Now the excitement of the Mobile World Congress has worn away; some consumers have been left a little deflated by this year's new smartphone releases. Before the event, rumours ran high about the exciting new tech that could be on its way. But rather than a mind-blowing foray into the future of gadgetry, the devices on offer seemed to be simply 'better' versions of their old models, often exhibiting faster processors and more megapixels, rather than holograms and transparent handsets.

At Plotto, we like to keep an eye on what's over the horizon for general consumer gadgets that may affect marketing research trends. So we've delved into the world of concept phones to bring you exciting new features anticipated for the future that would give market research an even sharper edge.

While concept smartphones may be little more than creative wish lists, at Plotto we still think they're worth getting excited about. So here are our top four smartphone concepts and how they could affect mobile video research.

1) Flexible screens

Screens that fold out into bigger screens; screens that stretch and retract; screens that you can wrap around your wrist. While some of the concepts out there are a little farfetched, the idea of flexible screens centres around a display that's so thin it flexes like paper. It will fold out to reveal a bigger screen when you need and then will fold away again just as easily. Companies are slowly edging closer to fully flexible smartphone screens, possibly implementing the same technology that brought us curved OLED TV screens. Materials engineers have been working on the technology behind flexible screens since 1974 when Xerox put forward their flexible 'e-paper' display screens. So, the technology is on its way, the engineers just need to iron out the creases, so to speak.

What does this mean for mobile video research?

Today, increasingly more consumers prefer to have a large screen on their smartphone. And thanks to faster processors, more memory and further reaching web access, the consumption of mobile video seems to be increasing at a similar rate. But despite wanting bigger screens, consumers still want their devices to be mobile and pocket-sized. The ability to enlarge screen sizes without expanding the size of the device would mean even more mobile video consumption and increased exposure for video surveys, allowing more detail and a larger canvas to work with.

2) Holographic screens 

While no official announcements have been made, Samsung has in fact already published a patent showcasing technology that would allow a device to display holograms. In an age when consumers are hungry for increasingly futuristic tech, holograms would be a clear step forward for smartphones. There are several applications for holographic technology in smartphones and mobile devices. Entertainment is the first logical implication, enhancing the viewer experience with 3D visuals. Another implication is for icons, buttons, keyboards and other practical software, allowing the user to interact by waving through the light stream, allowing the flickering of the camera to register choice.

What does this mean for mobile video research?

It would add yet another string to your research bow. If you're asking your respondents to choose between two products, you could project both and ask them to physically choose, by grabbing the corresponding hologram. Any interaction that connects consumers with your brand is a bonus. 3D viewing will add invaluable dimensions to your video, giving instant dynamism and encouraging engagement. And let's face it, holograms will always be cool.

3) Projectors

Built-in projectors seem to be a popular feature of concept smartphones and would be an extremely desirable step towards totally mobile entertainment. With increasingly more people consuming video, TV and movies on their smartphones, the ability to share footage in a social setting will be an enticing component. It is unclear exactly how the tech would be built-in, but no matter how far away the tech may be, it's safe to say that truly mobile video sharing is on the cards.

What does this mean for mobile video research?

When multiple respondents can watch your market research questionnaire together, by projecting the footage onto a nearby wall, there are increasingly more opportunities for group reactions to your questions. Unlike focus groups, these can happen anytime, anyplace and doesn't require a researcher to be present. Rather than inspiring a monologue, inspire a dialogue to promote discussion and enhance your results.

4) Rotating cameras

A rotating camera lens is another popular feature across concept smartphones. It would mean users could switch effortlessly from front-facing to outward-facing shots. Smartphone photography is usurping low-key, casual picture-taking and fewer consumers these days feel the need to buy digital cameras to support the technology already built into their phones. A rotating camera will excite the budding smartphone photographers out there and may even turn the most avid selfie-takers into outward looking artists.

What does this mean for mobile video research?

While most smartphones and tablets already record video from either a front-facing or outward-facing camera, the rotating lens function would mean effortless switching between the two viewpoints. Quickly switching and capturing content across the whole arc of the rotation means more depth to both survey questions and responses alike. Adding more details of location and environment would enhance the experience of viewing and answering video survey questions no-end; responses textured in this way will give deeper customer insight.