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March 21, 2011

5 technologies your smartphone was meant to kill but hasn't

Let’s face it. Smartphones have changed just about everything. This year, 75% of all devices will have GPS changing the way we react with our surroundings. Over 85% of mobiles have some form of browser, changing the way we surf the Internet. And the millions of apps downloaded daily change every element of our lives, from what bars we check out to the clothes we buy. But, there have been plenty of occasions in the past, where smartphone capabilities have been wildly over exaggerated. Here are five things that your smartphone’s brilliance was supposed to kill, but hasn’t…yet.

The World Died Web

Proclaiming the Web dead has become something of a trend. Even the diminutive pop legend Prince got in on the act last year. But it was tech magazine Wired that said smartphones would be the Web’s killer. Or smartphone apps to be precise. These apparently make us far less reliant on the Web. Nearly 11 billion were download in 2010, up from 2.6 billion in 2009. Pretty impressive growth, but the Web’s still here.

The fall of the call

In 2010, Wired seemed have a bit of a death fetish going on. No sooner had they foresaw the end of the Web, they announced the fall of the call. The average number of mobile phone calls people make may have been dropping every year since it hit a high in 2007, thanks to smartphone texts and chat apps, but sit in any train and you’ll still here people chatting, too loudly, on their cell phones.

Dead money

Money has been with us for more than three millennium, so it would take a bold man to predict its demise. It turns out that Tomi Ahonen is just such a fellow. The bestselling author and mobile technology guru dedicated an entire blog series to why the smartphone will kill off cash. It’s true in places like Kenya, where nearly half the population use mobile banking, money is going electronic. The rest of the world, however, seems firmly wedded to the green stuff.


As early as 2006, John Forsyth, Symbian’s ex Head of Market Proposition, said the within 5 years “The personal computer as we know it will soon be dead, replaced by rapidly growing demand for smart mobile devices.” For the first time last year, more people did indeed buy more smartphones than PCs, while at the CES show all the talk was of smartphones and tablets. Not one company showcased a new PC. Add to that the fact that HP, the world’s largest PC company has now introduced a variety of WebOS devices, including a tablet and you can see why it looks as though the PC is doomed. For the moment though, they’re still going strong.

Car sat navs driven to an early grave

A year ago, the Fast Company confidently predicted, that car sat navs were being driven to an early grave by smartphones. Research by Comscore showed that 21.1 million people in the big 5 European countries used their smartphones to navigating from place to place, up 68% from the year previously. That might sound a lot until you learn that the combined populations of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy is nearly 300 million people.

Killing something off sure makes for a good headline. Yet the simple fact is, that for all its amazing powers, our trusty smartphone isn’t yet as lethal to other technologies as some people would have you believe.