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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

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Death by smartphone
Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 14, 2014
First Published: 14:25 IST(14/8/2014)
Last Updated: 14:31 IST(14/8/2014)

Offering services that range from voice recognition software and call recording to GPS navigation and video recording, the smartphone is a device any utilitarian would appreciate. However, the emergence of the gadget as a modern-day essential has pushed several others to the brink of extinction. Here are a few of them.

1 Landlines: The figures tell the story. Till early 2005, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there were more fixed-line telephones than cellular phones. Less than a decade later, according to figures released by the same agency, there are 904.51 million mobile phone users in the country in comparison to 28.49 million landline subscribers.
 
2 Point-and-shoot cameras: With the advent of camera phones that offer 41MP (Nokia Lumia 1020), zoom (Samsung Galaxy S4), colour accuracy (Xperia Z2), as well as optical image stabilisation and back-facing shutter button (LG G2), the average point-and-shoot has a lot of trouble clicking with the audience these days.
 
3 Alarm clocks: Probably one of the first devices to be rendered obsolete by the mobile phone, it was once every office-goer’s go-to tool. But, as early as 2009, reports suggested that sales of alarm clocks were showing a decline, and they have not picked up ever since.
 
4 Pocket calculator: The device came into vogue in the 1970s, and stuck around for a couple of decades, helping millions get their additions and subtractions right. But the arrival of the phone (both smart and dumb) has meant that the humble calculator has fallen on hard times. 

5 Walkman/MP3s: There was a time when these gadgets were essentials while going on a jog or a terribly long commute. However, with smartphones blaring music in surround sound (Nokia N8), built-in active noise cancelling technology (Xperia Z2) and bringing radio on-the-go — all in one compact device — manufacturers have had to press the pause button on these gizmos. 

6 Dictaphones: Though these small recording devices were on their way out for a while; the emergence of the smartphone hurried the process. Their sensitive voice mics and recording apps have ensured that the dictaphone has no voice left in a crowd.  

7 Digital watches: The wristwatch has witnessed a turnaround after a slump in 2008 and 2009 — sales had fallen 4 per cent in 2008 and an additional 10 per cent in 2009, according to Euromonitor International. But for the bedside digital watch, which was once a regular member of every household, there has been no such luck.

Also on the hit list:
 
Camcorders: With new phone models capable of shooting videos in 4K Ultra High Definition, supporting GPS apps and offering software powered to smooth out shakes by using motion sensors, low-end camcorders could be on their way out soon.   
 
Scanners: A new report released by market advisory firm VDC Research shows that dedicated laser barcode scanning devices are losing their foothold in the global market. According to the data, global handheld barcode scanner vendors suffered a one per cent loss in revenue in 2013. With people turning to smartphones and tablets instead of traditional handheld scanners, the days of this device look numbered.
 
Portable gaming devices: At one point, handheld gaming consoles were a rage all over the world. But that was before the mobile revolution brought games to every phone. Since then, Sony’s PSP and Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance have gone the way of the dodo. And with reports suggesting that PlayStation Vita and 3DS too are going through rough times, it leaves one wondering if their time is also up.


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