I was checking out my Yahoo! homepage this evening when I came across a “news” story with a title that interested me. I clicked on it, and came to an article on Wired called “Five Gadgets That Were Killed by the Cellphone.” I was very interested to see what gadgets would be on the list.
Unfortunately, however, the author took a lot of liberty with the term “killed.” Three of the gadgets on his list are far from dead. One of them never really had much of a market share to begin with, and the last was more integrated with cellphones than killed by them.
The comments to the article do my feelings quite a bit of justice, but I thought I’d break things down from my perspective, anyway.
- The PDA – The PDA is far from dead. Instead, phone capabilities were added into the PDA. I think the author has sadly confused the old “electronic organizers” with PDAs. Most modern PDAs and “smartphones” are still made by the same manufacturers as they were five years ago; and, as far as I know, all of them are still running one of the same two operating systems that have been in use for longer than that (Windows Mobile or some variation of PalmOS).
- The camera – Umm. I really don’t think cameras are dead. In fact, in the last year, I’ve purchased three new cameras. I might be in the minority, but I am not going to use a cellphone camera to record the momentous occasions of my life. It just isn’t going to happen. The quality is not nearly good enough.
- The UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) – I can’t really speak to this one, as I really, honestly, don’t remember ever seeing one of these. Was there ever a market share for these things to begin with? How can something be killed by the cellphone if it never really lived?
- The phone (landline) – Not going to happen any time soon. The bottom line is that landlines are still less expensive and more reliable than cellphones. It might make sense for people in urban areas to ditch their landlines (though I still know quite a few of those folks that switched to VOIP rather than dropping their landlines altogether), but it’s just not realistic for those of us that live in more rural areas with really spotty cell coverage.
- The mp3 player – What?!?!? Really??? Did he really say that the cellphone had killed the mp3 player? What planet is this guy on? I can tell you right now; when I’m driving down the road and look into the passing cars, those are not cellphones they’ve got plugged into their car stereos. When I’m sitting on the Metro (subway) and look around, everyone on the train has earbuds stuck in their ears, but those earbuds are not plugged into a cellphone. It just is not going to happen anytime soon (if ever).
The author then goes onto say that the notebook computer will be the next gadget killed by the cellphone. Hah. I’ll believe it when I see it.
From the tone of the post, I was honestly wondering why the author didn’t go all out and try to tell us that cellphones had killed video game consoles.