Since the introduction of the iPhone, the cell phone market in the United States has started to shift. Before the iPhone, most smartphone owners in the United States were enterprise users. That means they owned a smartphone for business purposes. They'd check e-mail and browse the Web, often while driving, weaving in and out of traffic, and scaring the rest of us.
But the iPhone helped introduce the general consumer to smartphones. Its sleek design and intuitive interface appealed to a wide audience. It didn't hurt that Apple partnered with AT&T, the second-largest cell phone carrier in the United States, for distribution. Soon lots of people were exploring advanced phone features while attempting to navigate through city traffic. Isn't progress wonderful?
In many ways, the iPhone was a game-changing device. It proved that customers in the United States were ready to join the smartphone customer base. Meanwhile, users in Europe and Asia quietly chuckled while they used their own phones to watch television or control their bank accounts.
Today, it seems like it's only a matter of time before the newest smartphone to hit the market is branded as a potential iPhone-killer. The iPhone continues to sell well with each new generation of hardware, but other big names are getting into the game and we may yet see some serious competition rise in the consumer market.
With that in mind, it's time to gaze into the technological crystal ball and take a look at what the future of cell phones will be. Rather than focus on prototypes or unreleased handsets, our list, in no particular order, covers a few phones that manufacturers may one day put in the hands of consumers -- but hopefully not while they're driving.