Smartphone (or smart TV or smart watch) is a bit of a misnomer at this point. Sure, the devices are far more capable than feature phones and their wireless access to the internet can make their users seem smart, but they are still just tools. That could soon change, though, as the software running on the devices begins to predict what users will want next.
Market research firm Gartner today predicted that by 2017 smartphones will be able to reliably predict what to do next before their users interact with them. These capabilities will be based on learning the use patterns of users, as well as the wealth of data collected on smartphone owners.
Gartner believes that smartphones will eventually be able to take over all of the menial tasks associated with smartphone use. These actions include booking reservations, creating to-do lists, and even simple e-mail responses.
“Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017,” said Carolina Milanesi, VP of research at Gartner. “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user’s location and personal data.”
A preview of such software capabilities can be seen in Google Now, Google's Android software that provides users with information they have not yet searched for.
Of course, these capabilities will be based on consumer willingness to have tons of their personal data stored in the cloud. It also relies on governments taking a hands-off approach to digital privacy regulation.