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What does the Future of Smartphones Hold? 5 Things to Watch For

Apple and its smartphone competitors have become experts at generating hype. It seems like every month a new product is rolled out, complete with huge presentations and more media coverage than some political campaign stops.

The main reason: At least one feature seems to catch even seasoned tech journalists off-guard.

With the launches of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note II, many are left to wonder: Where do smartphones go from here?

While no one knows the answer for sure, here are 5 key areas to look for in devices for 2013 and beyond:

1# Bigger screens

There was a time when techies thought screens were getting too big. There was no way the trend could continue.

Those prognosticators would seem to have been wrong.

Consumers are spending more time working and playing from their phones than ever. They don’t want to sacrifice viewing area for the sake of portability anymore.

And advances in technology have allowed screens to become larger as phones remain not much thicker or heavier than previous generations’ models.

Portability is no longer the name of the game: performance and appearance seem to reign.

2# Rise of the ‘phablet’?

Not only are phones getting larger, some are getting less phone-like.

The phone-tablet hybrid seems to fit the needs of workers on the go. It’s a computer when they need one, a phone when they have to stay in contact.

Look for models like the Samsung Galaxy Note series to find a sweet spot in the market of people who want both a phone and tablet, but don’t want to carry multiple devices.

3# New faces in the game

Apple and Samsung will remain the big players in the smartphone game. Don’t expect that to change.

But newer faces will likely pass established companies like Nokia or Research in Motion (RIM) in sales in the coming years.

Chinese corporations ZTE and Lenovo are already making a push to become major players in the smartphone market.

Whether these companies will be innovators or just produce models that are similar to major manufacturers at different price points remains to be seen.

4# Rise of the prepaid?

Prepaid phones used to be just for casual cell users. They were cheaper alternatives to monthly plan.

But smartphones on prepaid can be a deal – if users are willing to put up with a higher up-front cost for the phone itself.

Expect to see more and more customers cutting contracts in exchange for monthly pay-as-you-go data and talk plans from companies like Cricket Wireless, Virgin Mobile and other carriers.

5# Expect the unexpected

When it comes to smartphones, we’re just about due for another game-changer.

Will we see 3-D phones? Processors that match most laptops? Phones designed to connect to work networks that will replace the office PC? Battery life that eclipses the best on the market (or even uses an alternative energy source)?

It’s tough to say. The biggest developments take a long time and usually many iterations before they become standard in the industry.

But don’t be surprised if the next rollout of an iPhone or other product winds up being the pivotal point in tech history we’ve all been waiting for.

Author Bio:- David King is a technology editor with Progressive Business Publications, covering how the latest tech advances are impacting business.  Connect with Progressive Business Publications on GlassDoor.

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