Most of the computing on your smartphone or tablet isn't done on the device itself -- it's done in giant "cloud" servers located at a data center in a remote location. Though cloud capabilities are impressive (the new Samsung Galaxy S4 can instantly translate text into any language) they haven't become really smart yet.
A future generation of phones could be "aware" devices, something data-intensive companies like Google and IBM are hoping to achieve. Your smartphone is already with you all the time and contains a host of personal information, So imagine this scenario. Your phone notifies you as you're heading to the airport that your flight is canceled. It then books you on a plane that leaves an hour later, orders you a coffee at the Starbucks in your new terminal and sends an e-mail telling attendees of your first meeting that you'll be late.
Of course, there are massive privacy implications. Wireless infrastructure also needs to improve vastly to handle all the data that will need to be collected and transmitted to make this happen. But thanks to the cloud, our "smart" devices of today may look extremely dumb a few years from now.
Smartphone purchasing is a hot technology, but there are many impediments to its success.