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10 things killed by the smartphone

MP3 players and camcorders are all dying because of smartphones

It's a lean, mean killing machine, and - in variations like Apple's iPhone - it can't be stopped. The dead include MP3 players and personal video players. What else is likely to expire thanks to the smartphone?

Voice recorders

"Note to self: buy jacket with extra pockets to hold voice recorder, PDA, mobile phone..." That's a voice memo from my digital recorder, circa 2001. Okay, not really - but my point is that stand-alone voice recorders were yet another digital device to carry around. No wonder they've gone the way of the PDA (see below). Dirt-cheap recorders persist, but a smartphone with an app like the free RecForge Free (for Android) or Voice Record (for iPhone) is the sensible choice for any pocket-challenged gadget lover.

Portable GPS navigation devices

Portable navigation hardware from major GPS players such as Garmin and TomTom have grown more powerful and more affordable, but GPS-enabled smartphones deliver similar functionality. Interestingly, GPS vendors may be contributing to the demise of their portable devices by offering apps that provides turn-by-turn directions for smartphone users. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

It manages your contacts! It has a to-do list! It tracks expenses! Yes, the PDA was a handy contrivance back in the day when desktop PC and CRT monitor seemed welded to every workstation. But as mobile phones began to acquire PDA capabilities in 2001, it became obvious that the phoneless digital assistant's days were numbered. Today, the term 'PDA' sounds as anachronistic as 'Pocket PC'. Then again, today's smartphones are pocket PCs, aren't they?


Ever see a twenty-something rocking a wristwatch as a necessity, rather than as a fashion accessory? Probably not. The smartphone has become the 21st-century pocket watch, while the wristwatch has become, well, your father's timepiece. This may change, however, if tech-savvy watchmakers succeed in rekindling consumer interest in the arm-ready timekeeper. In fact, the wristwatch's resurgence may already be underway, at least in some geek circles. Sony introduced an Android-based wristwatch last year, and some clever techies have managed to turn the multitouch iPod nano into a watch.

Paper maps

When's the last time you bought a paper map? Do you still use them? A smartphone devotee may unfold a map every now and then, but only as a navigational tool of last resort. Mobile map apps from Google, MapQuest and Bing provide directions, satellite images and search tools that paper can't match. But it's wise to keep a paper map on hand as a backup, especially if you're driving in an area where wireless signals are weak. And GPS mapping tools have been known to give bad directions every once in a while.

Directory enquiries

A recent New York Times article lamented the lost art of the phone call, but what about the directory enquiries call? A savvy smartphone user is more likely to access free online tools than to make a traditional directory enquiries call.

  1. The devices that are dying because of smartphones
  2. Voice recorders
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