Although the biggest manufacturers like Apple e Samsung Presenting new phones with more features and better performance, sales of smartphones slowed down And the main markets are saturated.
The next smartphone catalyst could come with the possibilities offered by 5G or fifth generation wireless networks, new form factors: the physical dimensions of the power supply, the types of connectors and the motherboard type or advances in virtual reality and augmented
But some analysts argue that something completely different can supplant the smartphone.
The founder of the Future Today Institute, Amy Webb, said in his annual report on technological trends that 2018 "marks the beginning of the end of traditional smartphones" and that A transition to a new era of computing and connected devices based on voice, gestures and touches.
"The transition from intelligent phones to intelligent technology and invisible interfaces to use – headphones with biometric sensors and speakers, rings and bangles that detect movements, smart lenses that record and display information – will change our physical world experience forever," Webb wrote.
Other analysts estimate what the smartphone It still does not disappear and it will not be done in the short term, even if the market is slowing down.
"The smart phone does not go away, but it could change its appearance and its form factor," says David McQueen, an analyst of devices connected to ABI Research. "The smartphone market is still many years old."
McQueen said in a recent report that the mobile industry is evolving towards devices with hands free experiences, powered by artificial intelligence, mixed reality and gesture control.
The new devices will also offer improved biometric functions, such as facial recognition and changes such as the folding screens.
– Leading the innovation –
The investigation says that "Google and Amazon will lead and drive the innovation of smart phones and related ecosystems in the next five or six years "due to its strength in these emerging technologies.
It is expected that Global sales of smart phones will contract 0.7% in 2018, to 1,455 million units, according to the IDC research company. Although the company believes that the smartphone market will recover and predicts that in 2022 it will reach 1,646 million units.
"We still believe that the smartphone market will grow healthy in the coming years, although finding these market segments and competing in them is increasingly difficult," explained IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
91% of adults under 50 in the United States use a smart phone and 95% of teens have access to a, according to the Pew Research Center.
In Europe there were at the end of 2017 some 465 million mobile contracts that accounted for 85% of the population, with more than two-thirds of these connected to smartphones, according to the association of GMSA mobile operators.
Bob Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said sales of smartphones have declined in the United States and other markets due to the end of the operators' offers.
"Because people are paying the full price of their phones, they keep them longer," the analyst argued.
The market could gain momentum in 2019 with the 5G and the possible appearance of the first devices with folding or flexible screens, according to O & D; Donnell.
"People have been talking about them (folding screens) for some time and I think we can finally see the first ones next year," he said.
"It will be interesting because it opens the possibility of a larger screen on a smaller device."
– Increasingly intelligent –
Or, Donnell argues that Smart phones are still the favorites by consumers despite the arrival of new devices such as the smart speakers of Amazon and Google.
Although it considers it probable that the next innovations are still more "smart" devices than the current generation, with built-in artificial intelligence.
"If you have AI chips built into the device, you can do many things without a network connection," explained Donnell.
The analyst said competition between technology companies Currently, it focuses on intelligent digital assistantss, such as Alexa from Amazon, Google Assistant, Siri from Apple, among others.
This is becoming a "platform battle of power that could influence the smartphone market," according to Donell, who said that some things can change if Amazon becomes the dominant player, as it produces a wide variety of devices , but not smart phones.
It is unclear what type of device consumers will want, but "in short, it will look a lot like a smartphone."