Saturday, August 25, 2012

How Useful Are Smartphones?

If you have a smartphone, you appreciate all the various ways you can use it. But just how many actual, practical ways are there? I've enumerated at least 41 of them along with the 30 things (many of them are actual physical devices) that the smartphone replaces.

In this spreadsheet, I walk through a "day in the life" of a smartphone user. Read across the rows. The spreadsheet is designed with the headings: Activity, Before Smartphones, Since Having A Smartphone and Notes. As you read each row, I try to progress the Activities as if they were happening all in a single day.

As to the 30 tangible and non-tangible devices it replaces:
  • Clock or watch. (For local & world time)
  • Alarm clock
  • Calendar / Day Planner
  • GPS navigation device
  • CD or MP3 player
  • Audio recorder
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Computer (in some cases)
  • Radio
  • Fax machine
  • Restaurant guide
  • Yellow pages
  • Maps
  • Camera
  • Notepad
  • Flashlight
  • Level
  • Small ruler
  • Art guide
  • Grocery coupon system
  • Mirror
  • Egg Timer
  • Stop Watch
  • TV
  • TV Remote (requires phone with IR)
  • Photo Album
  • Compass
  • Dictionary
There are probably more, but these are the ones I could think of.


  1. Love this article Bart! Smartphones are incredibly useful. I held off on getting one for a long time (2015) and used a Wi-Fi only iPod Touch, but once you get mobile data it’s very difficult to give it up.

  2. Hi Nicole: Your experience & observations are actually pretty common. Just recently I had 3 friends who never had a smartphone and resisted the upgrade finally gave in and, like you, they love their new-found companion very helpful.