What Will the Smartphone Kill?

(Photo: Office de tourisme)

Today’s smartphone, it is often said, has more computing power than an Apollo rocket.

So it should not be surprising that is it disrupting daily life left and right. Every day or two I seem to notice another common item whose usage is plummeting, perhaps bound for oblivion.

I will likely never buy an alarm clock again since my phone can handle the job better. Are clocks and wristwatches on the way out? Has anyone bought a road atlas lately — or even a dedicated GPS system for your car?

How about a camera (still or video), a piece of “stereo equipment,” a radio?

My daughter, who is 10 and likes to spiff up now and again, doesn’t carry a pocket mirror. Rather, she turns her iPod Touch camera on herself.

What else will smartphones replace, in part or whole? Boyfriends, perhaps?

Am eager to hear your thoughts.

Alistair Cunningham

All of the above except higher-end cameras and stereo equipment. It'll be a long time, perhaps never (due to optical/acoustic limits), before smartphones can match good quality DSLRs or Hifi equipment.


This is a minor one, but I'll never buy another guitar tuner again since my phone does it just fine.


I'll probably never get a landline phone.


I also use mine as a flash drive to take all my files with me all the time. I wouldn't be surprised if it's not long before phones are doing most of our home computing, maybe with the addition of a bluetooth keyboard and monitor, but with all the processing power and storage needed in the phone.

John Moran

In the near future:
- Handheld video game systems
- Credit cards
- Remote controls
- iPods
And much more...

Jacob Silber

How about the dashboard of your car? We think so!


It certainly has the capability to replace the dashboard to your car, but I kinda doubt it will. There will be too much liability for Ford/GM/Toyota for the app to go forward. Imagine if the app failed while driving then an accident occurred. Both the phone and the car will be liable.


The actual phone. For all of the cool gadgets, apps and features the smart phone has. It still has no better service for the actual PHONE (calling people). There is really no difference between the smart phone and a 60$ throwaway phone in the terms of recieving/making calls. Until their phone service improves, magicjack, skype and throwaway phones are still good substitutes for the PHONE part of the smartphone.

David Castells

They will replace dictionaries, specially the "survival guide" type.

Agendas, Notebooks.

And, of course, CreditCards.


I'm not certain about stereo equipment. I love my earbuds when I'm out, but nothing has yet replaced the sound of an analog music source played through a tube amplifier through well-designed standing speakers.

Eric M. Jones.

I recently read that HANDWRITING, except for signatures, dates and a few forms to fill out, has almost vanished. The time since anybody actually wrote something with a pen or pencil increases continuously.

Also, Windows 7 or 8 might be the final Windows operating systems for desktops. Windows 8 has just been introduced but upgrading from Win 7 makes little sense. The problem is that desktop computers are disappearing. Pads, phones and various portable devices are taking over.


Scientific calculators. Gameboys.


>Boyfriends, perhaps?

The Japanese seem to be hard at work replacing girlfriends already; with an iPhone app to supplement the Love Plus+ console dating sim, allowing your virtual date to appear in the photos you take.


well, i love the map feature of the phone, but alarm clock always has me worried the phone will somehow have its battery drained during the night or maybe i forgot to turn on the volume correctly. somehow i never worried about those things with a regular alarm clock. i wouldn't go out and buy one, but if i got one as a gift, i would stop using my phone as alarm clock.

James Doker

Anything in a wallet (credit cards, membership cards, ID's, etc). Probably keys as well.

Eventually desktops and laptops (and tablets and TVs) will just be docking stations for your smartphone. All your files and programs and stuff will just be carried around with you, and you'll simply plug into whatever dock you want to use.


- Pocket Calculator
- Scanner
- Notepad
- eBook reader (I have a good sight!)

and maybe more.


Alarm clock seems like a bad choice.

Phones reboot and lose power, and have to have their settings changed (either manually or scheduled) so that they're not beeping and vibrating while they're near your bed at night. Also, I have an alarm clock that has worked PERFECTLY for 25 years. 25!!!

Also. . .smart phones have already so completely replaced date books that no one even thought to mention them in the first 10 comments I read.

Lew Archer

Carrying around reward cards, and by extension, wallets. I use Key Ring, which has replaced 16 reward cards, which left me with a credit card, a debit card, my work pass, two pieces of ID, and my transit pass (and generally no cash). My phone and a money clip suit my needs.


I no longer need a separate box for doing any kind of video sharing since my phone shares direct to my DLNA equipped television.

My wallet is not far behind since I can use NFC in quite a few places around here - McDonalds, CVS, Walgreens, Hess, Dunkin' Donuts, 7-Eleven, and my local deli and gas station. There's also several apps for Starbucks cards.

There's also a lot of things I no longer need a laptop for since my phone also shares USB devices well. So, I can, for instance directly connect my large 2TB MyBook USB drive or even just my thumbdrives using USB On the Go. No need to use Dropbox or any other go-between. Simply connect the drive direct to my phone. That same USB On the Go means that I no longer need any of those Gameboy type devices.

Joel Turner

"Smartphones" are replacing just that - smartness. One of the more troubling recent findings in research is that younger kids no longer use their memory to store information but they just store algorithms to remember how to access that information on the Internet. As a professor, I find myself constantly battling the lack of authentic aptitude, replaced by a quick Wiki response. If we aren't using the memory areas of our brain as much anymore, then what is going to become of them?