Death of the Flip Video Cam, and the GPS device, and the Alarm Clock, and...


A look at the single-function devices the smartphone has killed or is killing.

In 2007, the Flip video camera hit the market, quickly dominating the camcorder market with two million units sold in its first two years (http://HCP.LV/i2o6LK). In 2009, the founders sold the Flip to Cisco Systems for $590 million. Things were going so well, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, Cisco announced in early April 2011 that it was shutting down its Flip video camera division. Brent Bracelin, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities, points a finger at smartphones, saying the demise of the Flip is a “testament to the pace of innovation in consumer electronics and smartphone technology.” Indeed, as the Flip was reaching its peak in sales, smartphones were gaining legs. But the Flip is just the latest of the smartphone’s victims. In fact, Bracelin said the fast-paced world of smartphone technology is “one of the most disruptive trends we’ve seen.” So, what other single-function devices is the smartphone swallowing up?

Camcorder: All the top smartphones come with video recording capability, the quality of which for many is quite high.

GPS Device: Nearly every smartphone is sold with included navigation software.

Point-and-shoot Camera: Most smartphones have at least a 5 megapixel camera installed, with many including even an 8MP. The Nokia N8 has a 12MP.

Wristwatch: With most users never leaving home without their time-telling smartphone, who needs a watch?

Alarm Clocks: Smartphone users can awaken to just about any sound they desire.

Portable Music Players: Using an Internet browser, any number of apps (eg, Pandora), or storage capacity, iPod users can toss their device and get an iPhone.

PDA: There’s nothing a PDA can do that a smartphone can’t, and there’s that little added bonus that the latter can also be used to make and take phone calls.

Calculator: Whether built-in or available through an app, all smartphones can be used as calculators.

Mi-Fi Router: Many smartphones act as their own mobile hotspots.

Portable Projector: the HTC EVO 4G and Nokia N8 have an HDMI cable that allows users to connect either to any projector or HDTV set, allowing all to view what’s on the phone.

Netbook: With Internet-browsing capability and larger storage in many cases, the only things the netbook has over the smartphone are a larger screen and keyboard.

Universal Remote: You can use the iPhone to control just about anything inside your home, or outside.

Portable DVD Player: Buy and watch videos on the go, or view videos recorded onto the smartphone.

“Featureless” cell phone: With wireless provider contracts allowing for users to purchase a high-end smartphone on the cheap, and many times for free, there’s little reason, other than familiarity, to stay with the regular cell phone.

Handheld Video Game: Most of the top-grossing smartphone apps are games, like Angry Birds and Tap Zoo.

Voice Recorder: If the smartphone doesn’t have this capability built in, there’s an app for that.

Digital Picture Frame: The Motorloa Backflip and Nokia N8 both allow users to view the videos or pictures they took with their smartphone in a horizontal display with good screen resolution.

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