imgresWhat will the term Smartphone mean in five years time and will today’s “Smartphones” replace the current low and mid range phones in the future?

It is only a matter of time before todays current Smartphone features become the norm. Look at any technology, digital radios, satellite navigation, etc. The first car to be produced with an in built Sat Nav was in 1995. However it was not until 2000 that the United States made a more accurate GPS signal available for civilian use. Now Sat Navs are available as standard in a number of cars. Competing with the hand held devices and of course smartphones.

It is only natural that as technology improves and progresses what we consider to be smartphones now will just be standard phones and the smartphones of the future will be so much smarter. So when articles such as this ABI Research: 27% of smartphones cost under $200 this year ( Nov 5th) suggest that “by 2014 the research company predicts 45% of them [smartphones] will be priced below $200″ we have to determine what is meant by the term smartphone.

Skott Ahn, CEO of LG Mobile Communications, is well aware of the key cellphone challenge of 2010 – the shift of the smartphone from being a premium device to a mass market, keenly-priced one. ( While Ahn told the Wall Street Journal he thought LG’s margins would not suffer as much as many from the coming smartphone price war, he predicted that LG’s average phone price, currently around $139, could go down to $110.

Samsung boasted that its midrange touchscreen phone, the Star, had become its latest to cross the 10 million sales mark, just six months after its release. The Star, or S5230, reached this point more quickly than any Samsung phone before it, and becomes the sixth of the company’s handsets to claim the accolade.

According to Infonetics Research’s biannual Mobile/Wi-Fi Phones and Subscribers market size, market share, and forecast report in November this year. Smartphone sales will outpace sales of other mobiles by 2012. In 2009 alone, more than one billion mobile phones are expected to be sold around the world. Prices will affect market growth as better deals for users squeeze margins. Indeed, while the number of mobile and Wi-Fi-enabled phones is predicted to grow by 10 per cent, revenue will decline by nine per cent, according to the research, (source

However as the analysts predict increased sales and price wars over the next couple of years the technologists will be creating even greater devices. So will these smartphones in 2012 and 2014, that the articles talk about, be the same devices as we know today, Or will they be the new, even smarter, “smartphones”? As the features and functionality increase the new devices will arrive with their new brand names and their new price tags. Leaving todays smartphones relegated to the mid range offerings.

So what do we believe these new smartphones will offer? There is no doubt they will be faster with better screens. Possibly even utilising OLED and flexible displays, enabling the whole case to be a screen and opening up the world of downloadable backdrops and caller identifying colour changes to accompany the multitude of ringtones available today.

They will probably utilise a combined inbox for all emails and social media notifications. They will all have a multitude of options or Apps for the user to customise their devices functionality. They may accommodate simple video conferencing suitable for both business and personal use. As well as allow easy creation, storage and retrieval of podcasts and telephone interviews. No doubt some will include the necessary functionality to enable use as a mini projector.

With all of this increased reliance on mobiles the need for greater security will rise. Leading to innovative ideas to prevent invalid access to your data and connections. Of course current issues with the networks and the battery life of the devices will need to be resolved but as these data heavy phones become more commonplace that will be a requirement long before the smartphones of today become the mediocre phones of tomorrow.

What are your predictions on the sales, prices and functionality of our mobiles over the next five years?