Although the biggest producers like it Apple i Samsung introduce new phones with more features and better performance, sales of smartphones are slow and the main markets are saturated.
The next smartphone catalyst could come with the capabilities offered by the 5G wireless network or the fifth generation, new forms of factors – physical power dimensions, connector types, and motherboard type – or advances in virtual and enhanced reality.
But some analysts claim that something else can replace the smartphone.
Future Todai Founder, Amy Webb, in its annual report on technological trends that "2018" marks the beginning of the end of traditional smartphones "and transition to a new era of computing and related devices based on voice, movement and touch.
"Switching from smartphones to intelligent technology and invisible wearing interfaces – headphones with biometric sensors and speakers, rings and motion detecting bracelets, smart goggles that record and display information – will forever change the way we experience the physical world," Webb wrote .
Other analysts estimate make a smartphone still does not disappear and will not do so in the short term, even if the market is slowing down.
"The smartphone will not go away, but it could change its appearance and its shape," said David McKueen, an analyst with related devices at ABI Research. "The smartphone market still has many years to come."
McKueen said in a recent report that the mobile industry is developing into devices with hands-on experience, fed by artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and gesture control.
New devices will also offer enhanced biometric features, such as face recognition and changes such as switching screens.
– Leading innovation –
The research says that "Google and Amazon will lead and launch the innovation of smartphones and ecosystems linked over the next five or six years "because of their strength in these new technologies.
This is expected global smartphone sales will be reduced by 0.7% by the end of 2018,, to 1.45 million units, according to the research company IDC. Although the firm itself believes the smartphone market will recover and predicts it will reach 1,646 million units in 2022.
"We still believe the smartphone market will have healthy growth in the next few years, although finding these market segments and competitiveness in them is getting harder," explained IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
91% of adults under the age of 50 in the United States use a smartphone, and 95% of adolescents have access to one, according to the research center Pev.
In Europe, at the end of 2017, about 465 million mobile contracts accounted for 85% of the population, with more than two-thirds of these connected with smartphones, according to GMSA.
Bob O'Nehnell, founder of Technalisis Research, said smartphone sales slowed down in the United States and other markets due to the end of an operator's offer.
"Because people pay the full price for their phones, they keep them longer," the analyst said.
The market could achieve momentum in 2019 with 5G and the likely appearance of first devices with foldable or flexible screens, according to O & # 39; Donnell.
"People have been talking about them for some time (folding screens) and I think we can finally see the first few years," he said.
"It will be interesting because it opens the option of a bigger screen on smaller devices."
– More intelligent –
Donnell says it Smartphones are still desirable consumers despite the arrival of new devices such as Smart Speakers from Amazon and Google.
Though he thinks it is likely that the following innovations are still "more intelligent" devices than the current generation, with artificial intelligence.
"If you have built-in AI chips in the device, you can do many things without a network connection," explained O & # 39; Donel.
The analyst said that competition between technology companies Currently, it focuses on smart digital assistantssuch as Amazon Alek, Google Assistant, Apple's Siri, among others.
This becomes a "battle of power over platforms that can affect the smartphone market," said O & # 39; Donell, who pointed out that some things can change if Amazon becomes the dominant player because it produces a wide variety of devices, but not smartphones .
It's not clear what kind of device a consumer wants, but "in short, it will look like a smartphone".