Smartphones have been around for a long time now. Depending on where you start counting from, you could either say that the era of the smartphone started in 2002 when Nokia started marketing its first phones with a reliable internet connection or in 2007 when Apple released its very first iPhone. In either event, it’s been more than a decade since mobile phones became something we did more than send texts and make calls with.

If you’re under 25, you won’t remember a time before phones run our lives. As far as you’re concerned, you’ve always relied on your phone for social media, internet, banking, travel information, weather reports, and a hundred other things. That hasn’t always been the case. The over 30s among you will remember a time when phones didn’t have touchscreens, charged more than ten cents for sending a short text message, and didn’t have the storage space for a single app. That all seems like a long time ago now, though. Phones have been replacing many things that used to be familiar in our lives for a long time now. Take a trip down memory lane with us as we remind you of all the things that have become obsolete because of smartphone technology!

Digital Cameras

During the mid-to-late 1990s, a digital camera is all that teenagers wanted for Christmas. You could take pictures and upload them onto your computer immediately, and you didn’t have to wait for them to be developed. It was like magic, and the technology seemed far too advanced to be replaced in the foreseeable future. Now, unless you’re a professional photographer, there’s almost no need to own one at all. The quality of the camera on a smartphone is always one of its major selling points, and each manufacturer is constantly trying to outdo its competition by offering more lenses and more megapixels with every new release. The average smartphone camera of today is many times more powerful than a $500 digital camera from the 1990s. That’s made digital cameras obsolete. Global sales of digital cameras declined 80% in the ten years between 2008 and 2018, and they’ll soon be nothing more than a niche product.


We can include both paper maps and standalone GPS devices under this heading. Phones have replaced both of them, and we’re a little sad about it. There was something romantic about planning a trip to a location you weren’t familiar with, failing to follow the map correctly, and ending up hopelessly lost. Situations like that resulted in unexpected adventures and made life less predictable. There’s no chance of that happening now. Paper maps are almost a completely dead medium. Never again will a child sit in the back of a car listening to their parents argue because one of them has failed to use the map properly, and so an important turning has been missed. Your phone is now a satellite tracker and doubles up as a GPS service. It’s not a perfect system, but so long as you have the zip code of where you want to go, you’ll never be lost again.


Going to a casino used to be a coming-of-age experience. After your first legal drink, placing your first legal bet was the next big thrill. Nowadays, that bet is more likely to happen on an online slots website than it is at a city or town center casino. The mobile betting market is skyrocketing at the moment, and specialist online slots websites that cater to mobile users are popping up all the time. Online website such as offer better pricing, better variety, and better convenience than a physical casino ever could, and so that’s the medium that most gamblers are choosing to engage with. Perhaps there’s something to be said for this, though. At least online slots websites don’t come with a free bar that impairs your judgment while you’re spending cash.

Television Remotes

The television remote is almost dead, and nobody will mourn its passing. Smart televisions are becoming more commonplace, and because smart TVs are connected to the internet, they can accept instructions from your WiFi-connected smartphone. Never again will you be unable to change the station because the remote has either wedged itself down the side of the sofa or mysteriously gone missing. The practice of whacking the remote off the edge of a table in the hope of getting a little more out of the batteries is gone forever. You don’t even have to worry about batteries at all, which is probably a real blow to the battery industry. Your phone is now your television remote, and it offers far better functionality than your old handheld remote control ever did. It won’t be long until remotes are no longer packaged with new televisions, and simply disappear completely.

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Handheld Games-Consoles

Whether it was the Sega Genesis, the Super Nintendo, or the modern PlayStation and Xbox, large video game consoles have always been the best way to play games. There was still a lot to be said for their smaller companions, though. Twenty years ago (or perhaps a little more), everybody had a Nintendo Game Boy, and they were the coolest things in the world. Sega got in on the act with the Game Gear, and other manufacturers tried their hand at it, too. The last successful handheld console was the Nintendo DS. Since then, there’s been nothing – and phones are to blame. The quality of the games that can be played on a mobile phone far eclipses anything that we could have imagined when we were squinting at monochrome Game Boy screens. Now that Google Stadia is here, the quality is going to jump up again. Handheld games consoles are a thing of the past, and our children will wonder why and how they ever existed at all.

The list doesn’t end there. There are dozens of once-commonplace objects that have virtually ceased to exist because of phones. When did you last see anybody use a dictaphone, and why would they need to? When did you last login to your online banking account using a computer? You don’t need to, because you have an app for it on your phone. Innovations like Apple Pay (and their equivalents) may one day make debit and credit cards a thing of the past. If you’re one of the people who think phones rule our lives too much already, we have bad news for you – the issue is only going to become worse in the years to come!