IoT is going to kill your smartphones

I haven't used my phone for a week now, and I haven't missed it

phones airpod 1
Swapnil Bhartiya/IDG

I don't remember when I last used my phone.

Seriously. No, really, I am not a tech-denying hipster who brags about using command line for everything or who uses technologies that are deemed ancient even by the Amish community's standards. I don't live under a rock. On the contrary, I live on the cutting edge, using the latest technologies as and when possible.

What I actually meant was that while I was using my phone, I was not using it.

OK, I get it. It's confusing.

As a writer, I spend a lot of my time in a web browser reading, or in a word processor writing. I utilize my laptop exclusively for work and personal use. I tried the iPad Pro and bought all the possible keyboards for it, but it can't replace my laptop as a primary typing device let alone do all that I do on the laptop -- image and video editing, working with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, manage 3D printing, run virtual machines to review and test different distributions, manage my servers and websites, and much more. Don't trust Tim Cook when he said that the iPad Pro is going to replace the laptop.

I work from home, and my office has a 4K TV and Sony PlayStation VR where I enjoy watching TV shows and movies. When I'm traveling, I bring my Google Pixel phone with the DayDream headset to watch movies on a huge virtual screen.

Whether I am at home or traveling, AirPods are plugged into my ears 9-5 (except for when they need charging), which I use to listen to music, make and receive phone calls, interact with Siri to check the weather, send messages, set my appointments and alarms, and much more.

I have both Amazon Echo and Google Home, and I use them to play YouTube videos on my TV and play music in any room of the house (thanks to Chromecast integration with Google Home).

Since MacOS offers integration with Apple's Message app and can run Google Hangout, I manage my chats and messages from the laptop.

That's pretty much the overview of my daily schedule.

Did you see me using my phone at all?

I realized that my iPhone is often plugged into the charger, hidden from plain sight. I never physically touched it, even when using it via Siri, Apple Watch, or MacOS.

There are only two exceptions where I did use my phone: I don't drive, but I did use it for navigation with Uber, just to make sure I was going in the right direction. And I used it to call an Uber (I can now do that with Google Home or Echo). The second case was to check-in to my flight so that I could have the boarding code on my Apple Watch.

That's it.

My use case may not be your use case, but it seems that more people are moving towards that direction. It appears that many people are now using ubiquitous IoT devices more than the actual phone.

I feel that smartphones are placeholders between PCs and actual post-PC devices - ubiquitous IoT devices. As the virtual assistant platform is maturing through Amazon Echo, Google Home, Nvidia Shield, Apple AirPod (though Siri is light years behind in the race), I think phones will become less useful in office and home set-ups. With a ban on laptops and tablets on many US-bound flights, I feel there may be a demand for DayDream or Galaxy Gear-like devices, with Cinema mode, where people can continue to work in a huge virtual screen.

I don't think phones will go away anytime soon, they may still sit in our pockets but most interactions will happen through AirPod-like devices.

But eventually, they will go away.

I see the further demise of smartphones with the maturity of virtual assistants and mixed reality devices. Future smartphones may just be a pair of devices like AirPods and mixed reality headsets.

In other words, I don't see any future for smartphones. They are the DVD drives of the IoT world, they started a revolution, but their time will soon be up.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?