Transform Dramatically Phones Will

Samsung’s research team have been gazing into their crystal balls and looking at what handsets will be like in years to come, seeing 3D holographic displays that wouldn’t look out of place in Star Wars.

Handsets will evolve dramatically over the next few years, a Samsung R&D exec has said, including faster and more powerful processors and greater storage. Handsets will also encompass new technologies as consumers look for their phone to be more than just a phone.

These new technologies will expand the capabilities of handsets, which would offer a wider range of entertainment and online services, such as shopping, and could even have sensors to monitor a user’s health said Kang-Hun Lee, vice president of Samsung’s Next-Generation Terminals Team. Although voice will remain a "basic capability" of these devices, "We are pretty much focusing on the multimedia capabilities," Lee said.

Within the next 4-5 years handsets will use flexible or holographic displays and could have processors that run at clock speeds up to 5 GHz, faster than today’s desktop computers. When it comes to storage, they may pack up to 10GB of flash memory or hard disks that can hold 20GB of data or more.

Future handsets will also include more advanced cameras, capable of capturing 3-D and holographic images, and rely on fuel cells or solar panels for power. Future handsets will switch seamlessly from one network to another, moving between mobile networks, mobile WiMax and other networks.

While much of the new technologies have yet to move beyond the R&D lab, Samsung anticipates the gradual addition of new technologies and capabilities into its handsets. For example, Samsung will next year put a 1-GHz StrongArm processor inside a mobile phone, Lee said.

Earlier this year at CommunicAsia, Samsung announced a WiMax/GSM handset which will benefit from speeds of up to 10mbps. The phone is likely to be released worldwide during the first half of next year, but whether anyone outside of Korea will have a network ready is another matter.