Today I was thinking about how many things I would have to carry around with me if it wasn’t for my smart phone. Actually I thought about it the other day and have been formulating a list. This list comprises the stuff I would need to carry around with me in order to have the same level of knowledge as I did in the old, 2008, pre-smartphone days.
I should add that I’m not counting phone and texting because they are fundamental to a phone, smart, dumb or just plain average. Besides, I’m carrying it anyway. If I was making this list in comparison to, say, 1975 then having a phone in your pocket with the ability to text would be like magic. I’m also not including applications that only exist because of the phone. In this latter category I’m putting social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
I will place the number of cumulative uses in square brackets before each entry.
[1 & 2] Now that I’ve cleared that up…let’s start with a simple notebook. If I didn’t have my phone I’d probably need a notebook with me in case I needed to jot something down. I’d also need some sort of writing implement. I’m going to call that two uses, bearing in mind that the writing implement counts against just about everything.
 Possibly the most oft used thing (apart from texting) would be the news. My phone is my access to the world. It takes the place of magazines and newspapers which I no longer look at.
 Most people will write a list before they go shopping; I know I used to. These days I use my phone, obviously. Equally obviously I could just use the notebook and writing implement above. However, what my grocery app lets me do is store all the recipes I generally use so, if I need to change my mind for dinner or lunch, I have a list of all the ingredients with me. This takes the place of having to carry all my recipe books around with me. (As an aside…I have started collecting Other Peoples’ Shopping Lists on Flickr. They can be seen here.)
 When I used to travel into London I would never travel without my A-Z. It goes without saying I no longer carry an A-Z because my phone has all the maps I could ever need.
 Speaking of travel…I have an app on my phone which gives me timetables for all public transport with the added feature of real time information of how long before the transport will arrive at my location. Not only does this save me carrying around a whole bunch of timetables (it is very useful in Edinburgh each year) it also saves me standing around like an idiot when a bus is running late/cancelled. I also use a London Tube app and the National Rail timetable app. The latter of these would only have been accessible by a phone call previously.
 I don’t normally listen to music when I’m wandering around or sitting on trains and buses except when I want to catch up on the Archers. However, since joining the gym, I listen every time. Rather than take a personal mp3 device of some kind with me, I just stick a pair of earplugs in the bottom of my phone and listen to whatever I have on my phone. When I have an Internet connection, this is immediately increased as I have access to a whole world of music via Amazon Prime.
 I used to always carry a camera around with me. Okay, it was never very big (except when I take my DSLR) but it is another device I’d need to have on hand. The camera in my phone is more than adequate for this blog and, sometimes for Flickr. I can also process the images using a Photoshop like app. And while on the subject of this blog…
 Before the smartphone, if I wanted to update this blog, I’d have to use a computer…or the notebook from above. Most of the time I use my hybrid for this but, and especially given I use my phone camera for the images, I often use the phone to create, edit and update blog posts. This saves having to carry a laptop device around all the time. I’m going to include emailing in this one as well because it’s similar and would also require a laptop (or similar). I could also create documents, be they letters, spreadsheets etc but I don’t so that’s not included.
 A phone number contact list is not such a big thing because pre-2008 phones all had a phone book included however, this didn’t allow for addresses, street and email which would require an address book. The beauty of using the smartphone is your information can be shared across all your devices because of the Cloud. That saves a lot of amending as well as meaning I have the information with me all the time.
 A calendar is something I use a lot. I’d be lost without one. Of course I use my smartphone which then syncs up with Mirinda’s so we know what we’re doing. This would be pretty difficult to maintain in a handwritten form.
 I used to regularly fill out crosswords and Sudoku grids when I found myself with waiting time on my hands. Of course I could find them in newspapers but if I really wanted to have a number of them I’d need to buy one of those little paperback books. While I no longer do crosswords (I’m not sure why) I often have cause to waste a few minutes on a Sudoku or two. I have an app for that.
 My Starbucks card, which I use every day, is on my phone. This means I no longer have to search through my belongings looking for it. It also has real time information like how much money I have on it, if I’m due a freebie and where the closest store is.
There’s a lot more things I use my smartphone for but they are as a result of having the phone. For instance, I never carried a television around with me but I can view Netflix on my phone – especially now that I can download. I can book and manage holidays, check out hotels, book a cab…so many things.
I really have no idea how people manage carrying all that extra stuff around with them.