15 gadgets the smartphone killed

Nokia N8
The Nokia N8 even enables you to make fine adjustments to the camera, such as setting the white balance

The smartphone is the Jeffrey Dahmer of the tech world. New models like the HTC EVO 4G, Apple iPhone 3G, Motorola Backflip, and the upcoming Nokia N8 have had a field day destroying other product categories.

When will the killing end? Only when they can project an HD movie it seems. Here are the products that have fallen (or will fall) at the hands of the smartphone.

1. Portable cameras

The upcoming Nokia N8 has a 12-megapizel camera with a fast photo sensor and plenty of options for setting white balance and even image exposure. More importantly, most smartphones are with you all day and negate any sane reason to carry along an extra digital camera, especially when the results are roughly the same. New phones even have scene selections and can record HD video.

2. Mi-Fi Routers

A Mi-Fi device is great if you only have one cellular data plan and a group of people with laptops. You can even use them in the car on battery power. But, they are superfluous if you use a Palm Pre Plus or the HTC EVO 4G, which also work as mobile hotspots so you can share your 3G connection over Wi-Fi. Android 2.2 will also make sharing your phone's bandwidth a reality.


3. Portable video cameras

Some scoff at the idea of using a smartphone to record video. The quality is terrible, your can't hold the device still! Yet, if you use a Joby Gorillapod, you can rest your iPhone 3G on a tripod to make sure the video recording is smooth. And iPhone 4 adds 720p HD video to boot. And, in the same way they have killed the digital camera, smartphones let you stream a video recording to the Web using Qik and you always have one with you.

iPhone 4 hd video

4. Portable projectors

A portable projector like the HP Notebook Projector connects to your laptop or smartphone so you can project the image on a wall. That's helpful for business meetings or movie night. Yet, new models such as the HTC EVO 4G and Nokia N8 provide an HDMI cable you can use to connect the phone to any projector or HDTV set, and the cable is certainly much lighter and more portable than another gadget. Then there's new innovations, such as the Samsung Beam.

Samsung beam

5. Digital media adapters

Devices like the Apple TV and the Roku are great – they're set-top boxes that connect to your Wi-Fi network and allow you to stream music, movies, and photos from your home computer. The problem is: your smartphones is a better conduit for entertainment, especially if you have enough storage available. The Nokia N8 connects to your HD and even uses Dobly Digital Plus surround sound.

6. Netbooks

By all appearances, the netbook was a short-lived fad. A cramped keyboard, slow processing speeds, lack of 3D gaming support, and a crippled operating system like Windows 7 Starter made this product category ripe for the pillage. Smartphones are actually much more useful for any task you can perform on an under-powered netbook, save for typing up long documents – but we use laptops for that.

7. MP3 Players

Remember these? Sony still insists on making them, even though your phone is actually a much better music listening device – songs are just a finger-press away, there's ample storage (that's expandable) and you can browse the Web or watch a slideshow while you listen to the latest London psych-rock band.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.