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Ten Things Mobile Phones Will Make Obsolete 778

An anonymous reader writes " has an article examining ten things mobile phones will make obsolete, including phone booths, wristwatches and handheld games consoles. It's interesting to see how many devices have been absorbed into mobile phone technology, and it raises the question: are we better off having everything in one device? The author poignantly concludes that while it's great to have so much power at our fingertips, it does mean that some of us will rely on mobile phones for even basic mental tasks, which is great until the battery runs out." See also Isaac Asimov's The Feeling of Power.
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Ten Things Mobile Phones Will Make Obsolete

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  • yep... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:04PM (#30189298) Homepage

    ...why have a watch on your wrist when you can fish it out of your pocket.

    At least pocket watches kept the time even if you were out of cell service.

    • Re:yep... (Score:5, Informative)

      by HeavyD14 ( 898751 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:11PM (#30189348) Homepage
      My phone keeps the time just fine when out of reception. Likely better than an old pocket watch. What kind of brick-phone do you have?
      • Re:yep... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HBoar ( 1642149 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:09PM (#30189768)
        Some modern phones still do not keep the time when out of service. A friend of mine has a cheap Samsung phone which is an example of this. It has always baffled me that a phone with a camera, games and a whole lot of other unnecessary rubbish can't even tell you the time when you go behind a mountain....
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lintux ( 125434 )

        I think this is/was a common thing with CDMA (or whatever the non-GSM protocol is called exactly) telephones. They get the time from the network and don't/didn't bother storing it anywhere locally.

        • Re:yep... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:57PM (#30190786) Homepage
          My phone is CDMA and it only stores the time in memory, so if you reset the phone it forgets the time and tries to get it from the network, but as long as it's on, it'll remember (even if you lose service). It's not a bad deal, since my phone can stay on for several days and I'm usually not out of service that long.
      • Re:yep... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Compholio ( 770966 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:43PM (#30190056)

        My phone keeps the time just fine when out of reception. Likely better than an old pocket watch. What kind of brick-phone do you have?

        I know that my phone doesn't keep accurate time even with reception and even though I'm just a few miles away from NIST. At the moment it's only off by 10 seconds, but it's been as bad as 3 minutes. My wristwatch, on the otherhand, is guaranteed to be accurate within a 5 second drift over a full year (and it's not a fancy watch). I wouldn't be surprised if the phone manufacturers know that they can get away with using crappy crystal oscillators and just re-syncing the time regularly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I've seen some Blackberries with this problem. It happens when they lose contact with the network, and revert to a local clock. Settings have to be manually changed back to using the network.

          • Re:yep... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by maxwells_deamon ( 221474 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @01:30AM (#30191198) Homepage

            I think there are basicly two types of phones (some are user configurable) Ones that get time from the network only, and ones that keep there own clock.

            The nice thing about the network phones is the time is always accurate to the second and resets based on time zone when you power it up after a flight or when you cross a border. Every phone like this I have owned eventually looses track when out of range.

            The other type seem to have an internal clock and have to be changed after flights and such.

            My Kindle however, seems to use the network when in range but keeps track itself when out of range.

      • Re:yep... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by theJML ( 911853 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:08AM (#30191380) Homepage

        Actually, the problem that I have is not so much when out of service, it's when too close to the wrong tower...

        I was out of town and in another highly populated area (Knoxville I believe) a while back. The city is right near the boarder of the next time zone and what I found that kept happening is that my cell phone would update it's time according to which tower it connected to, often times the one in the wrong timezone. I had to shut off it's auto syncing and let it drift on it's own during that period.

        I've also found that there are certain towers that just don't sync time, or don't do it well. In these times I'm glad I've got a watch on. I'll also have to agree with the grandparent... I can flick my wrist and check the time in under a second. It takes a good 10 seconds to fish my phone out of my pocket and unlock it, esp if I'm in a car and the pocket isn't at a great angle for phone removal.

    • Re:yep... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:20PM (#30189440)

      It's pretty obtuse to think that wristwatches are going to become obsolete. Hate to break it to you, but no. Wristwatches are far more than just a device to tell time. They're a symbol of status and of self-expression. Don't think so? Wristwatch builders keep pushing the envelope of what is possible with micro-mechanics, and that is what makes them attractive, and special to collectors.

      You think your iPhone is going to get you laid... or any serious street cred? It's within reach of even below-average citizens, so it doesn't get you any status points. No, there's just something about a fine Rolex or Omega Speedmaster on your wrist. A feat of mechanical engineering and precision manufacturing that NO iPhone can *EVER* replace.

      Just try pawning an iPhone and see how much you get.

      • [X] Convenient. You don't have to pull them out of your pocket or purse to see what time it is.
        [X] You can get them dirt cheap (under $10) so if they break, get wet washing the dishes, fall in the toilet - no big deal. Try that with your cell phone.
        [X] One for day and one for evening wear - they are a fashion accessory.
        [X] If they get rained on a bit, big deal. Most are water-resistant.
        [X] It's harder to steal a wristwatch than a cellphone
        [X] It's harder to forget your wristwatch on the roof of your car, at home, or at the office than a cellphone
        [X] I might be convinced to buy a CowboyNeal writstwatch as a joke item, but never a CowboyNeal cellphone.

        • I'd think any true geek out there would appreciate the mechanical complexity of a quality watch (read: not quartz). Granted they are more jewelry like than actual time reference objects, but when you get out of the low end you can appreciate a lot of fine horology!

        • by joelgrimes ( 130046 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:50PM (#30189658) Homepage

          [X] wristwatch battery doesn't go dead every 3 days

        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          You can get dirt cheap under $10 cellphones too...

          But you are right, a wristwatch is more of a fashion accessory.

          Personally i can't stand wearing a wristwatch, or any kind of jewellery, i hate having things like that clinging to my skin - it's a foreign object stuck to my skin that feels like it needs to be removed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Jurily ( 900488 )

          [X] You can get them dirt cheap (under $10) so if they break, get wet washing the dishes, fall in the toilet - no big deal. Try that with your cell phone.

          My Nokia was GBP 10, and I can make phone calls with it. Try that with your wristwatch.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dun Malg ( 230075 )
            My wristwatch worked in the nasty hillbilly backwoods of Paktia, Afghanistan. So did my Garmin GPS V. I love my Google G2, but I'd hate to try to call in close air support using Google Voice, getting my position from Google Maps.

            ...though looking now, they have surprisingly good coverage [] now.... there was basically nothing in 2002.
        • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:14PM (#30189816) Journal

          I haven't used a watch in almost two decades. Simply put, clocks are ubiquitous. In fact there's several in front of me right now - one on the computer, one on the VCR, and one on the television. When I was a student the time was above every classroom door, and at work, it's typically on a nearby wall or on my PC or on the break room TV. There is almost no time when I am not within sight of a clock which is why the watch I bought 20 years ago still looks new.

          From Asimov's story:
          "Divide twenty-seven by thirteen. Take it to six places."

          Five minutes later Shuman said, "Two point oh seven six nine two three."

          Is it sad that I've forgotten how to do long division? Let's see:

          13|27 == 2.0769

          Okay I'm bored with that. In 8th grade we used to do pages of this stuff, and now I've practically forgotten it all. That's sad.

        • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @12:27AM (#30190928) Homepage
          [X] Allowed: I work in a secure facility. I must leave my phone in a locker outside the facility. My watch goes everywhere I do.
          [X] Real water resistant, mine goes scuba diving with me and it ain't an expensive dive watch, it's a $40 Timex.
          [X] Battery life in excess of eight years and counting (it's only rated for seven).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 )

        They're a symbol of status and of self-expression.

        So are phones.

        I was in New York City two weekends ago, and a guy that I was hanging out with was getting ready to go have a big business meeting. He was very concerned about getting a "Droid" in time for the meeting, because that is the phone with all the buzz right now... he could care less about what the phone actually does. We actually suggested that he buy a Rolex instead, and he kind of scoffed at us like we were dinosaurs or something.

        So while I'm sure you are right, and that rich guys will always hav

    • Watches are jewelry as well. The swiss figured that out a long time ago....

    • by radish ( 98371 )

      Agreed, my watch broke a while ago and I decided to try living without it and just using my phone. Drove me up the wall...2 months later gave in and bought a new watch.

      • Re:yep... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jarik C-Bol ( 894741 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:38PM (#30189586)
        i cant stand wearing watches, they make my arm feel all weird. (and they interfere with work gloves, but thats another matter) and since i don't cary my phone at work, (crushed 2 phones in my pockets in 2 months, construction industry is not a phone friendly environment) so i've actually become quite adept at telling the time via shadows, sundial style. (accurate within 10-15 minutes, which is close enough for my needs).
    • by Swizec ( 978239 )
      Personally I carry both a watch and a cell phone at all times and always end up checking the phone for time instead of the watch. When I'm not on the move I usually just check the computer because it's much closer to hand than either the watch or the phone.
    • Re:yep... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:51PM (#30189662)
      I just can't wait to take my cell phone SCUBA diving, or wake boarding, or sky diving, or...
  • Who was it wrote that SF short about the civilisation that suddenly thought of putting humans into their spaceships, they were so much more flexible than computers...
  • Wristwatches seem to be making a comeback in a big way. Watch any TV show and keep an eye out for flashy watches. As a bit of a collector, I'm kind of annoyed that they seem to becoming trendy. On the bright side, the selection of cool watches is definitely improving.
    • I've got an expensive one I wear for Dates and formal occasions.

      It doesn't fit into my normal outfits as far as "trendy" is concerned though.

    • I have a co-worker who always asks me why I wear a (analog) watch. I respond that I can tell the time in a matter of seconds vs. looking for my blackbery and that my bb is often charging, while my watch just keeps on ticking.

      Even my two boys (9 and 7 years old) wear watches.
      • Watches (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swb ( 14022 )

        Either you get the watch, or you don't. I learned to tell time in the second grade and George actually gave me his watch because he didn't know how to tell time and I did (mom and dad made me give it back).

        Had a digital watch as soon as they got cheap in the 70s (those of you born in the mid 60s will remember that well, I'm sure), an LCD watch when those got cheap. Bought a new Timex LCD in 1986 and wore it more or less continuously until 2007 when my wife gave me a Tag Heuer self-winding chronograph.


  • Not wristwatches (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chebucto ( 992517 ) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:11PM (#30189350) Homepage

    I have a flip phone that displays the time in large, bold numbers on the outside of the phone and even syncs time automatically. But I still use my wristwatch whenver I'm wearing it, because a) I don't have to fish it out of my pocket, b) it's always right there, unlike my phone which more often than not is out of arm's reach. Not to mention the fact that a watch battery lasts years, unlike the 1 week max the phone battery lasts.

    More generally, I thought the lesson the original iPod taught us was that specialized devices tend to do a much better job than multi-function devices because they allow the UI and features to be specialized for a specific task. Phone cameras, clocks, and other doo-dads are great, but work best as stand-ins for the real thing. They are what you use when you don't have anything better at hand.

  • No P&S camera (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gruff1002 ( 717818 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:12PM (#30189354)

    I have yet to see a phone that can take anywhere near as good a picture as some of the most basic point and shoot cameras.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thats because phones while having great resolution all have rubbish lenses.
      You simply cant fit a good camera lens into something 10-20mm thick.
      Even those lenses are a sales gimmick.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jd ( 1658 )

        Well, there's that, but also bear in mind that cameras can afford to put a bit more power into the electronics, so that JPEG compression can be of higher quality.

        Doubling the number of pixels on the CCD but more than halving the amount of retrievable data stored will give you a net loss of quality. High-res CCDs are relatively cheap and since the phones don't advertise the resolution of the image as stored, it's a great marketing ploy.

    • Re:No P&S camera (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:52PM (#30190130) Homepage Journal

      It's next to impossible. Phones need to be very small, lightweight and damage-resistant, the electronics need to be exceedingly low-power and the electronics for the camera and the electronics for the radio transceiver can't conflict.

      That last requirement means is you use digital devices that produce analogue signals, the resolution on the ADC has to be so crappy that the RFI from the radio doesn't screw up the picture AND the voltage changes when a call is picked up or an alarm goes off or what have you can't throw the ADC.

      The low-power means no fancy, power-hungry logic, the software zoom and other floating-point logic won't be terribly high precision, and the image compression algorithm will need to be light on the quality.

      The size and damage-resistance impacts what sort of lens you can use, how rigid the structure has to be, how much the user can just seriously screw up the device before the image quality drops. Even for a disposable standalone camera, it's practical to put in some quite acceptable optics.

      Even when such devices are of a size comparable to that OF the phone, you've got to remember that the camera is sans radio (or radios, for phones that have bluetooth and/or wifi and/or AM/FM tuners as well as the standard phone radio), sans keyboard, sans quite a bit of space-hungry stuff that phones either need or have as "features".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by citizenr ( 871508 )
      SE K800i 3Mpix, SE K850i 5Mpix, Sony sensor. Better than N95. Better than most old 2-3Mpix cameras.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:13PM (#30189360)
    1. Being able to hear the other person clearly.
    2. Ability to have a safe drive.
    3. Going ten minutes in public without hearing some inane tune over and over.
    4. Ability to recognize crazy people as those talking loudly when nobody else is nearby.
    5. Ability for state agents to commit crimes without bystanders having photograph evidence.
    • 6. The ability to walk in a straight line.

      I'm SO sick of being bumped into every minute of every day in the city center.
  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:13PM (#30189362) Homepage
    Humans, after we all die from cell phone radiation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )

      I've bred. I could die of cell phone radiation tomorrow, but the species will continue!

      Yes, yes. You're welcome. Just doing my part.

  • One advantage to my wristwatch is that it's conveniently located on my wrist, unlike a cellphone which lives in a pocket or holster.

  • Yup just replaced my Seiko Helmet which my cat broke the crystal on when it pushed it of my bathroom sink with a nice Bulova Marine Star. It don't make phone calls but sure wears fine.
    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?


  • A load of BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:16PM (#30189388) Homepage
    Computers were supposed to get rid of paper and they didn't. Phones won't either.

    Gaming on a phone is awful. Unless that is properly addressed, then the likes of the Nintendo DS won't have to worry and I'm sure Nintendo isn't seeing how many DS units they're selling.

    If I am going to do work during my commute it will be on a laptop or netbook, not a mobile. I suspect a lot of people feel the same way.

    Decent cameras will never go away because a phone will never be able to match the feature set of the camera....even compact ones, imo.

    Watches will always exist, if anything, as a fashion accessory.
    • Re:A load of BS (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yoozer ( 1055188 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:20PM (#30189436) Homepage

      Computers were supposed to get rid of paper and they didn't.

      That's because reading a flickering CRT with the Windows 95 Hot Dog Stand color scheme makes you want to claw your eyes out, and people don't have the sense to keep a document on disk until a final version is made. Also, in meetings, staring at a laptop is rather impolite. E-ink advances and will solve these problems; you only have to wait for the generation that is used to paper to retire.

      • by c_sd_m ( 995261 )
        You've got a while to wait: I'm 26 and still like making notes on what I'm reading during a meeting. I also go to the physical library for paper books, wear a real watch, turn my cell phone totally off overnight, use a real alarm clock to wake up to the radio, and refuse to pay a monthly fee for my mp3 player with apps. Oh, and paper books don't break when you fall asleep reading then drop them.
        • I'm 26 and still like making notes on what I'm reading during a meeting. I also go to the physical library for paper books

          You can't full-text search a library book, nor can you jot notes in it. Electronic books allow for both: the computer can generate an exhaustive index before you're done reading the first page, and the notes can be stored separately from the text, each section of the notes referring to a section of the text.

          I [...] refuse to pay a monthly fee for my mp3 player with apps.

          Your iPod Touch or Archos 5 probably has a lithium battery. Lithium batteries have a finite shelf life, and the replacement every couple years is indistinguishable from a monthly fee. Granted, this fee i

  • Convergence. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:17PM (#30189400)

    It really is amazing how many features they keep cramming into these tiny devices. Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I am hopeful that in the next couple of years somebody will figure out a way to make reliable phone calls with these things.

  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:18PM (#30189406)

    -Not that we can't benefit from free thinkers. We'll just dramatically reduce the number of them available for all the important things our race needs to accomplish. And, I suppose, zombies need free thinkers to manipulate them, (since they're not much good for anything else), so Free Thought is not entirely redundant. But among cell phone users, it's pretty much a dead issue.

    Oh, and if through your muddled thinking, you believe you are taking offense to this, don't worry. That's just the ego programming kicking in. Don't worry about it. You can't do anything about it anyway, except allow it to direct all of your behavior 24/7.

    It's amazingly easy to manipulate the perpetually ignorant and dazed. Good thing I'm not evil. Too bad your masters are.


  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:18PM (#30189408) Journal
    That's just dandy... where is Clark Kent supposed to change now?
    • Well, if you saw Superman Returns, he seems to just rip off his clothes in the middle of the sidewalk. That's the modern world for you.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:18PM (#30189412) Journal

    ...which is probably sooner than I'd prefer, but still a couple of decades away at least.

    Wristwatches - I know people who use their phone. My watch is faster, convenient for me. It's a fashion accessory for many (in addition to their fashion phones)

    Bedside alarm clocks - I can see this, but until shows the time without me having to touch it (and without it lighting the whole room with the back light), wakes me up with NPR, and increased the light in my room to simulate a sunrise, I'll stick with my beside box. (Okay, two's a SunRizr that does the lights)

    MP3 players - I'm sure all the iPhone guys are saying "hell yes." I've got a WM phone, and while it does great things the iPhone can't, it sucks donkey balls as a music player. The average phone is going to have to get a lot better - and a lot bigger storage (which will happen "soon") - to take over as my portable player. I'll still keep my SwimP# for the pool though...I don't think many phones would thrive in a aquatic environment.

    Landline home phones - Okay, just call me an old fart; I'll probably always have one. The uptime is much better than cell.

    Compact digital cameras - they're going to have to get massively better. I'm talking several orders of magnitude. Maybe before I die. Maybe.

    Netbooks - keyboards and screens that don't require massive scrolling or a magnifying glass. 'Nuff said.

    Handheld games consoles - Hmmmm...not much use for one, so... *shrug*

    Paper - sorry, I still print directions and confirmations. This may change. Someday. But I'm awfully attached to dead trees. Probably has to do with my note taking desires, and the aforementioned need for a magnifying glass or scrolling for all but the simplest of things on a phone.

    Thinking - The 'net has already made that obsolete. Now get off my lawn...

    Man, I need to get back to work.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:31PM (#30189536) Homepage Journal

      Man, I need to get back to work.

      Too late. While you were writing your post, a cellphone took your job.

      • Man, I wish. I know you're not supposed to complain about being busy in a down economy, but damn I can't wait until my current push is over and I can get back to my life. I've been waiting for it to end for about 6 months now. I'm lucky to get 2-3 hours in before I sneak off to surf for half an hour and let my brain decompress - I used to be able to hit it hard for 4-5, take a break, and do another 4-5.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      Until cell phones that can survive a 10 story fall onto concrete come around, they can't fully replace a simple notepad.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS ( 592157 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:19PM (#30189420) Homepage

    They also make stones obsolete. I don't long have to throw rocks at a window, I can just throw my phone.

  • Will prices like $50 for 5gb and then $50 per gb phones will not take over that fast also the screen need to be a lot bigger for real gameing, some web stuff, and maps

  • by dancingmad ( 128588 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:26PM (#30189500)

    You keep hearing about the things that phones are going to replace and, at least for me, it's never been true.

    I like having a Nintendo DS. The iPhone has not provided a game with the depth of most AAA DS titles. It's lack of buttons is a serious problem with gaming.

    The camera isn't as good as any half way decent point and shoot. I haven't gotten a chance to play with any GPS software for any smart phone, but I hear there are limitations (including the need for cell service) that stand alone GPSes don't have.

    Even the music functions of an iPhone aren't as good as a regular iPod or (gasp, because I love Apple gear) a Zune.

    And yeah, you can use it as a watch, but any fashionable man knows that a watch is how a guy shows off. It's the only acceptable piece of jewelry for the well dressed man.

    Even today's best smart phones are just communications devices with varying degrees of success. Occasionally a smart phone is "good enough" in a pinch; photographers like to say the best camera is the one you have with you, which certainly applies to smart phones. But if I know I want to play games or take pictures, I take my DS or my camera, or whatever. Phones haven't and won't - because each thing needs its own UI and software guidelines, no device is going to be able to do it all well.

  • by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:27PM (#30189502)

    Early camera phones where painfully bad but strong sales proved that there was a demand for them.

    When I got my phone, I bought it because it was the cheapest phone that had the ability to see who's calling without having to answer. It so happens to have come with a camera which I never use because it sucks. Now, are the camera manufacturers counting my sale as someone who wanted a camera? Probably. There's a few other features built into the phone that i looked at and never used because I have no use for them.

    That's the thing, there's only so many choices and it's impossible to get a phone that has a feature you want without getting a bunch of features that you don't want. And if you find one, it may not be supported by your cell carrier.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:31PM (#30189528) Homepage Journal
    Juggling out the cellphone just doesn't have quite the same flair as pausing and then checking your wrist watch for about 5 seconds when the interviewer tells you that 20 hours of overtime a week is "normal" for the position you're interviewing for.
    • by santax ( 1541065 )
      Not only that, a wristwatch will work without an adapter to plug the damn thing in. In my opinion a decent wristwatch is the most beautiful piece of technology in existence. Even better than lasers :) I don't think those will be replaced anytime soon. At least not by people who actually depend on knowing the time.
  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:34PM (#30189560) Homepage Journal

    same misconceptions:
    I want to a PSP-sized phone to have a decent screen size, and I want to take it off my pocket to check the hour. Of course it should have a full-sized QWERTY keyboard to replace my netbook (not miniaturized like G1) so that I could exercise my writer's hobby on a train, and then they will be so cheap that if I want to give someone a note about some new recipe, I scribble it on my phone and give the phone for them to take (paper replacement).

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:37PM (#30189574)

    Another thing you can do on most modern web enabled phones is look up phrases like Begs the Question and see what a fool you are making of yourself prior to posting on slashdot. []

    Brought to you by the obligatory and gratuitous grammar snarks.

  • They serve two purposes, not one. Frankly, telling time is the least of their purposes. As a man, a wristwatch is probably the single most expensive a wife/girlfriend or even boyfriend can buy for you. It can be large without being sententious, be jewel encrusted or plain, and can hold much more metal and gems then a ring. Also, they are more accessible. It is far easier and less obvious to check than to pull out a phone and flip it/turn it on/enter your password.
  • Neo-luddite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mewsenews ( 251487 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:04PM (#30189742) Homepage

    The author poignantly concludes that while it's great to have so much power at our fingertips it does mean that some of us will rely on mobile phones for even basic mental tasks, which is great until the battery runs out.

    Poignant? People tried to say the same thing about calculators in the 50s. Tools augment human capability, they can be a crutch but we're a little far from walking in the jungle throwing spears, aren't we?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jd ( 1658 )

      I am, and I'll accept that you are, but the vast majority of people have a really suspect intellectual capacity, a very shaky grasp on reality (I hear some people even believe politicians, accountants and/or Scientologists) and an attention-span of a 3 year old. On a good day.

      When you consider that Oprah Winfrey is considered to be the height of intellectualism on US television and Coast-to-Coast AM has more credible stories than many of the popular news outlets, it's clear that the species has some serious

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:30PM (#30189938)

    Please, someone make something that will obsolete slashvertisments disguised as rehashed top ten lists.

  • by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 ) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @09:42PM (#30190054)
    ...and I still own pliers, files, screwdrivers, a corkscrew, etc., etc. The second part of the saying is "Master of None"
  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @01:03AM (#30191078)

    People, people, this debate is very simple and obvious.

    For any given electronic device of a given size and cost, a specialty device will always do a better job than a generalist device. A portable ipod is (slightly) better than an iphone. A portable game player such as a PSP or DS is also better than an iphone. Handheld GPS systems, same story. A watch is a better time keeping device than a cell phone, with more time related features. A compact digital camera with a bigger lens is much better than the camera in a phone. And so on and so forth.

    But the point is, for MOST users 99% of the time, the inferior function on your cell phone, especially a cutting edge phone like the iphone or the Droid DOES THE JOB. You only lose a few seconds pulling your phone out rather than looking at your watch. The pictures taken by the camera on the iphone or droid are more than sharp enough for posting to a resolution limited site like facebook. The iphone has a fairly good GPU, and many small and creative 2d games work great on it, so it's almost as entertaining as the PSP or DS. The GPS may be a little fuzzy, but it's usually close enough to find your way around. And so on.

    So, the inferiority of the phone's functions are nearly always MASSIVELY OUTWEIGHED by the fact that you only carry ONE device rather than a whole batman belt worth of them. Size and weight and convenience means that for 99% of users, it's easier and cheaper just to buy a smartphone and use it exclusively for all of the above functions.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard