Mobile phones go scalp hunting: The Red List

26 July 2010
Last week we walked with dinosaurs. We followed phones in their search of the perfect size and shape. We’ll now take another step away from our usual routine and look back at the gadgets that lost or are about to lose in the survival of the fittest. Mobile phones are no longer a commodity – but a necessity...

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  • MdN

Excellent article! Although I would disagree about wrist watches - with cell phones it feels like it's back to 18th century and POCKET watches, you know? The whole point of a wrist watch is that you don't have to take it out of the pocket to know the time, and now it's back to pre-history. So I still need a watch. The people I know who rely solely on their cell phones to tell time are always late. :-)

  • jjsoviet

xman, 26 Jul 2010although low end digital cameras are under a lot of pressure for... moreThen it's called a camera that makes phone calls then lol. :P

  • xman

although low end digital cameras are under a lot of pressure for mobile phones cameras. I am yet to find a cell phone camera that comes close to a dedicated point and shoot digital camera. under pressure? yes. extinct? not so fast. Cell phones don't have space to compete with the lens assemblies in dedicated cameras.

ps. this is why I would like a new breed of camera phone consisiting of a camera (28mm-100mm image stabilized zoom lens) with a 2G gsm modules supporting text and voice only.

  • jjsoviet

Agreed on most points, but two of the mentioned devices are still in the game and are still superior to what they do that what cellphones claim to be getting better at: digital cameras and digital audio players.

First of all, digital cameras are still better at image quality than even the highest-megapixel phone because of two things, the sensor and the lens. Megapixels don't mean anything when the photos produced look blurry, pixelated and out of focus. Dedicated P&S cameras still have the upper hand in terms of hardware and processing software, which most phones couldn't match. DSLR's are even way more out of the league.

And there's the digital audio players. Sound quality is the primary focus of these gadgets, and in that aspect they dominate against most phones marketed to the music-savvy. Phones simply don't have the better specs when it comes to decoding and playback of music, especially when it comes to DAC(digital-to-analog converter) chips, pre-amplifier outputs and circuit design. Digital audio players on the other hand still focus on giving the best quality sound possible as well as providing the most flexible playback capabilities. Ever seen a phone decode lossless FLAC files at over 1000 kbps?

  • goron goron

good article GSMARENA.
even pocketTV getting the heat now because cheap china mobilephone come with this feature.
dont forget wireless router and the gud old flashlight hehehe they will get some beat up too.
pocket radio already gone too.
cellphone really change human habit and future.
but too bad it still no sign for all in one complete smartphone yet.
i still have to buy 1 phone for cam,record,mp3 player. 1 for text and email. 1 for multimedia,browsing,and doc edit.
still no all in one powerfull phone yet.

  • aaptk

edc001, 26 Jul 2010One area smartphones have yet to penetrate is the sensor input a... moreI dont think a scale would be good use for a mobile...

Anyway, nice article gsma, but there are more things the mobile replaced

next, maybe an article what the future will bring...?

  • gumy

Mobile phones will replace even tv and Pc in the future.Most people will not buy some super Hi-tech camera,ipod or gps so cell phones will do just enough to be leader in the market of any of these devices.Nice work Gsm arena

  • floobie

Cool article indeed. I agree on most points.

I'm pretty sure the "mp3" player will die once storage and battery life on most phones is sufficient. Literally the only thing my iPod has going for it over my phone is its 120gb of storage.

I can also see the point and shoot camera getting owned by phones. I mean, the Nokia N8 can take better pictures (and has a bigger sensor than) my dedicated Olympus point and shoot. If this trend continues, point and shoot cameras will suffer, and DSLR cameras will probably benefit. The mentality will become "if I'm going to buy a dedicated camera, it should be significantly better than what my phone can do". Pretty soon, very few point and shoot cameras could really claim that. So, people interested in something better will probably go straight for a DSLR.

And calculators... no. No matter how well a phone can functionally match a calculator, one thing is preventing them from taking over: education. Find me a school that actually allows students to use their phone as a calculator during any exam. Hell, most k12 schools don't allow mobile phones in the building (not that any student actually follows that rule... I certainly didn't). I don't see that changing. Educators don't trust students nearly enough for that to happen. For that simple reason, the trusty Ti-8x won't be going anywhere. And, I'm just guessing here, but I'd wager that most people hold onto their expensive graphing calculators well after school, and continue to use them for many years to come, because they've gotten so used to their capabilities, the interface, and the action of the keys.

I also want to add a qualifier for the GPS section. Consumer-grade GPS units are dead. But until the GPS unit on a mobile phone can get sub-meter accuracy, dedicated, pro-grade GPS units aren't going anywhere.

Wrist-watches... yeah. Mine has basically become a fashion accessory. I used to wear my watch literally every day. Now I'll wear it maybe once or twice a week.

Alarm clocks... Maybe it's only me, but I like to be able to see the time in the middle of the night, without having to search for my phone in the dark. So, for a big, red-lit beacon of time, I'll be holding onto my alarm clock for a long time. But, for actual alarms... yeah, I use my phone.

  • edc001

One area smartphones have yet to penetrate is the sensor input arena.

I am talking about the class of inputs that even PC's are still only tapping into, but have wide applications. Items that come to mind: temperature sensing (thermometer), pressure sensing (barometer), weight (scale), distance (pedometer). Sure, there would be others, but not as useful to the general public on a daily basis.

The technology for these items exist now, and would add a new dimension of use.

Thermometer - weather or even health-related (a call to the dr will provide him with vitals to assess better without an office visit.
Barometer - weather, pressure sensing can be used for heartrate monitoring.
Scale - for dieting.
Pedometer - for fitness. This can be using the GPS to track movement, or the accelerometer to track footsteps. Caloric calcs can be recorded and tracked automatically. Alternatively, use IR to determine distance for shopping.

All of these on their own may not mean much, but add the capability of transmitting this information in near-realtime provides a dimension never before possible.

The projector feature above all else will make a smartphone the desktop/laptop killer, making the large desktop monitor available without the bulk.

Interestingly, one item it has not been able to replace are keys, one of the last pieces carried on a person that have no real digital version. You'd think a personalized identification with manual authentication would be able to replace cardkeys and home locks, and displace most of the locks in use today.

  • Anonymous

Very good article. Kudos to the writer(s). Only one correction: calculators are nowhere near finished. The writer forgot about scientific calculators. Granted, not everyone uses them on a daily basis, but they are still calculators. I think they will stay here, since it is simply much easier to use a dedicated calculator with all the buttons and shortcuts then to search for functions in a smartphone app. Also most calculations done with them are complex and require precise operations, so fiddling with possible mistypes or mispresses is a no-no.

  • Anonymous

nice article...but list is incomplete...list also includes stopwatch, which is confined to physics labs and compass...

  • Aluwani

Rewrite the story, REWRITE THE STORY! You forgot portable gaming consoles, they are getting MURDERED!Even full size consoles are taking a little heat.

  • Samarth INNOV8 user

Nice Article GSMArena. I want to add something:-->

1. I believe no cameraphone can replace a Dedicated Camera.

But, A great musicphone can replace a Music player for sure. The only thing is that we need better music phones.

For example, take the iPhone or Samsung Wave/ Galaxy... would you choose a Music player instead of them... You know how well they sound and what their features are, right?

And countless times, GSMArena has made statements in Audio Quality Test, like "With a great overall audio quality, the XXX set can safely replace your dedicated music player".

2. Calculators are here to stay, due to low cost, ergonomics and durability.

I would not do 2 hours of calculations on my INNOV8's keypad. Would you?
I mean, mobile's keypad is not even comfortable, let alone durable for such use. Not to mention that most people use Calculators very speedily...

  • Step666

It all comes down to quality; if you want the best device for any particular function, it's going to be something dedicated to that task - a high-end camera (D-SLRs especially) will always be superior to a phone, a dedicated DAP (mp3 player) will always have advantages over a phone (sound quality and battery life being two rather important points).

Of course, for a lot of people who either aren't that demanding or have budget constraints, or for casual use, the convenience of carrying a single, jack-of-all-trades phone cannot be discounted.
But we're still a long way off of mobiles sounding the death knell for camera, DAPs and a variety of other portable electronic devices.

  • 79

nice thought gsmarena, you are forgetting something to mention though more important that all of them toghether. the imminent extinction of desk-lap-tops substituted by portable internet/communication devices with all-in-one capable softwares. i may be wrong but i think that the hardware today is at a point that it really needs less to improve, opposite to software that still needs years of development

  • Anonymous

2 Zaragoza rules! ang Gsm Arena too

  • dj_tiesto

1st. Nice article GSMARENA, keep going.