Offloading such functionality may mean that smart products have a longer shelf life, as they effectively get an upgrade every time their users purchases a new handset. The frenetic pace of innovation in phones currently outpaces that in other products, notes Tadayuki Shinozaki, an analyst at Japan's MM Research Institute.
"Phone specifications will continue to get better, particularly in areas like the main processor," he said.
Smart products will also continue to "check in" after they have been sold, providing manufacturers with a flood of new data about their products and users. In its booth at Ceatec, Omron Healthcare is showing a new line of gadgets for users to check their vital signs, including thermometers, scales and sleep monitors, which sync with phones and upload their health data to Omron's "WellnessLink" service.
As smart features become more common, conflicts are likely to arise between the various business that get pulled into the mix -- electronics manufacturers like Omron, smartphone developers like Samsung Electronics, map and software providers such as Google, and network operators like NTT DoCoMo in Japan.
Toyota is showing its Internet-savvy "Smart INSECT" concept car at Ceatec that tracks a driver's habits to provide destination and restaurant suggestions, with the Internet portion provided by a phone that sits on the dashboard. The concept means, of course, that other players in the chain could have access to data gathered through the car company's innovations.
For this reason, analysts like Gartner's Raskino feel that the reliance of consumer electronics on smartphones may be a temporary phenomenon.
"The smartphone as the single point of control for everything is pragmatic at the moment," he said. "It is possible that the functionality gets reabsorbed back into the objects several years down the line."