The global smartphone market is huge, and heavily contested and it’s only going to get hotter in the future. In this 50 year horizon report I look into what future smartphones will look like, the technologies they’ll contain, and discuss what’s going to replace them.


Read the report online or download it here.



In 2017 consumers bought more than 1.46 billion smartphones, with approximately 60 percent of those sales coming from the world’s top five manufacturers, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, Samsung and Xiaomi. The Future of Smartphones report that you’re about to read has been used by several of them to elevate their thinking and ideate the next five generations of devices.

Over the past year, especially as we approached the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X there was a palpable sense of expectation from the public. Expectation gave way to disappointment though when, rather than being presented with new, ground breaking features, they were instead presented with animated Emoji’s, Face ID and a raft, a small one at that, of incremental innovations from the fruity company.

I, for example, upgraded my iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone X, and frankly, while I think Face ID is a neat time saving feature, I can leave the rest. And that’s not what I, for one, expected from a company who has more cash in the bank than many sovereign countries. This then led some, including me, to question Apple’s innovation capabilities. At the other end of the spectrum though it also led others to ask whether the best innovations were behind us.

Scientists have turned light into a frictionless fluid that acts like water

It was with some gusto therefore that I was excited to be able to put together the report you now see in front of you, and while this is the “public” version I hope it will show you that when it comes to innovation, and the future of the smartphone we’re far from done. The exciting part, however, comes when we start looking at what will succeed the smartphone.

I hope you enjoy the report, and be sure to pop back because I’ll be updating it regularly with new technologies and ideas.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, award winning Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as "The Adviser behind the Advisers." Regularly featured on AP, CNBC, Discovery and RT, his ability to identify and track hundreds of game changing emerging technologies, and explain their impact on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past five years running as one of the world's foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive future. A rare talent Matthew sits on the Technology and Innovation Committee (TIAC) for Centrica, one of Europe’s largest energy companies, and his recent work includes mentoring XPRIZE teams, building the first generation of biocomputers, helping the world’s largest manufacturers companies envision the next five generations of smartphones and devices, and what comes next, and helping companies including Qualcomm envision the next twenty years of semiconductors. Matthew's clients are the who’s who of industry and include Accenture, Bain & Co, BOA, Blackrock, Bloomberg, Booz Allen Hamilton, BCG, Bentley, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey, Monsanto, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder's, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK's HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

  • Jalil Bashir#1

    4th July 2018

    Star Trek
    The Next Generation

    … showed you.

  • John Sarazen#2

    4th July 2018

    Great paper, Matthew. What will they become? Maybe our “plastic pal who’s fun to be with…?”


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