I argued that in very rough terms and considering the performance and specifications, a mobile phone of today will be like a laptop computer 5 years ago; a desktop PC 10 years ago; a mainframe computer 15 years ago; and a supercomputer 20 years ago. With Moore’s Law we can expect those trends to roughly hold true into the next 20 years. So to see roughly what kind of processing power we can expect from top-end “smart phones” of 2025, we can look at a supercomputer today – such as the IBM BlueGene/L, which as 16 Terabytes (=16,000 Gigabytes = 16 million megabytes) of memory and which runs at 70,000 Teraflops (=70 Trillion floating point operations per second) of speed.
But such numbers are rather meaningless without context. I gave trends in the form factor of a typical “fashion phone” ie a small pocketable or smaller phone; and what kind of services and applications will become possible in those technical environments. Here are snippets into the future I imagined:
In 2010 the typical mainstream mobile phone will be 3.5G phone with a 5 Megapixel optical zoom cameraphone with WiFi type speeds and built-in TV tuners, and a gigabyte size hard drive (like today’s i-Pods). The smallest phones are the size of a thick credit card. Credit cards merge with the mobile phone. Music and videgaming industries earn more from direct downloads to mobile phones that from sales of CD/DVD/gaming CDs in record stores/video stores. Mobile payments are commonplace for parking, vending machines, public transportation, lotteries, movies.