A primary application for many smartphone users is photography. Photo quality has improved a lot and most people aren't terribly demanding, but physics limits what a camera can do. Panasonic is exploring what a communication enabled camera can do with the Lumix CM1 - what if a smartphone was more along the line of a high end pocketable camera.
It is unlikely to have a huge market - for most people it is probably a bad idea. But something like this may be just the thing for those who find smartphone photography lacking and recognize the best camera is the one you are carrying.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of California just announced a new suite of software that makes 3D control of objects in a photograph look pretty easy. The tool taps into the many massive online libraries of stock 3D models to provide the specific objects that can be manipulated in a photograph. In a video, researchers show how they find a 3D model of an Ikea chair in their office and plug it into the software, making it possible to flip the chair over and look at it from any angle. The software automagically adjusts the texture and lighting, effectively adding detail to the sides of the object that can't be seen in the original photo, so that everything looks natural.
The idea is good - add optics to your smartphone to turn its camera into a portable digital microscope. In the past several years I've seen several designs of varying quality. I just saw an Apple ad that features one by ProScope - specifically the Micro Mobile. Other models by the company are well designed and built - my dermatologist uses one - so this one is worth consideration if you are in the market. A nice feature is you can purchase $20 adapters so it isn't tied to one device that is likely to be obsolete in a year or two. Check out the videos on the lower right side of the page.
Point and shoot is ok for probably 99% of the population and some fraction of the remaining 1% wants a camera with reasonable camera physics. But the smartphone is omnipresent and the ability to capture something is extremely attractive.