The Coming Smartphone Revolution
Investing today for the trend of tomorrow … foldable phone technology will pave the way for next-gen wearable technology … how to invest now
In the pantheon of “business/investing cliches,” high on the list would be the phrase immortalized by the hockey legend, Wayne Gretzky:
I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.
The quote has been reused, recycled, and mangled by countless managers for years.
In fact, right now, you might be shellshocked, having a flashback to some ungodly PowerPoint presentation that began with the phrase.
But if we can bring ourselves to forgive its overuse and focus on the message itself as it applies to investing, there’s value here.
Being successful in the markets reduces to “correctly anticipating what’s coming,” then positioning your portfolio accordingly.
To illustrate the power of this foresight, consider the investor who anticipated the trend of data storage in the 90s, and invested in data-storage company, EMC.
From its closing stock price on the last trading day of 1989 through the end of 2000, a $5,000 investment in EMC would have ended up being worth roughly $3.5 million.
Now, as we stand today, what if we had reason to believe that a coming, massive consumer trend was going to reshape how we live? … how we get through our day? … how we engage with information and the world at large? …
Might it be wise to put some money to work in anticipation of this trend?
Might it be wise to– dare I write it — skate to where the puck is going?
Today, let’s look at the next-gen tech product that’s right around the corner. But while it alone has a great “cool” factor to it, the reality is it’s just an early step within a far broader trend that will snowball this decade …
I’m talking about foldable phones and how they will help usher in the coming era of pliable, versatile next-gen wearable technology.
Let’s jump in.
***The cutting-edge update coming to your smartphone
To help us better understand what’s coming soon to your phone, we’re going to turn to Matt McCall, editor of Investment Opportunities. Matt is our resident thematic and tech expert.
From Matt’s most recent issue of Investment Opportunities:
We are now at the beginning of the next big thing in smartphones that will impact communication through the rest of this decade. But it’s not what most people would expect.
The future of mobile technology and communication is … foldable smartphones.
I’m not talking foldable like the old flip phones that opened and closed on a hinge — with a screen on one side and buttons on another. I’m talking about an honest to goodness smartphone that can fold into pretty much whatever device you need.
If you’re trouble envisioning this, here’s a photo of the technology.
The real benefit of foldable is how it enables one singular product to do the work of many different, related products.
The idea that we may need only one device in the future is absolutely fascinating. No separate smartphone … watch … iPad … laptop … or possibly even television! It will all be one foldable device that you can wear on your wrist, place on a table or desk, or hang on a wall.
To better understand the possibilities here, watch this short video from Matt (it’s less than two minutes).
***The growth potential is drawing investment from all the major players
The dollar figure attached to foldable technology is massive.
To describe, here’s Matt from his update last week:
Today, only about one half of one percent (0.05%) of the world’s population uses foldable phones. But ultimately, 3.2 billion smartphones will be replaced by foldables. I predict the industry will grow 5,500% in a few years to reach $13.8 billion!
The buzz surrounding foldable phones reminds me of what new smartphone releases used to be like … when avid consumers couldn’t wait to see what the latest upgrade would be about. That eager impatience has waned in recent years, as most new releases have been improvements rather than breakthroughs.
But the next big breakthrough is finally here …
It appears the biggest players in tech agree with Matt’s assessment. At least they’re voting that way with their checkbooks.
In a recent update, Matt explained how the biggest technology companies in the world are investing large sums into foldable devices. Alphabet has invested at least $1 billion. LG more than $8.5 billion. And Chinese company Huawei has invested over $15 billion.
Apple is in on it too, though we don’t know the exact dollar figure. But Matt’s guess is that the tech giant will join the foldable party next year with a characteristically huge launch announcement.
***Keep in mind, while foldable phones themselves are cool … they’re also just a stepping stone
While we’re focusing on where the “puck” is going to be, we should also look at where the puck is headed after foldable phones become commonplace.
What foldable is doing is blurring the lines between our various tech products. Case in point, a phone that can be unfolded to become a tablet, for all practical purposes.
Now, why wouldn’t “foldable” also impact other related devices?
Smart watches have exploded in popularity in recent years …
But they haven’t really shed their status of accessories — smartphone screen sizes have been growing bigger and bigger as they became the primary messaging, browsing and media consumption device for many.
By necessity, smartwatches have smaller screens, so while advancements like speech-to-text make communication fairly easy, they are still not great at scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix.
Maybe foldable displays will change that, enabling some sort of smart-watch-phone-bracelet type devices.
Could a foldable screen enable a smart-watch user to literally unfold its screen, therein becoming far more readable and convenient? Sure.
But the possibilities don’t stop there.
You may have read about LG’s roll-up OLED TV.
It’s a cutting-edge television with a flawless picture that can be literally rolled up.
The OLED screen is fixed to numerous thin horizontal bars that support its structure when unfurled. It shows no wrinkles or signs of stress from rolling it up.
It won’t stop at phones and TVs. Consider how “flexible” and “pliable” will interact with biotech …
Smart shirts with sensors that monitor your physiology (heart rate, body temperature, and blood oxygen levels, and more), broadcasting it straight to your doctor … or even using this data for the sole purpose of reading your mood and changing your shirt-color to reflect it to your friends.
This tech also will have offer a social component …
Microchips in nail polish that connect to smart contact lenses, tracking your finger movements, enabling real-time holographic interactions with friends …
It can even turn us into computers …
Google is working on a temporary tattoo that, when applied to your skin, transforms your body into a living touchpad.
It’s through a project called SkinMarks. It uses a rub-on tattoo, loaded with sensors, to catch the touch or swipe gestures that you’d traditionally use on your phone.
Regardless of the specific manifestation of this technology, what’s coming is an advanced age of pliable and versatile wearables. And tomorrow’s foldable phones are a step in that direction.
***Now, how might you play foldable phones and the coming era of advanced wearables?
Well, think about what’s really happening with foldable phones, advanced smart watches, and all the other foldable, pliable, next-gen products …
They’re all basically super-smart computers with the added twist of flexibility.
Now, the specific manifestation of these super-smart computers will be somewhat altered to fit the specific end-product. But in many ways, they’ll share very similar “guts.”
So, while we could look to invest in the consumer companies behind one these coming products (like Apple, or LG), might our investment have longer legs if we focus on the guts of these devices? The components that will be needed in various forms despite the specific end-device?
Think batteries … the System on a Chip (SoC) … the memory/storage … modems … cameras … sensors … microphones … speakers … the operating system …
This is Matt’s suggestion on how to play foldable phones and beyond. In a recent update, he noted how ” …we want to focus on the ‘guts’ of these next-generation phones.”
To get more details on Matt’s specific picks, click here.
As we wrap up, a massive consumer trend is about to begin. Though foldable phones are what’s next, foldable is actually just the stepping stone to far bigger breakthroughs beyond.
Returning to our painfully-overused analogy at the top of this Digest (sorry), if we want to skate to where the puck will be, that means we should look at the components within foldable phones, and then the components of next-gen wearables.
Here’s Matt with the final word:
Foldable phones are the future … Getting in early is one of the best ways to generate true wealth.
Have a good evening,