You only need to go back 30 years to find a time when it was unheard of for a person on the street to be able to make calls without a home or car phone. But smartphones are now so prevalent that you would be more surprised to find that someone doesn’t have one. No longer just used for making calls, these devices have evolved massively over the years. Here’s a look at all the technological devices that smartphones have made defunct.
For over 100 years, you needed a gramophone or a vinyl player to listen to music on a large disc. All that changed in the 1960s, with the arrival of the compact cassette and the short-lived eight-track tape. Cassettes were thrown out in the 1990s with the takeover of the CD, but it wasn’t long before MP3 downloads were made popular with the iPod. It morphed into the iPhone, and now we all just play digital music from our phones instead of buying a physical format at all. With streaming services, you don’t even need to make a download. This is a great thing, as this My Voucher Codes infographic points out that between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste is thrown out every year.
Good old pen and paper letters started to disappear as far back as the 1960s. That was when pagers or bleepers first became popular. The devices could display numeric messages or receive voice messages, and the more advanced format is actually still used by medical staff today. However, mainstream pagers were made obsolete when mobile phones developed the capacity for SMS messages. The eventual development of smartphones meant that you didn’t even need to send a text anymore. With hundreds of direct messaging apps to choose from, all you need is a connection to the internet and you can talk for free.
Once, an organiser was a notebook that you would carry around with important information and schedules in it. Then PDAs, or Personal Digital Assistants, were created in the 1990s. These would hold emails, calendars, and other tools for keeping information handy. As smartphones and tablets developed, however, they took on all of the traits of the PDA. Now you can find your calendar, email inbox, address book, and documents all on your phone.
There was a time when cameras were far too expensive and time-consuming to be owned by anyone but the rich or professional. Then we started to develop smaller cameras for personal use. These point and shoot cameras recorded countless holidays and family moments around the world. As the smartphone got smarter, however, you can now take photographs of a large resolution with a number of editing tools built right into the device. You can even purchase add-on lenses for more professional effects. Only professionals now have the need for a separate camera.
Interestingly enough, some examples of obsolete technology – such as polaroid cameras and cassette tapes – have been making a bit of a comeback. But when you have a smartphone that can do everything you need and more, those items will never be more than a fashion statement again.