Eight household items your smartphone’s made redundant

There are items common only a few decades ago we’d simply not recognise if they were put in front of us. A fleem. A wringer. A carpet beater. A warming pan. Our kids are going to look the same way at these eight devices – all replaced by the smartphone.

1. Remote control – Have media centre, have smartphone? Then download something like Gmote (Android) or Air Mouse (iPhone). Sit on your couch, browse your collection, pick what you want. If you don’t use a media centre and want to control your non-smart devices you can buy an IR dongle for about US$30-50 – although the proprietary control codes can be tricky to get right. But soon everything will have Wi-Fi built in.

2. CD player/MP3 player – with DNLA so easy to use nowadays, it’s quicker and easier when you walk in the door to simply bounce your music over to your home entertainment setup with a tap or two than bother to walk up to it. Day by day, you find you simply use your regular old music player less. Soon, control your media from your smartphone, and your music is stored in the cloud.

3. Torch – the glowing face of a mobile is the default way to find the bottle of lube that’s just rolled under your bed late at night. When mobile manufacturers realised the LED flash makes a damn fine torch, the fate of the traditional flashlight was sealed.

4. Yellow Pages – When last did you dig out your copy of the Yellow Pages? GIYF.

5. Shopping list – The problem with shopping lists tacked to the fridge door is that usually when you finally get a chance (and inclination) to go grocery shopping, your list is tacked to the fridge door. Just tap “2 min noodles, dishwash soap, cat fd, eggs” straight into your phone

6. Alarm clock – Someone tell me why you could possibly still need an alarm clock? Especially since the one on your phone can have different settings for days of week and more.

7. Telephone – Imagine having to walk to the entrance hall to find your phone that’s hard-wired in place. Dig out a dog-eared address book and dial the number. Who does that any more? (There’s a great ‘fond farewell to the telephone’ just posted on Salon).

8. Bookshelf – It’s still great to have those gorgeous coffee table books, but your bodice-ripper romance novels and Wilbur Smith thriller collection can be consigned to your phone.

In case you were wondering:


A blood-letting knife


Squeeze water out of laundry for faster drying

Carpet beater

For beating carpets with, natch

Warming pan

Put coals inside and place under the bed to warm it up

Roger Hislop


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