The Future of Mobile Devices

Consumer mobile devices have come a long way, building on their initial telephone origins to becoming handheld computer devices for managing most aspects of people’s lives. So what is coming next?

To find out, we asked stakeholders responsible for designing smartphones, tablets and smart wearables what the future (2026) has in store for typical consumer mobile devices.

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A cross-section of the mobile device industry

Molex surveyed 207 qualified participants in both business and technical roles at mobile device suppliers and OEMs in companies of various sizes in multiple regions around the world.

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Mobile devices will change — but by how much?

90% expect the mobile device of the future to be different than today’s, but that’s about all they have consensus on.

Over one third think mobile devices in 2026 will be dramatically different; somewhat surprising given the incremental improvements we’ve seen over the last few years. 5G is likely to be a key driver in enabling incremental value for mobile device users.

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Disruptive features are on the way

73% believe there’s a chance the phone of 2026 could be wearable.

Other disruptive features believed to be coming our way include self-charging, holographic or projection display, full recyclability, protection from environmental factors (dust, water, etc.) and no-break displays, to name a few.

There were many differences however, on which of these features would be standard based on type of company and job level of respondents.

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5G’s promise will be fulfilled

5G will be a critical launchpad for connectivity among new mobile devices.

This technology is expected to facilitate high download speeds – almost 40% think 1-3 GPs will be the norm. Yet only 14% believe that ALL smartphones in 2026 will be 5G.

82% believe consumers will see substantial benefits from 5G smartphones.

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five challenges of mobile devices

Top five challenges to solve

96% of respondents reported technology challenges of some kind slowing delivery of mobile device innovation. 37% noted that performance of 5G connectivity and high-speed wireless charging to be the most difficult challenges.

93% reported that, in addition to technology barriers, consumers being satisfied with what they have (32%) and their price expectations (38%) can also dampen innovation.

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Be ready for what’s coming

One thing is clear — the future of mobile devices is not.

Even getting a line of sight on what’s coming in as little as five years from now is difficult. That’s why having a partner like Molex is so important. We are leading innovation in 5G, antenna solutions, micro connectors and other key enabling technologies for the mobile devices of the future.

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