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It’s The End Of The Smartphone As We Know It

And AT&T feels fine

As mobile aficionados eagerly await the first foldable phones, AT&T’s chairman/CEO has more pressing news: handsets in general will soon join the ash heap of tech.

Appearing this week for an on-stage interview at the distinguished Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Randall Stephenson said the advent of 5G will move all the storage and computing power of mobile phones from the device to the network, rendering the form factor obsolete.

Related: Looking Ahead To A 5G Future

“Some would say they shrink,” the CEO said of handhelds. But according to Axios’s account, Stephenson believes the smartphone is doomed.

“It is conceivable that we’re going to be moving into a world without screens,” he said. “A world where … [eyeglasses are] your screen.”

See: Amazon Developing Alexa-Infused Smart Glasses

To support his point about revolutionary change, the CEO recounted a visit from tech visionary Steve Jobs, back when AT&T was still conceptualizing a 3G mobile Internet and before the first iPhone.

“I didn’t really know what the mobile Internet looked like,” Stephenson said. “And the guy in the black turtleneck shows up. … He didn’t have a product, he had an explanation of a product: ‘Think about a phone that doesn’t have a keypad. It’s just a screen, and it has little icons that you push.’”

“The minute we saw that, it was ‘That’s the mobile Internet. … That’s what we are building the future for.”

Hat tip to Axios.