A decade has passed since Apple revealed the first iPhone, the device that completely changed the way we look at mobile phones. Over the years, smartphones have evolved a lot, and have caused other technologies to evolve, too. In the last few years, though, the rate at which innovative technologies have been rolled out seems to have slowed a lot. After all, fingerprint readers and wireless charging have been around for years (which equals to ages in the smartphone world), and digital assistants are not exactly news either since the release of Google Now, Siri, and Cortana. At the same time, mobile gaming has grown beyond exciting mobile gaming with iPhone and Android games, at least when it comes to hardware capabilities. Today’s smartphones are capable of console-grade graphics, yet due to the inherent shortcomings of the platform, the vast majority of players settle for simpler games, like puzzles, slot machines like the ones at the Red Flush, and similar, simpler games. There are quite a few features that are on the way to our handsets that would make using them easier that might show up in them sooner or later (hopefully sooner). Like the ones below.

New ways to charge

How do we usually charge our phones? Most of us plug them in, and some use Qi-compatible wireless charging pads to pump them full of juice. But the wireless charging options available today are still wired – it’s the pad that needs to be plugged in to be able to charge the phone. But true wireless (and untethered) charging options are also under development that might be able to charge our phones without taking them out of our pockets.

Back in 2014, a team from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology presented a project based on Coupled Magnetic Resonance System (CMRS) that can transfer power wirelessly to a distance of up to 15 feet (about 4.5 meters). If put to use, this system will be able to charge and power compatible devices in a certain area – smartphones, music players, smart watches, TVs, and whatever else you can think of.

Another promising project was devised by a German student back in 2013 – an electromagnetic harvester that gathers electricity from the air. The air around us is full of electromagnetic energy generated by everything from overhead power lines to WiFi routers and smartphones. The device can harvest this wasted energy and convert it into usable one – perhaps one day, it might power our smartphones, too.

Flexible smartphones

Flexible smartphone screens are pretty easy to produce today – the problem is with the rest of the components under the devices’ hoods. But bendable, flexible smartphones might be on their way – at least this is what the numerous concepts and a series of patents registered by major manufacturers like Apple and Samsung suggest. The benefits would be great – just think of sitting down with a smartphone in the front pocket of your tight pants (and the Bendgate scandal from a few years ago).

Holographic displays

Glasses-free 3D displays are the next big thing – unfortunately, the technology is currently only available on larger screens. But a holographic display on a smartphone sounds interesting enough to rekindle the interest of some enthusiasts – and we might get just that in the near future.

One of the first smartphones with a holographic display will probably be RED’s Hydrogen One, a $1,200 handset with a display never seen before. But other manufacturers are also rumored to be working on such display technologies – and some minor contenders have already released their take on this technology (with varied results).