What is a smartphone today? It’s a phone, yes, but it goes way beyond its traditional function of handling voice calls and text messages.
It is a connected entertainment hub that gives people the possibility to read the news, play games, take pictures and selfies and share them on social media, watch videos, listen to music, read, pay, navigate… and the list of functions could go on forever. But what will the phones look in the future? It’s hard to imagine, considering the speed at which they evolve. But there are others who do the imagining for us, showing us their vision of the future of communication on the screen, big and small. So, let’s see how some filmmakers have imagined the future of phones in the recent years.
Fringe (FOX TV Series, 2008-2013)
Fringe is an interesting TV show that takes place in two parallel universes. One of them (not our own) is more technologically advanced – they had compact camera phones as early as the mid-1980s, at the time we only had the DynaTAC, Motorola’s monster of a device capable of nothing but handling voice calls.
The TV show takes place in the early 2010s – the protagonists already use smartphones to keep in touch. In the “other” universe, though, they use ring-shaped communication devices that they clip to their earlobes to handle voice communication, a bit similar to what Bluetooth headsets look today. And they work perfectly well.
Total Recall (2012)
Total Recall is a science fiction movie set in a dystopian future where an evil corporation… but you probably already know the story and myriads of similar ones. What makes it interesting is the way it has imagined the phone – a device built into the users’ palm, capable of handling voice and video calls alike. But for the latter, users need to place their hands on a compatible surface (like a billboard, a window, or such) which will then act as a screen. It is an interesting concept, to say the least.
Get Smart (TV series, 1965 – 1970)
After looking into the future, let’s turn our attention to the past – or to how the makers of the series “Get Smart” imagined the future of the phone back then. Of course, I’m talking about the “shoe phone”, one of the most iconic gadgets the spy comedy series’ protagonist had in his arsenal. The phone was literally built into the spy’s shoe, offered great reception everywhere – even in dungeons – and later in the series, it was even upgraded to offer “shoe waiting” services to its user. All this at a time when even landlines were hard to find.