There once was a time when mobile phones merely made voice calls. That era of mobile technology now seems like a very distant past, given the typical capabilities of today's multifaceted smartphone. The advent of voice-activated features on media tablets ads yet another dimension to evolving mobile devices.
Furthermore, developments in display interface technologies are making it possible so that your personal mobile device may become the hub for all your computing experiences at home, in the office, and on-the-go over the next 5 years.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, hundreds of millions of PCs, displays, and projectors offer this interface capability today -- and 2.1 billion smartphones and tablets are forecast to ship with this functionality through 2018.
For decades, PCs have included a VGA port to extend displays outside the box, such as monitors and projectors. Now, market demand is increasing for this functionality from the smartphone and tablet.
Applications range from mirroring the mobile display for presentations and mobile gaming, to second screen uses for more immersive content experiences, and remote control or navigation applications for VCR-style content control.
A combination of wired and wireless technologies are available today: VESA Mobility DisplayPort, MHL, and Wi-Fi Miracast. The capabilities of the display and availability of adapters between the mobile device and display will remain the gating factor for years to come.
"Wired technologies currently have the upper-hand since it’s only a matter of using a compatible cable," says Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research.
In the next couple years, the battleground will shift toward the use of 60 GHz wireless protocols, including WirelessHD and WiGig, capable of pushing 4K video content from the mobile device to the home, office, or vehicle display.
Other technical advancements expected include enterprise-grade security and manageability of the displays within an IT organization.
Hundreds of millions of computers, displays, and projectors are capable of extending displays today, though mostly unknown to the general public. The technologies are integrated into the device, are rarely fully explained by the vendor, which may have led to a lack of market awareness.
"Technology ecosystems that are able to rally vendors and device OEMs to promote these new display applications will gain a competitive edge in reaching the first generation of converged mobile computing users," adds Orr.