Mobile phones have come a really long way, since the time when owning one made you cool and polyphony ringtones were all the rage. Today, it’s a part of our life, a necessity, without which many of us can’t possibly function. Be work or leisure, there’s nothing these little devices can’t do. But, since the past year, it seems we’ve hit a technological wall as most of the phones being launched or that were recently launched just seem like clones of one another in a new suit. Any new high-end phone will have the same predictable dual-core CPU, a ton of RAM and storage, a huge display and will cost you an arm and a leg.

What we need are some new breakthrough features that will make you lust after it, possibly the same way when we got our first taste of a colour screen on a mobile or could connect to the Internet and snap a picture. This is our list of some really exciting technologies that we can’t wait to see on a commercial phone. 

Built-in laser virtual keyboard
While Swype has reduced the stress of using a virtual keyboard by quite a bit, it’s still no substitute for a good ol’ fashioned keyboard. While wireless keyboard accessories for tablets are one way of doing this, it’s not the solution. What we need is a laser virtual keyboard built into the tablet or phone itself.

How badly do you want this?

How badly do you want this? (Image Source)

Not only is this spectacularly cool, but is also a lot more convenient, as you don’t have to lug around stupid accessories that you’ll be using once in a while. Celluon currently make a virtual laser keyboard as an accessory for any Bluetooth device, but what we want is that same technology baked into a tablet.

Holographic displays
Forget DLNA or even projector phones; how about holographic displays? Imagine generating a big screen a few inches above your device itself for watching a video, how cool would that be? Dating all the way back to 1947, when holography was first developed, it had been a permanent fixture in sci-fi movies, most fondly remembered from the first Star Wars trilogy. This technology is still a long way from being put into any mainstream product for various reasons that we don’t want to bore you with.

The force is strong with this one

The force is strong with this one

In the recent past, CNN was the first to use holographic display when they beamed a virtual correspondent, Jessica Yellin, from Chicago all the way to New York during the presidential elections, back in 2008. To make this possible though, there were 35 HD cameras covering every angle of Yellin, which sent a live stream to the studio. It’s quite clear that we have a long time till the tech is miniaturized, but hey, one can still dream, right.

Transparent phones
We’ve seen Tony Stark use it in Iron Man 2 and recently, Hugh Jackman was seen using a Nokia Transpire 800 (ok, we just made that up) in the awesome robo-boxing flick, Real Steel. This technology may not be that far off from coming to mainstream products like the above two.

I see you!

I see you!

Samsung already showcased their transparent displays at last year's CES where they showcased a 19-inch transparent, AMOLED display and better still, at CES 2012, Lumus demoed their wearable display that produces a 720p HD display with surprisingly good quality and colour reproduction. The best part about transparent displays on a tablet or a mobile phone is that you can see where you’re walking, while using the device, so you don’t fall into an open manhole for instance.
 
Health monitoring functions
Phones today can tell you the weather, calculate the distance you’ve covered or guide you in the right direction, but wouldn’t it be great if it could monitor you vital stats, as well? You get standalone devices that can monitor the calories you’ve burnt just by steps and the distance covered just by slipping it into your pocket or bag even.

Stay healthy anytime, anywhere

Stay healthy anytime, anywhere

Some phone like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Active comes with the features like a pedometer, but we want this to be bundled by default in every smartphone. We'd also like to see more functions like the ability to check your pulse and monitor your heart rate. While there are some concepts already out there, we want this to go mainstream.

Foldable touchscreen phones
There was a time when flip-phones were very popular, but as time went on and touchscreen phones became the way forward, that segment simply died out. Samsung is among the few companies that are trying to revive that platform with their foldable AMOLED displays.

The touchscreen phone of the future?

The touchscreen phone of the future?

The company has been toying with this idea for a while now and have even demoed flexible prototype panels, which is rumoured to make their way into an actual product, sometime this year. They’ve also released some concept photos of what these phones may actually look like. We’d also love to see phones that can morph from a candy bar form factor to say, a bracelet, so you can wear it, while working out or driving, so you never have to take your hands off the steering.

Batteries that last long, very long
The biggest problem with all battery-powered gadgets is that they will inevitably run out of juice. What we need are batteries that will last you a few weeks, at least on a single charge. The only way to achieve this is to find an alternate source to alkaline batteries, like hydrogen-fuel cells, for example. Back in 2010, Apple filed two patent proposals for fuel-cell batteries that promised weeks of battery life, not hours.

Mobion fuel-cell chips

Mobion fuel-cell chips

While this would work, packing a fuel-cell into a compact device like a mobile phone is the biggest challenge. But, what if you eliminate the battery altogether? A research team in the Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with a way to harness energy from common bodily movements to power up LCD displays and radio signal transmissions. The tech uses zinc oxide nanowires to generate power, even from heart beats. These nanowires could be embedded in clothing and store the energy from your movements. Brilliant!

Give us a phone or a tablet with any of these features and we’ll be a happy camper. What feature would you love to see in the mobile or tablet of the future?

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