Smartphones: Bad for the economy?

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The amount of knowledge and ability a smartphone offers on the move ranks it as one of the most influential breakthroughs since the internet. But, in a stunted economy, has anyone considered that maybe smartphones are too good, versatile, and convenient? Everyone realizes cell phones have killed the demand for landlines but has anyone stopped to consider the other devices smartphones are devouring? They’re gobbling up media devices like zombies feasting on flesh and, like zombies, they’re multiplying. Here is a rundown of the victims.

MP3 players, radios and voice recorders: A few years ago MP3 players threatened the music industry. Now the players themselves are becoming obsolete. Your days are over Ipod that only plays music!

Cameras and camcorders: Most cell phone cameras aren’t good enough for primary use, but the quality is improving. I now generally leave my bulky camera at home in favor of my phone camera. If I could just figure out how to turn that fake shutter noise off ….

Alarm clocks, watches, calendars, and planners: I wake up using the alarm clock on my phone and only wear a watch for fashion. These timekeepers are now just as unnecessary as paper calendars and day-planners. Why mess with bulky paper when a cell calendar syncs with other devices and can be shared online?

GPS devices, maps, and atlases: It’s all in the phone! Maps have been around for thousands of years while GPS boxes barely lasted a decade. Why buy a GPS for your car when you can dock your phone on the dashboard for the same features? Granted, it did make a cool Father’s Day present in 2008.

Scanners and fax machines: These devices still have a place, but with the appropriate applications, one can scan and fax or email paper documents using a cell phone. Now that I have a smartphone, I’m glad I never got around to buying a fax machine.

Personal gaming devices: A prized possession from my childhood was a used chess computer my dad gave me when he bought a newer model. Now he just uses his Iphone. It makes sense.

E-Readers: I own a Kindle and use it for the free international internet service, but my eBooks are in my phone. Similar to the GPS box, the e-Reader barely had a chance to develop before being chomped on by smartphones and tablets.

Calculators and translators: Electronic devices that do only one thing are now laughable (Ha!). I used to own a drawer of such devices: Language translators, a scientific calculator, a graphing calculator, and a digital organizer. All useless now. Just keep it quiet. I’m still hoping to dump this garbage on Ebay.

ATM machines and wallets: Since I get cash back from store purchases, the only reason I stop by an ATM is to deposit checks. Chase now offers an app that allows you to deposit checks using a cell phone. Taking things a step further, Google recently announced its wallet application that allows a smartphone to replace credit cards. Like the watch, I’ll still carry a wallet for nostalgia, but I may be in the minority.

Cable TV, cable internet, routers, and modems: With most television shows viewable online, I only buy cable service for the internet. Now that cell phones can act as wireless hotspots and channel a signal to my laptop and TV, it’s only a matter of time before I’ll ditch cable altogether.

Flashlights, levels, and vibrators: In addition to being able to use your smartphone as a flashlight and a level, the Apple App Store now offers the personal massager app that controls the vibration function of your phone. Yes, a vibrator. I don’t know anyone who would admit to using it, but an adult novelty store somewhere just lost a sale.

Sure, the smartphone’s size prevents it from replacing some electronics such as the TV or laptop, but they’re working on it. Before long we’ll all be driving smartphones to work, living in smartphones, and eating smartphones for breakfast– and I can’t wait.

Tyler Samien has a BA in English/creative writing from the University of Tennessee. He enjoys writing everything from scathing online reviews of companies that displease him to nostalgic memoirs of childhood experience. His blog, ReluctantChauffeur, is about to get interesting as he travels the United States with his wife and goofy-faced puppy.
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