It’s sometimes easy to forget that IBM (International Business Machines Corp.) once ruled the computer landscape. If you look back at the 1984 commercial from Apple, the face on the screen was all blue, and IBM’s nickname at the time was “Big Blue”, so there is some evidence of its former computer prowess before upstarts like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates set the computing world on its ear. Over the years the company has continued to be a powerhouse, just not as much at the forefront as it once was.

One place the company has excelled is in continuing to pour more money into research than any other company. In 2009 the company spent $5.8 billion on research and development, or 6.1 percent of revenue, on research, far out pacing any other company out there. To this end, each year IBM releases a list of the top five technologies it thinks will take off within five years, and this year’s list is … interesting … to say the least.

IBM LogoAccording to Bloombergs, the two big announcements from this year’s list include mobile phones that will create 3D holographic projections of whomever you’re talking to at the time, and batteries that will be charged by kinetic energy.

As for the 3D hologram projections, all I can say is, “I hope not.”  What would a holographic projection of your boss really add to a phone conversation in most cases?  A whole lot of nothing.  Sure it could be useful in some instances when showing a prototype device off, but how often is that really going to happen that it will make it worth cramming another feature into our phones?  Yes, 3D holograms are coming to communications eventually, but lets just get it into boardrooms before we worry about it going mobile.

The kinetic energy batteries are far more intriguing to me.  This is something that can’t happen soon enough in my opinion.  Lets get rid of the cables and get on with our walking around to recharge our phones.  I have a wristwatch that winds itself in this manner, and I love the concept.  Of course, this might lead to you seeing people that appear to be gesturing wildly and all they are really trying to do is charge their phone, but won’t it be worth it?

It’s always nice to dream big, and I think the batteries have a real shot at reality in the timeframe mentioned, but as for holograms on cell phones?  Even if it could happen in that amount of time I think I would have to say “no thanks”.

What say you?  Do you want 3D holograms coming out of your cell phone?