The smartphone is dying - again!

Is the smartphone going to die? According to a recently published article in Business Insider that seems to be the case. And things are going to get really crazy because of this.

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Obviously, the smartphone will die eventually. But when? Will it take 50 years – or less? In research we did back in 2015 and published in our 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2016 report, half of smartphone owners thought the smartphone could be a thing of the past in only 5 years. This created global headlines about Ericsson predicting the death of the smartphone. Some newspapers even did online polls with readers to see if we were right. And some people got very upset – internally in our company as well. What the **** are we saying? Are we crazy?

Well that was then and this is now.  And now that others are saying the same thing, something has fundamentally changed. That change is not about the smartphone – which is still looking very familiar. The change is that artificial intelligence started to be everywhere. In our phones, of course, but also in our homes, our cars and our messaging apps. AI is now even turning paintings into photos

So, while we have about three and a half years to go before we can say if the consumers we interviewed were right, I would say that the traditional smartphone screen is already now getting some competition. Not crazy.

However, what is supposedly crazy is what comes next. But hasn’t the future always been crazy? For example, let us go all the way back to 2014 and the 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2015 report that highlighted the Mind Sharing trend. Back then, 40 percent of smartphone owners would like to use a wearable device to communicate with others directly through thoughts.  So the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is quite vocal about this idea shouldn’t be so surprising. If he reads our trend reports (not crazy!) then maybe you should too.

Just like the future of the past, the present future also looks crazy. And our Ericsson ConsumerLab 10 Hot Consumer Trends 2017 report is quite full of crazy stuff if you ask me. For example, it covers the fact that a third would rather technologically enhance their own intelligence than rely on an AI assistant. When Elon Musk is now founding a company with the goal of linking computers to our brains so that people can keep up with the AIs, maybe he is not being crazy. Maybe he is addressing a concrete market opportunity.

But going beyond that, the future does indeed look a bit crazy. So that is really why you should pick up a copy of our report and read about consumers expectations on being able to upload their minds to the internet, having AIs as their managers, seeing virtual and physical reality as one and the same, and using augmented reality to make people around them look like aliens.


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