OnQ Blog

The Future of the Smartphone: Advanced AI, elite gaming, new form factors, and professional photographic capabilities [video]

Dec 16, 2021

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

There’s no denying that smartphones have transformed our daily lives since their introduction more than a decade ago. Even if you compare the smartphone of today to the smartphone of just a few years ago, you’ll see that the compute power and connectivity capabilities have increased exponentially, while power consumption has decreased. Today, users can do remarkable things with their smartphones, like conduct hi-res video calls, take professional quality photographs and videos, play mobile games with desktop-level graphics and performance, and so much more. If that’s all possible today, imagine what’s possible tomorrow.

Take smartphone cameras, for example. With our new low-light mode on our recently launched premium-tier Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, your smartphone camera snaps 30 photographs in quick succession, and then combines them to determine the best possible exposure. A few years ago, taking a professional quality photograph at night or in another low-light situation was a job for a DSLR. But with advanced AI capabilities on Snapdragon platforms, it’s now possible to get beautiful low-light photographs with a smartphone. And now that we’ve figured out nighttime and low-light photography, our next goal is to personalize the camera experience for the end user. Imagine if your smartphone could learn your specific preferences for snapshots’ look and feel. Soon, it’s conceivable to think you could have true creative control to tailor photographs to get the feeling of the moment just the way you want it.

Mobile gaming has become a popular way for people to engage with one another socially — a space to meet, compete, and even collaborate. The arrival of 5G and the move toward the cloud drastically changed the experiences mobile game developers can offer players — expansive online communities, and low-latency gaming with stunning graphics and impressive sound. Mobile gaming has gained a huge foothold among casual gamers — mobile gaming makes more revenue than the rest of the gaming industry combined, and we think there’s potential for even more growth. Our Snapdragon G3x Handheld Developer Kit, powered by the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Mobile Gaming Platform made with support from Razer, is an exciting step forward.

Speaking of form factors, I believe we’ll see more innovation in this area in the coming years. We’re already seeing brands like Samsung experiment with foldable devices like the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold. I use the latter, and I can’t say enough about the productivity gains made possible by the increased screen size. The smartphone form factor of the future won’t be strictly confined to the more traditional rectangular shape.

As smartphones get smarter and 5G ushers in a world of absolute connectivity, XR becomes more of a reality and less of a pipedream. Soon, AR glasses connected to smartphones will enable users to view information on virtual screens. Imagine being able to produce a second work screen (or third, or fourth)? Expanded XR capability isn’t 10 years in the future — it’s in the very near future, and it will be made possible by Snapdragon technology.

In the latest video from our ongoing “The Future of'' series moderated by Ina Fried, the chief technology correspondent at Axios, I sat down with Chris Patrick, SVP and GM of the Handset Business at Qualcomm Technologies, for a broad conversation about smartphones — their past, present, and future. Chris and I have both been involved in the mobile business at Qualcomm Technologies for the past 20 years, and we’ve both witnessed how smartphones have changed how we live our lives — in ways both big and small.

In recent years, smartphones have made technological leaps and bounds, evolving into super intelligent personal assistants, professional quality cameras, elite gaming rigs, and so much more. With the introduction of ever-smarter and more energy efficient mobile compute platforms like the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, as well as the proliferation of lightning-fast connectivity technologies like 5G and Wi-Fi 6E — not to mention the Metaverse, which we believe could be as big as mobile — we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of how smartphones will transform our daily lives, both personal and professional.


Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.



Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Alex Katouzian

SVP & GM, Mobile, Compute and Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies