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Nokia Lumia 800

After testing the magnificent Nokia 808 PureView, I concluded that it had made my digital compact camera redundant.

Why carry two things around when you have a phone that takes arguably better photos than a standalone camera anyway? 

This got me thinking: what else has the smartphone replaced and what could it replace in the near future?

Pink Lumia 900

With the constant development of new apps and new hardware the potential of the smartphone is limitless. Take NFC for example. It’s a feature that is still relatively new to the market, and whose uses are still being explored.

It won’t happen today, and probably not tomorrow either, but eventually we could find ourselves living with less clutter and a single super device that serves all of our daily needs.

Would this be a good thing? If you a lost a smartphone that you are overly dependent on then it could spell disaster. History shows, though, that you cannot stop the relentless march of technology.

So, here are 10 common household items that have been replaced already by the smartphone or, potentially, could be replaced by them in the future. 

The home phone

Let’s start with the obvious. I haven’t had a landline connected to my house for a few years now, and even then I only needed it for a broadband connection.

Increasingly, everyone was calling me on my mobile phone and if the home phone rang, then I could be sure that it was a marketing call. The installation of cable broadband meant I could say goodbye to my home phone forever. 

Growing up, asking someone if they had a home phone number was tantamount to asking them if they had an indoor toilet. Now, strangely, not having a landline is also a sign of progress.

Stereo player & CDS


This will never be case for music fans that insist vinyl is superior to digital, but my smartphone is now my principle music player. It’s certainly true when I am commuting or travelling, but increasingly so at home also.

Play To is a fantastic way of playing music from your Lumia to any DLNA-enabled device. Plus, who needs a large CD collection when you have Mix Radio?

Photo albums

Remember your embarrassment as your parents showed your friends your childhood photos?

The dawn of digital photography has largely banished the glossy photo albums into the dustbin of history, but that doesn’t mean you are safe just yet; the photo albums stored on a phone have merely replaced them. 

The advantages are legion. You don’t have to worry about taking up lots of shelf space and the number of images you can save and edit is practically limitless. Who needs a magnifying glass when you can pinch the screen and zoom in? 

Remote controls

remote controls

On my coffee table are remote controls for my TV, DVD player and games console. I’m sure that some of you will have even more than three.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could operate all these multimedia appliances with your smartphone?

There are, in fact, many apps already within the Windows Phone Marketplace that transform your Lumia into a remote control for various programmes or pieces of kit. 

It’s clearly possible for your smartphone to replace all your remote controls but that’s not the same as saying it’s going to happen.


The cashless society has been spoken about for many years, but has yet to really materialise. Could it be the smartphone that finally ushers in the digital wallet?

Banks have already started exploring NFC for contactless payments and new apps and services are making it easier all the time to buy and pay for things through our phones. 

I think this would make life more convenient, but it would be tough to let go of handling crisp, new banknotes!


A former staple of everyone’s festive gift list, the calendar now only exists as an app on my smartphone.

I see the appeal of having a calendar with nice photos displayed on a wall, but it can’t compete with the ability to add alerts, synchronise across multiple devices, create invites and all the other things that a good calendar app can do.



This one might take a greater leap of imagination.

If there are three things you’ll always carry with you when leaving the house, it’s your house keys, smartphone and wallet, right? I just think it would make life easier if you only needed to carry one item. 

If we are prepared to pay for things with our smartphones – trusting it with our hard earned cash – then I don’t see why using our smartphones to lock and open our front doors would be so frightening.

I’ll be the first thing to say that I don’t know how, technically, it would work; perhaps using NFC or through an app with facial recognition software. If we’ve put man on the moon…


Is anyone going to seriously argue that they prefer carrying around a standalone calculator?

OK, if you’re an accountant, then you’re exempt but for everyone else the smartphone will do just fine.


Isn’t the smartphone, with all our contacts, photos and calendar appointments just as crucial to our identities as our passports?

I am envisaging some kind of digital fingerprint with your crucial details being stored on your smartphone and then easily read whenever you pass through an airport. Obviously, this file can be transferred every time you get a new device.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. A security risk? Maybe? Modern passports though are merely booklets with all the information stored on a chip as well.

Filing cabinets


I have a confession to make: I am a hoarder. I have utility bills and miscellaneous paper work going back years and years. I still have instruction manuals for things I threw out a long time ago. 

Thanks to the advent of PDFs, digital storage and cloud services such as SkyDrive, I can now start to tidy up a little. The smartphone has made accessing these files easier and faster and I can do it whenever and wherever I am.

Am I putting more weight on the smartphone than it can bear, or do you think it can help replace many other things in our daily lives?

 Image credits: JD Hancock, redjarempirical_perception and