Five things your phone has replaced

Imagine the load you’d bear if you had to carry around all that your smartphone has replaced? It’s a compact little gadget that has all but made redundant some of the most commonplace items of our youth.

Now, this is by no means a gripe, but I do miss some of the things my smartphone has replaced. Not so much the ‘having to use those things’, but more the feeling of childhood or younger days that come with them. Call me sentimental.

Anyway, here are five of the main things your smartphone has replaced, followed by a list of other items and services that are, or soon will be, superseded by smartphones.

Camera / video camera
Well, this one is the most obvious really. As much as I’m loath to admit it, the cameras that come standard in most modern smartphones are every bit as good as, sometimes better than, their purpose-built counterparts. You need only look at the recent ‘shot on iPhone 6’ campaign for proof of that claim. Still, there’s a lot to be said for holding an SLR type camera, or even a smaller digital camera. I do enjoy shooting in film every now and then, though, just to remind myself of what it’s like to be a real photographer.

Oh, and I guarantee you that someday soon there will be an entire feature film shot on an iPhone – that’s if it hasn’t happened already.

Remember the days when you would hide your diary under your mattress so no one would discover your deepest, darkest secrets? Do you remember the last time you even had a diary?

Yep, the smartphone, with its calendars, contact lists and email, and apps that tell you where you’ve been and what you’ve done each day; and Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram documenting each meal you eat and every beer you drink, and the places you’ve liked and hated and recommend to friends. You can see why the humble diary has become obsolete.

I still journal, however, as there’s nothing that will ever replace the feeling of pen on paper. It’s just that beautiful tangibility and the flow from thought to the page. The diary may be a thing of the past for many, but it will never truly die.

I recently pulled into my driveway to find a small yellow brick-sized book near my front gate. I actually had to pause and wonder what it was: the Yellow Pages. Yep, they are still around, albeit in lower numbers and in a much smaller format. But I recall the days when, if I needed the number for the fish and chip shop, the Yellow Pages was the go-to guide for locating and contacting businesses. There was even a time when I resisted using online directories, because I was still quicker at finding a business in ‘old yella’ than I was at finding them online. Mind you, modems back then took three and a half hours to even get online. My, we are spoilt now, aren’t we? And we complain about no NBN. Shame …

Anyway, the same goes with Melways, Sydways and Gregory’s road map directories. Who needs ‘em? We’ve got a fancy GPS right on our smartphone! Oh, is it worth noting that even GPS devices are pretty much obsolete nowadays? I hope you didn’t pay too much for yours.

Photo albums
Many of you may have experienced the discomfort of walking into a room to find your mother showing off baby photos to a boyfriend or girlfriend. But those once most precious of family heirlooms – the family photo album – are all but fossils these days, having been replaced by phones and digital cameras.

There is an ongoing concern of historians that huge chunks of social history will be lost to hard drive crashes and erasure, as they are now home to most of the world’s photographic documentation of families, locations, special events and historic sites.

There’s a lot to be said for printing, at the very least, your most treasured photos and keeping them in a photo album to prevent this type of thing from happening to your family line.

One positive thing about having all your pics on your phone? You don’t need to scurry about too much to find your family photos should a fire ever hit your home.

Interpersonal communication skills 
Perhaps the most drastic change to society as a result of mobile phones is the lack of people’s interpersonal skills, particularly in regards to generations brought up on computers and smartphones. I’d love to see Generations Y and Z live for a week without their phones. I reckon they’d be shaking, slobbering messes. And what if we were ever hit by an electromagnetic pulse that wiped out all electronics? I’m pretty sure Gen Y and Z wouldn’t be the only ones at a loss.

So many times I’ve sat at a café or bar and watched people spend their entire time on their phones. Sure, they’re sitting together, but if you asked them to clap their hands, they’d have to put their phones down first. Have you been to a gig lately? How much of it did you have to watch through the screen of the person, or persons, in front of you? When was the last time you caught a train? There was a time when everyone would be reading a book or newspaper, or at the very least, looking out the window at the world passing by. But that world has indeed, passed by. Now it’s a trainload of slack-jawed, glazy-eyed automatons staring at a phone screen. Say hi to them or smile at them when you walk by and they panic. I bet if I took a selfie of me smiling and sent it to them as a Facebook post they’d ‘like’ it though …

Here’s a list of 45 other things your smartphone has replaced:

  1. radio / CDs (nothing will ever replace vinyl though!)
  2. portable music player
  3. ebook reader
  4. calculator
  5. voice recorder
  6. GPS
  7. flash light
  8. leveller
  9. scanner
  10. compass
  11. portable gaming device
  12. game console controller
  13. barcode scanner
  14. credit card scanner
  15. USB thumb drive
  16. portable video player
  17. walkie talkie
  18. traditional landline phone
  19. clock/alarm clock
  20. wrist watch
  21. timer
  22. books (although I don’t agree with that. Technically speaking, though, it has …)
  23. dictionary/encyclopaedia
  24. calendar
  25. notepad/sketchpad
  26. newspaper
  27. photo album
  28. contact list/phone book
  29. board games
  30. watching movies
  31. landline internet
  32. checking email
  33. video chatting
  34. thermostat
  35. measuring tapes
  36. guitar tuner
  37. light meter
  38. ATM/debit/credit cards
  39. airline tickets
  40. business cards
  41. remote control
  42. car keys
  43. paper money/coins
  44. cable TV
  45. laptops.


Can you add to the list? Are you appreciative of the fact that your phone can do so much? Do you miss any of the things your phone has replaced?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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