Business Today

Mobile phones are not smart enough

Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, talks to Prosenjit Datta on what the future of the mobile phone looks like.
twitter-logo Prosenjit Datta   Delhi     Print Edition: July 30, 2017
Mobile phones are not smart enough
Pete Lau, CEO, OnePlus (Photo: Vivan Mehra)

Q. The evolution of the mobile phone has been consumer centric. In future, will mobile become an office productivity tool?

The probability of the mobile completely replacing current products is not high, though it can in many situations. In future, you will have the office, home and you on the move everything will be seamlessly connected between mobiles and computers.

Q. In electric cars, battery technology is holding up the growth. How much is battery holding up mobile?

The battery has always held up the development of the mobile. If the intensity of the battery can be increased five-to-10 times, the form of the phones and even the battery life in the future will see a complete change.

Q. Which way do you think mobile as a form factor is evolving?

In the future, mobiles will be smarter. Even though mobile phones are called smart phones today, they are not smart enough. Today, to search for a restaurant, we need to download an app. In the future, the concept of apps may blur and fade. The ultimate goal of the smartphone is to do whatever I want without actually downloading those apps. Perhaps, via voice or other mediums.

Q. What factors do you consider when working on the next version of the phone? Like Steve Jobs, do you think you know better, or the consumer does?

OnePlus has a huge community globally which gives feedback and suggestions. I also agree with what Steve Jobs said. A lot of customers say what they want, but that is all on the surface. They don't actually know what they want. When we launched OnePlus3, a lot of customers said they want us to increase the battery and make the phone thicker. But deep inside I know that if I make the phone thicker, people will not like it that much. So, while we know from them that they want a better battery life, we can't make the phones thicker. If we do that, we will be dead soon.

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