Over the next four years, smartphones will become so intelligent that they will be able to predict their owners' next move, their next purchase or even interpret their actions, according to a new Gartner report, which says that smartphones will be able to perform such tasks using what has been described as “the next step in personal cloud computing.”

“Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement on Tuesday at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, which is taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from Nov. 10-14. “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user’s location and personal data.”

According to Milanesi, the transition from mobile phones to smartphones is attributed to two main factors -- technology and apps. While the former is responsible for features such as cameras, location-based intelligence and sensors, the latter has connected such features to an array of sophisticated functions that have improved users’ daily lives.

Initially, smartphones are expected to perform basic tasks, such as booking a car for its yearly service, creating a weekly to-do list, sending birthday greetings or responding to everyday emails. However, as consumers become more confident about their smartphone's ability to perform certain menial tasks, they are expected to begin allowing more apps and services to take control of other, more crucial, aspects of their lives, which according to analysts, “will be the era of cognizant computing.”

However, it maybe a while before smartphones will be ready to take over the planet from humans.

Milanesi said that smartphones will be smarter than what they are now not because of inherent intelligence, but because the data stored in the cloud will provide them with the computational ability to make sense of the information they have. Smartphones will have the potential to become consumers’ “secret digital agent,” but only if users are willing to provide them with the data.

According to Gartner, regulatory and privacy issues, and the level of comfort users will have in sharing their personal information, will differ considerably based on age groups and geographies. Here’s a figure, showing the four stages of cognizant computing:

According to Gartner, cognizant computing will have significant impact on hardware vendors, and other services and business models, and over the next two to five years, it will become one of the strongest market forces affecting the entire technological ecosystem.

“Over the next five years, the data that is available about us, our likes and dislikes, our environment and relationships will be used by our devices to grow their relevance and ultimately improve our life,” Milanesi said.