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Smartphones are de rigueur by this point. Almost everyone has one, and those who don’t have one are expected to explain why they’ve chosen not to comply. Like our very own Justin Pot, who received press attention merely for being the tech blogger who doesn’t own a smartphone Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] Why This Technology Blogger Does Not Own a Smartphone [Opinion] "Do you have a smartphone yet?" It's a question my friends ask often, and it's a reasonable one to ask. I make my entire living writing about technology, explaining how to use software and interviewing... Read More .

Smartphones are capable of managing such a wide range of tasks that it’s easy to argue they’re rapidly rendering everything else obsolete. Hyperbole? Perhaps. Either way we’re interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject of smartphones How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life How Smartphones Are Ruining Your Life Your smartphone could be ruining your life, or at least have the capacity to do so in the future. Read More and the obsolescence of the products and services to which they’re laying waste.

Smartphones Are The Future Of Everything

We want to know, Have Smartphones Rendered Everything Obsolete? And by everything, we mean everything that can be replicated on an Internet-connected mobile device.

A smartphone will never be able to do your laundry, but it can already be used in countless other ways that once required dedicated devices. And it could be used to control the washing machine that does do your laundry.

It could be argued that smartphones have already killed the need for point and shoot cameras, MP3 players, alarm clocks, GPS systems, and wristwatches, to name just a few. Can you think of any more examples of devices already rendered obsolete by smartphones?

Alternatively, can you think of any other devices or services you think the not-so-humble smartphone will render obsolete in the future. If, indeed, you think that will happen. Because there is an alternative…


Perhaps you think smartphones are overrated 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone 5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone You may feel pressured into buying a smartphone, even though you're perfectly happy with your (so-called) dumbphone. Don't be. Read More and nothing more than a novelty that only have a limited time as the ubiquitous device they have become over the past few years. How long do you give them? And what do you think will replace them at the top of the pecking order of devices to die for?

We’re seeking your views on this subject in order to take the pulse of the MakeUseOf readership. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that smartphones will render everything else obsolete, let us know in the comments section below. There’s a T-shirt in it for the comment we deem the best submitted over the course of the week.

Have Your Say

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before a follow-up post is published containing the We Ask You ResultsOne reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up!

We Ask You is a column dedicated to learning the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

  1. Henry Hoyt
    October 21, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    So much is in err technically and confused with (specious) business case objectives to be useful. First- Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google) do not want to pay anyone map licensing fees. And it has been established these providers do not test/asses their mapping. Which is about their margins- not skill or ability. Updates and accuracy conflict with the ARPU (average revenue per user) objective of these companies. A-GPS (a=assisted) is useful when you are near "enough" to more than one base station tower. Precision is measured in CEP and SEP (circular or spherical error of precision). GPS and GLONASS reception improves both of these with well over 5 satellites in valleys where the sky is narrowed. (I experience 11 average, 7 to 15 range...integration time has to be less than a second at 90 feet per second to be useful). A-GPS, if available, can help (not necessarily does help), too. Last, NavTeq knows the difference between "dedicated" (legal) streets and roads, or conveyances, that are not "dedicated". Apple, MS, and ABC/Google know insufficiently little about cartography. Some States provide only street centerlines (gas sales tax revenue constraint), some provide cadastral maps with rights-of-way rubber sheeted with, or without, centroids. Cell app providers won't disclose limitations they don't understand to begin with. Buy knowledgeably. Not emotionally or by 'reluctant shopping'.

  2. Abhishek R
    July 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Today's smartphones are not just meant for browsing and or chatting they have came a long way from days of windows mobile and BB. And in this race they have replaced MP3's, GPS devices, alarm clocks, stop watch, Watches, calender, To do list, web cam,
    etc. Now they are heading towards video games, companies like sony and htc have already made thier devices playstation certified which has alteast ended the need for casual gamers to buy standalone gaming device. With software and some hardware replacing gaming controllers.

    Lots and lots of software have taken place of dedicated devices for your daily exercise tracking and calorie burnt needs.

    Smartphone cameras have also replaced the need for atleast point and shoot cameras to a great extent and i am very much sure they will also replace entry level dslrs. We have already seen the power of nokia lumia 1020 in this area.

    For many they have replaced E-book devices and laptops(because all they need is e-mail replying and facebooking)

    We have phones from the like of samsung which were capable of acting like a projector and was suffice for sall presentation.

    many will not agree but smartphone has replace TV for me because i watch online programms and cricket on phone while for movies i download them and send them to msd card and enjoy media on the go

    In future i am hoping sartphones will replace some of our medical requirements like measurement of sugar in blood thermometer and some more and then they will truly replace todays standalone devices.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      I think health is going to play a huge part in the future of smartphones and smartwatches. Apple and Google are both getting into that market in a big way.

  3. DH
    July 26, 2014 at 2:35 am

    I'm on my way back to a dumbphone. I just purchased a refurbished, highly-rated, slider phone. I've used a smartphone for the last 3 years and am fed up with it. The new phone is half the size of the smart phone and weighs lots less. It easily fits into my pockets. I bought one for my wife last year, and she loves it. She says she even hears it well in noisy spaces. Seeing anything outside in daylight is impossible witha smartphone. On screen keyboards suck. I can actually type with 10 fingers, and quite well. I don't text. I use it only as a phone, and an occasional, fair, daylight pic. I have a desktop computer from where I do my business, internet stuff, emal, a synced laptop to take on the road, and all I need is a telephone booth in my pocket for necessary calls. I don't schmooze on them. I operate 3 cell phones on less than $150 a year, one business phone, two personal phones, using Speakout Wireless, here in Canada from SevenEleven. It costs me 25¢/min. I'm an old timer who doesn't need more stimulation when I'm walking down the street than my thoughts, in silence, and I know how to have a ocnversation without outside stimulation.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      You're switching back to a dumbphone? That has to be a rarity, but I can certainly see the logic. I'd be interested to know what, if anything, you end up missing about the smartphone.

  4. brentwhopkins
    July 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Smartphones are making the laptop and desktop PC obsolete for most people. Now that the Chromecast can mirror Android screens, expect Android paired with Chromecast and perhaps a bluetooth keyboard to replace the PC. Of course, professional applications will still rely on the PC. But these will increasingly be more niche as the mainstream moves toward truly portable computing enabled by smartphones or perhaps even smaller devices.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      That's true, smartphones have replaced the need for dedicated computers for a lot of things, such as answering emails. Do you think wearable tech like smartwatches is the future or just a fad?

    • brentwhopkins
      July 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Right now smartwatches are kind of silly and superfluous. Battery technology in particular needs to improve substantially too make them really usable. Same for Google Glass, although this and similar projects seem more promising to me. The ability to overlay information on your field of view without having to break concentration is a real advantage of Glass-type devices over everything else. I expect the Glass-type class of devices to emerge as the eventual replacements for most computing needs. But it will take a few years to get there, a lot of work remains to be done. Eventually, if society doesn't collapse I would expect computers to move past devices altogether, becoming omnipresent and interfacing directly with the brain (not as implants, too invasive for most folks to tolerate) by some form of neural scanning and stimulation.

  5. Xoandre
    July 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    While I do not have the fastest, or even the best or latest technology, my smartphone occasionally runs apps well enough to justify the aches and pains of app crashes and lockups.

    But - to answer the question - one thing that we writers and readers of literature, poetry, and real paper books have experienced is the reduction of reading, in order to play app games on our mobile devices.

    I must say that the game designers are doing a good job at making their programs addictive and easier to grab and use than selecting which 500+page book to read.

    I started reading a 750-page book last month, and still have yet to finish chapter two.

    I am also a writer and find myself procrastinating on my own manuscripts so that I can watch "Buzz" videos, play PLAGUE Inc, Road Warrior, or just wander through the endless "interesting" posts on my facebook wall.

    My "smart" phone keeps me busy and connected to all those useless distractions, so that my writing and my reading all suffer.

    Now, before people respond by saying that there are e-books and e-reading technologies like Kindle and others, it is just not the same to try reading a book on a device that has a battery life shorter than the time it takes me to read 2 chapters. And the smell and touch of a paperback book is just so much more psychologically real.

    As far as replacing cameras, I have yet to find a cell phone that takes hi-res, good quality images like my 15mp Pentax Digital Camera.

    That being said, I must say that having my cell phone handy when I have some interesting ideas for my poetry, for my novel, and for my screenplay (all of which I do try to work on at least once a week) --- it allows me to use the SOUND RECORDER app to record my ideas while driving, when I have no access to my desktop PC, so that - eventually - I will get around to writing those ideas down, developing them into concepts that make sense, and perhaps finishing my writing.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      You make a good point, but then should we blame the smartphone for providing distractions or ourselves for succumbing to their lure?

      I still real books but my Kindle has actually increased my reading rate, and the battery lasts well over a month with daily use.

  6. dragonmouth
    July 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I don't know about "everything" but phones have rendered physical interaction between people obsolete. I love seeing a couple walking down the street, having a lively conversation - over their cell phones.

    I can imagine two people engaged in torrid foreplay - texting sweet little nothings back and forth. And to consumate the act, they charge their phones using a Y-cable.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      I must admit I find that sad too. I personally avoid using my smartphone when I'm with my partner or even friends. That tweet or email can wait until they have stopped talking. It's a growing problem though.

  7. Bruce Dale
    July 24, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Looking at the issue from a strictly work-related P.O.V., I use this analogy: If my desktop (or even laptop) computer is my toolbox, then my smartphone is my Swiss Army Knife. It does a lot of things passably, but sometimes you just need a bigger, more robust tool. In addition, I will never EVER give up my DSLR camera. While smartphones may have supplanted point-and-shoots, I find it hard to see a future in which they do everything my big, honkin', but extremely versatile Canon will do.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      That's a great analogy. Are there any other single-use devices you refuse to give up and replace with your smartphone?

  8. Peter F
    July 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Maybe one day, smartphones will be able to truly replace other devices (desktop PC's, laptop, camera, communications - in reverse order) and is probably half way through that list at present, but it worries me having EVERYTHING in one small device.
    All your music, contact details, photos, documents and passwords inside one small piece of plastic is a dangerous scenario. Especially if it becomes your main connection to everything.
    You drop your phone and BANG! You have no access to productivity.
    Your phone is stolen and some evil hacker type gets all you info and uses it to your disadvantage, steals your passwords/bank details etc.... the list goes on.
    The risk of having a phone replacing every other device is interesting but not one this reader would be willing to pursure. :O)

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      That's an extremely good point. There's a certain safety net in having multiple devices, but when everything is contained within one portable device that's ripped away.

      You could argue that online backups coupled with remote locks mean this doesn't have to be too much an issue, but then crims will always find a way around these things.

  9. Tom W
    July 24, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I'm not going to write my usual verbose analysis of the subject. Instead, I'll simply say that smartphones do a lot of things in an average way. If I hire a photographer, I'm going to get worried if they turn up with a smartphone instead of a DSLR. Smartphones have their uses, and they make it much easier to do a lot of things that wasn't possible before, but they haven't replaced any advanced devices in any sector of technology.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      So, you see them as do-it-all devices but don't-do-anything-particularly-well devices. I tend to agree. The question is, do you see that changing in the future? After all, look at the way smartphone cameras have improved over the past few years.

    • Tom W
      July 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      The improvements in smartphone cameras tracks directly to bigger improvements in dedicated cameras. At the pricepoint that most phones reside, and considering the size limitations of phones, dedicated devices will always have the advantage. That is unless we hit a theoretical maximum when it comes to one of the functions, at which point the phones will start catching up, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

  10. bben
    July 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

    While smart phones are good for a lot of things, one thing I have found them to be poor at is .. actually using them as a telephone. I go back to my old Motorola flip phone for phone calls. It just works far better as a phone - The camera on the smart phone is better, the texting is better, the navigation is fairly good. but as a telephone - it sucks. To answer a call, with the smart phone - pull it out, LOOK at the face press the on button, swipe to wake - NOW you can press the answer button and talk. The flip phone - flip it open and Hello. No need to look at the phone, no need to press any buttons or swipe (or punch in a security code) And, a friend of mine had his car broken into - the thieves took nearly everything, ripped his radio out - and left his old flip phone that he kept in the glove box for emergencies laying on the front seat.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      There are two reasons to choose a feature phone over a smartphone. It's incredible that despite the maturing of the smartphone they still don't seem able to handle voice calls as well as their predecessors.

  11. Vishal
    July 24, 2014 at 5:48 am

    One thing that I can think of that may get obsolete is Hard locks and keys. We already have seen similar change in Cars (although it is not due to Smart phones). Now its time to enhance your traditional security system via smartphones.
    Additionally I also see the that remote controls (used for TV/ACs) are on their way to extinctions. Remotes will be replaced by smart app on your phone.
    How about Set top boxes of D2H (Direct to Home) connections?

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      That's a great shout, and not things I've seen discussed previously. Using a smartphone as a remote control seems a no-brainer, when you think about it.

  12. Jacen Hill
    July 24, 2014 at 4:47 am

    One thing a smart phone will not render obsolete is the gaming computer. By the time a smart phone can run Star Citizen, Star Citizen will look to the modern games as NES looks to Wii U.

    I also doubt that smart phones will ever replace workspaces that need 3-4 monitors to hold all the necessary information to do the job.

    • Ron
      July 25, 2014 at 8:33 am

      That's debatable. Just look up the specs for next year's and proceeding nVidia Tegra chipsets.

    • Aibek
      July 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I disagree, the smartphone can and likely to replace consoles and gaming PCs in the coming years as the primary platform for high end games. Recently I tried to mirror my iOS screen to a 50" high end TV and it worked really well. There were some issues with lags which were mostly due to different refresh rates on phone source and TV but these are easy to fix.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      That's a good debate to have, actually. Smartphones are getting more capable by the day, and yet I tend to agree with you that gaming PCs will remain ahead, at least for the foreseeable future. One day though, it will happen.

  13. Hildy J
    July 24, 2014 at 3:08 am

    Smartphones have rendered phones, including the phone capability of smartphones, obsolete. Who uses voice these days (except to ask Google Now a question)?

    If Samsung updated its old Galaxy Player with a big screen, quad core chip, LTE, and Kit-Kat, I suspect most Galaxy phone users would not be very inconvenienced if forced too switch.

    • Dave P
      July 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I use my phone to actually speak to people twice a week, if that. I'm not sure if that's sad or just progress.

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