Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Too-Smart Phones

My GPS device died today after four years of dutiful service. It's a clunky old thing that's as big as my hand and weighs at least a couple of pounds. Every time I used it I felt like I was attaching a brick to my windshield. But the poor sucker has taken me places, and even though there have been moments when I was hopelessly lost on the road and one-sided screaming matches ensued ("what do you mean turn right? I just came from that direction! Stop recalculating route and answer me!"), it's been very reliable over the years.

And then it finally fell apart and it was at this point that I discovered my two-month-old smartphone has a much better navigation system. Which got me thinking about how crazily advanced phone technology has gotten over the last decade alone. It's amazing to think that there was a time when camera phones were just starting out and being able to snap a picture and send it to someone was just about the coolest thing you could do with your phone. And then came along other cool new features, and all of a sudden the phone became like the one thing you needed to survive in this technological world.

Here is a list of devices that smartphones have rendered nearly useless over the years:

1) Cameras
2) Voice recorders
3) Navigation devices
4) Handheld games
5) Books
6) MP3 players
7) Clocks/watches
8) Radios
9) Calenders
10) Day Planners
11) Calculators
12) Flashlights
13) Notepads

All of this (and more, with the various apps one can download) in the convenience of a gadget like this:


I don't carry any of these other gadgets in my purse because they're no longer a necessity. Too lazy to do 15+7 off the top of your head? No problem, just find the calculator app. Trying to fit your car keys into the keyhole in the darkness and keep stabbing the car door instead? Use a little digital light from the handy dandy flashlight. Get hit with sudden inspiration for a story you've been working on? Jot it down in the notepad on your phone. Need to take a picture of that weird looking bug you found on your bedroom window? Well, you don't have to worry about rifling through your drawers for your camera anymore.

Over the years, phones have been getting smaller and sleeker, without compromising quality. So what else is in store for us, or for future generations? How many more gadgets will we no longer need? Now that phones are small enough without being too tiny to view, and are light enough without blowing away in the wind, how can companies reinvent and innovate them?

And most importantly, how far away are we from the future when we will all have devices implanted in us that will allow us to access a virtual world? Perhaps then smartphones will also become obsolete, just as they have replaced so many other gadgets before.


  1. Teleporters! I'm still waiting for teleporters. If my phone could only "beam me up" or around the world in a blip THAT would be amazing. :)

    1. That would be one heck of an app. Here's hoping we live long enough to see it. :D