80 Things a Smartphone Replaces or Can Be Used Instead Of

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80 Things a Smartphone Replaces or Can Be Used Instead Of

Post by rogerwimmer » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:15 am

Doc: I’m old and probably considered a Luddite (against technology) by some, but that’s the way I am. My question relates to Smartphones. I don’t have one, but it’s obvious that they are very popular, not just in the United States, but all around the world. What’s the big deal with them and why are they so popular? Thanks. - Ted

Ted: Don’t worry about being old or a Luddite. If that’s the way you are, then that’s the way it is. So, on to your question . . .

The Smartphone is probably the most significant technological device ever invented and its uses will continue to grow. Instead of simply serving as a telephone or text message device, Smartphones can be used for many things. In reality, a Smartphone is a hand-held computer that also functions as a telephone.

Here is a brief list I put together to give you an idea of what things Smartphones have replaced or how they can be used instead of other things/alternatives.

1. Address book
2. Bank ATM/Bill payments/Most banking services
3. Barcode and QR code reader
4. Books/Textbooks
5. Business cards/Business card holder
6. Calculator
7. Calendar and appointment reminder
8. Camera (Single photo or numerous custom photos)
9. Cash register/Payment terminal (Square, etc.)
10. Catalogs of all types of retail stores
11. CB radio
12. Clock (basic)
13. Clock (alarm and multi-time zone)
14. Clock timer/Countdown clock
15. Compass
16. Computer (Desktop, laptop)
17. Copy machine/Scanner
18. Data storage (Data transfer via Bluetooth, app, cable, or external card reader.)
19. Diary/Journal/Event log
20. Dictionary (Most languages)
21. Document delivery services (Post Office, FedEx, UPS, etc.)
22. Document filing (DropBox, etc.)
23. Emergency notifications (President, news, weather, Amber alert)
24. Encyclopedia
25. E-reader
26. Fax machine
27. Flashlight
28. Game device
29. GPS device
30. Ham radio
31. Home security controller
32. Identification cards/Licenses
33. Internet access/Browser/Google Goggles
34. Internet Hot Spot (Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot)
35. Keys
36. Landline telephones including pay phones
37. Language translator
38. Level (Bubble type measurement)
39. Locator (emergency)
40. Magazines/Periodicals/Journals
41. Magnifying glass
42. Microscope
43. Movie player (Netflix, DVD, Blu-ray, etc.)
44. Movie theater
45. Music player and song identification (Shazam)
46. Newsletters/Periodic publications
47. Newspapers
48. Notepad/Memo pad
49. Paint color matching
50. Paper coupons
51. Paper tickets/Boarding passes (airlines, entertainment events)
52. Personal health monitor (heart rate, etc.)
53. Photo album
54. Photo editor
55. Postage stamps
56. Radio
57. Real-time updates: News, weather, traffic, sports, investments, police/fire scanners, etc.
58. Recipe book/Recipe files/Cookbook
59. Road maps/Atlas
60. Satellite radio
61. Scrapbook
62. Stopwatch
63. Tape measure/Distance measure
64. TV (broadcast)
65. TV (cable/satellite)
66. TV program schedules/guide
67. TV remote controls
68. Two-way radio/Walkie-talkie
69. User’s manuals for most products
70. Video camera (Normal, slow, and fast motion recording)
71. Video conferencing screen
72. Video phone (Tango, Skype, etc.)
73. Video projector, including large screen displays
74. Voice recorder/Audio recording in general
75. Wallet
76. Webcam
77. Wristwatch/Pocket watch
78. Writing implements (pencil, pen, etc.)
79. X-ray reader for physicians
80. Yellow Pages

Those are just some of the ways people use Smartphones. Keep in mind that there are thousands of apps available for Smartphones. Thousands. My list includes only 80 items, and I’m sure many readers could add many items to the list.

Smartphones can hold a lot of information - up to 64GB on the phone and up to an additional 64GB on a micro SD card. However, as mentioned briefly in the list, Smartphones can also access external data storage devices via Bluetooth, cable, app, or card reader. For example, transferring data between a Smartphone and a multi-TB external hard drive is simple.

The other significant technological development is the Smart TV, which is essentially a huge Smartphone. These two devices have so dramatically changed media that in the 10th Edition of our Research Book, Joe Dominick and I added Smartphones and Smart TVs as two additional forms of mass media. However, we put them in a subcategory we call “Smart Mass Media” because the two devices can serve as individual mass media, and they can also access all the other mass media (TV, radio, film, newspapers, etc.) Smartphones and Smart TVs have forever changed the communication abilities of individuals and groups.

There ya go. Does that help?


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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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