As a trend, mobility has been steadily growing for the past ten years, and looks set to continue on this trajectory into the future. According to Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of specialist distributor Phoenix Software, by 2020, mobile phones will become primary personal computing devices in place of personal computers (PCs).
“Every electronic device will have total connectivity, and data from this interactivity will be stored digitally and controlled on mobile phones. For example, there will be easy file sharing directly from one person to another, without having to copy a file onto a USB memory stick, move the stick to another PC and then copy it onto the PC again,” he says.
Mobile hardware may become thinner and lighter, but the software will store so much data gathered from a cloud interface, that each individual’s identity will be completely bound up in their phones, which will behave even more like personal computers. Globally, far more people own mobile phones than have access to laptops, so over time, the personal computer will fade into insignificance in the same way that mainframe computers have done.
The basic software functionality to do this already exists, but Campbell-Young believes there are two issues which still need to be resolved: battery life and security. “Battery life on mobile phones will need to be extended considerably to make it viable to store so much data and connect with so many interfaces on the cloud; even when not being used to make calls, mobiles are constantly monitoring the network in case a call comes in and they also transmit a signal every now and then to keep in touch with it which uses up battery power,” he explains.
“Security will also increasingly rely on biometric authentification, such as iris-recognition, voice-recognition, facial-recognition or palm-print recognition to access data, in place of passwords. Although not secure enough, passwords do have the advantage of being able to be re-issued if lost or stolen. Mobile users will want re-assurance that when they connect to a television of the future, it will not allow their personal or business data to be available to other people without their consent.”
This process of total connectivity is already happening in places like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and even India, while these sorts of transactions will increasingly become the norm in Europe as privacy issues become less important for the younger generation of consumers. “Mobiles may not become exact replicas of personal computers, but they will develop into very useful mobile computing devices that offer some of the functions of today’s PCs,” Campbell-Young concludes.