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11 Things Smartphones Made Obsolete

Updated on August 10, 2019
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I write about many subjects typically surrounding my kids, including fundraising, gifts for children, vacations, and Boy Scouts.

In 1994, IBM released the first smartphone, the IBM Simon. Fifteen years later in 2009, Apple began selling the iPhone. As the smartphone became more and more mainstream, it began replacing technologies that had just been created and disrupting industries that had been around for a hundred years. Let's review.

11. Contact Organizers and PDAs

Contact organizers have come in many different types over the years. They started as little black books where people would write down addresses and phone numbers. Became business and personal organizers to track calendars and to do lists. And eventually went electronic with PDAs (personal digital assistants) like the Newton. Now, you just track contacts, addresses, and calendars on your smart device and share that information with your computer.

10. Deck of Cards

Here's a card game you never see anyone playing anymore, Solitaire. And why is that, because you can play it on your phone without shuffling or carrying around a deck of cards. For that matter, various forms of poker, like Texas Hold 'em has gone the way of the app. No need to get a group a friends together for a poker game when you can do it on your phone anytime you want.

9. Beepers

Remember these things, you would carry a beeper so someone could get a hold of you be sending you their phone number, and then you would need to find a phone and call them back. No more, you just text or message the person you would to converse with and you are immediately connected, no more wondering if they received the message. Of course, if the smartphone is off then you are still wondering, but at least you know they'll get the message once the phone is turned back on.

8. Flashlights

Remember when the lights went out and you used a flashlight to find things. Or when you were camping and were walking through the woods at night. Or that noise you heard downstairs. You didn't use a flashlight or a headlamp, you used your phone by either using the flashlight app, or just turning it on and using the glow from the screen.

7. Watches and Clocks

Remember the good old days when everyone wore a wristwatch or how about a digital watch. Or watches that showed the time in two time zones. Now that you always have your smartphone with you there's no need to wear a wrist watch or pocket watch. And as for two time zones, you now can get the time in place without knowing the number of time zones are between yours and theirs.

Having a clock in almost every room was almost the norm. Now, there are digital clocks on almost everything. Do we really need a digital clock on ovens, microwaves, cable boxes, and even cars? How about clocks in schools, or on digital signs?

6. Music Devices and Media

Which music device would you like to talk about, because with a blue tooth speaker, your smart phone takes the place of boom boxes, Walkman, iPods, Zune, car radios, CD players, home stereo systems, tape players, kitchen radios, garage radios, and anything else that plays music. Car stereo systems no longer come with a CD player or tape player, because you bring you music with you. Don't like the radio station in your town, your smartphone can bring you radio stations from across the world.

How about music media? No more cassette tapes or compact discs in the car or for that matter the home. No more CD racks in the house. All your music is stored online or through a streaming service like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, or Tidal.

5. Alarm Clocks and Wake Up Calls

Need an alarm clock, it's on your smartphone. You no longer need a separate device on your nightstand. And you can program every day at a different time, something your nightstand alarm clock can't do. Want to have five snooze times, your smart phone can do that too. At a hotel and need a wake up call, no need, your smart phone is now your wake up call. And since it automatically adjusts to the time zone you are in, no need trying to figure out what time it currently is.

4. Things in Your Wallet

No need to carry a wallet around anymore, your smart phone can hold everything that you need. Take a picture (yes this is coming) of your Driver's License. Apps connect to your insurance company and keep your latest insurance car at your fingertips. Credit cards can be programmed into your phone and all you have to do is scan a code at stores. I keep all my reward card numbers in an app and use my phone to scan bar codes at stores. If someone hands you their business card, take a picture of it and hand back the card.

Things it hasn't replaced: Cash and Coins, although in a round about way, debit cards replaced these which, can be stored on your phone.

3. The Evening or Local News (TV and Radio)

Here are things on my local news that are also on my phone: Weather, Sports, Top News Stories, Local News Stories, Restaurant Reviews, Traffic, Latest Movies, Movie Reviews, Concert Updates, the latest thing Trump said, the latest thing everyone else said about what Trump said, Recalls, Accidents, Fires, Wars, UFOs. In fact, you don't even have to get your local news anymore, you can get the news from a different state or country. How cool is that?

2. Cameras, Video Recorders, and Film Developing

Remember the day when you had to choose the type of film speed you needed: 100, 200, 400, 800. And how many exposures you had: 12, 24, or 36. And then you had to take all the pictures, bring it to the Kodak or Fuji counter at the local store, wait 3-7 days to pick them up. Or you mail ordered it. And when you got the pictures back, maybe two or three were actually good.

How about film and video cameras. It started with movie cameras that came as a film on a spool and you needed a movie projector and a dark room to view it. Then came video cameras: the big ones with the VHS tapes, and then the mini tapes, and then the discs. And depending every company had their own brand of tapes and discs.

Even digital cameras are becoming obsolete since the cameras in smartphones are taking high definition pictures and movies. And talk about instant gratification, as soon as you take your shot, you can send it to whoever you want or post it to any social media site.

1. Telephones

Let's face it, this is the reason you have a smartphone, so you can make and receive calls from almost anywhere. Although, the land line telephone isn't dead yet, phones with cords are. And dial telephones are only in museums at this point. Are there anymore party lines out there. Anyone remember when you would say a word that represented the first two digits of a phone number, like Hudson 3-2700. Or how about when you only had to dial seven digits instead of the entire ten digit phone number. Or when you had to worry about long distance vs. local calls.

What will be Obsolete by 2030?

I think there are a few things that will be obsolete by 2030.

  • Car Stereos - You'll just have the speakers and maybe not even that.
  • Cable / Internet - Everything will come through your phone so you can get it everywhere.
  • Television - I think will still have the monitors themselves, but they are just becoming a screen, the smartphone will be the guts and be able to project onto the screen.
  • Satellite Dishes and Antennas - The phone will be able to pick up everything.
  • Drive Thru Menu Boards - Everything will be on your phone, no need to order through a speaker. Just place the order and go pick up your food.
  • Light Switches - your house will know what room you are and be able to control the lighting, ceiling fans, water heaters, based on where you are in the house.
  • Locks and Garage Door Openers - Everything will be in your phone and your phone will be able to transmit the codes to open and lock them based on where you are inside or outside the house.
  • Door Bells - Cameras hooked up to your phone will replace these so you can answer your front door from anywhere in the world.
  • Video Game Systems - Your smart phone will be so powerful, you'll just download and play whatever game you want to play.
  • X-Rays and MRIs - Instead of going to get an X-Ray, you'll be able to point your phone at whatever is ailing you and a doctor will be able see and discuss with you in real-time.
  • Car Diagnostics - Your phone will be able to diagnose what is wrong with your car, schedule an appointment, and even drive it to get it fixed.


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