trees, insects, and other objects using Google Lens.
Google and Apple have made great strides in enabling our smartphones to take on more for us in 2021 and using the large amount of data companies collect to intelligently help us in our daily lives. As computing power continues to advance and our smartphones continue to collect data about our usage, machine learning and AI are expected to reduce the number of decisions we need to make every day. Reports indicate that the average person makes over 35,000 decisions a day and given the incredible power we now hold in our hands, it is clear that smartphones can make many of these decisions based entirely on models of data that the phones have collected.
Since battery and display technology has plateaued, camera technology has advanced so that photos from most devices are almost indistinguishable, the next step for smartphones is to ensure that these tools reduce our stress and take charge of the thousands of minor decisions we make every day.
In terms of hardware, Samsung has set the bar very high for foldable technology and will continue to improve in this area, but there isn’t a lot of hardware innovation compared to others in the smartphone industry.
What do you think we’ll see from smartphone makers in 2022?