10 household items rendered obsolete by your smartphone

Keeping a dedicated address and phone book has become a thing of the past thanks to smartphones. (Dana Rothstein/Dreamstime/TNS)
Keeping a dedicated address and phone book has become a thing of the past thanks to smartphones. (Dana Rothstein/Dreamstime/TNS)

The smartphone’s rise in prominence over the last decade has served as the death knell for many former household tech staples. In just 10 years, smartphones have become the Swiss Army knives of the tech world, being able to do so much more than simply making phone calls and sending text messages.

Here are 10 items you’ll never need to buy again thanks to your smartphone.

— Address book/Rolodex

Keeping a dedicated address and phone book has become a thing of the past thanks to smartphones. Heck, even memorizing loved ones’ phone numbers has fallen by the wayside; it’s so much easier to simply tap the person’s name.

— Alarm clock

Having an alarm clock by each bedside used to be the standard in every home. Today, however, with the ability to set multiple alarms at once, select which days to have the alarm trigger and even analyze your sleep in the process, smartphones are the new bedside staple.

— Calculator

Math can be hard, but calculators can make math easy.

What’s even easier than using a calculator to do math? Not having to worry about finding batteries for your calculator because the same functionality is included in your phone.

— Calendar

Calendars are great for keeping track of events and dates, but what do you do when you leave your pocket calendar in your desk — or, even more likely, when you can’t take your calendar with you because it’s the size of your desk?

You miss your appointment, that’s what.

That’s not the case with the calendar in your smartphone — unless you leave your smartphone on your desk, because then you’re just out of luck.

— Camera

If there’s one thing smartphones have truly made mainstream, it’s photography. Taking photos used to primarily be saved for special occasions, as doing so meant lugging around a camera.

The advent of the smartphone camera (and subsequent photo-sharing platforms and apps) has led to people documenting every aspect of everyday life — from putting together furniture to glamour shots of one’s dinner plate. Unfortunately, it’s also led to the rise of the selfie.

— Flashlight

Picture this: It’s night. A storm has just knocked out the power at your house. You have to find the circuit breaker to reset the power, but you can’t find it without some type of light. The real question becomes where’s the flashlight? Hint: not at your side like your trusty smartphone with the built-in camera flash that can pull double duty as a flashlight.


Remember the days before GPS? Everyone used to keep either a map or an atlas in their car.

The miracle of the consumer GPS unit was quickly supplanted by the even more miraculous smartphone, as the latter came equipped with its own built-in GPS tracker and accelerometer. Drivers no longer had to lug around a bulky GPS unit in their glove boxes; instead, they could simply punch their destination into their phone and have the same turn-by-turn directions orated to them.

— Landline telephone

This one’s obvious.

The rise of wireless phones has led to the slow death of the landline telephone. A 2014 National Center for Health Statistics report found that 45.4 percent of American households had only wireless phones in their homes, meaning landlines were nowhere to be found.

— Level

For those with limited space in their tool bag, here’s one item you can leave behind from now on.

Your smartphone’s built-in gyroscope allows it to determine angles, which clever app designers have used to mimic the effects of a bubble level. Hanging pictures becomes a breeze when you don’t have to spend half your time trying to remember where you left your level.

— Outdoor thermometer

Why get out of bed to check the weather when you can just grab your phone and see current and future weather conditions for your location and anywhere else in the world?

There’s probably still a use for these antiquated thermometers, but not in most residential applications.