The smartphone has been a part of our lives for many years. Even those who miss the pre-smartphone lifestyle still use it daily. It has become so integrated that it is impossible to imagine a world without it.
However, just over ten years ago, the smartphone didn’t exist. What things did we stop doing when the smartphone arrived?
Although hundreds of millions of cell phones already existed in the 1990s and the first years of the millennium, the smartphone was first introduced by Apple on June 29, 2007, with the first iPhone, which added the functions of a small computer, touchscreen, and apps. Little by little, the cell phone became part of our lives until we could no longer live without it.
The smartphone is both a curse and a blessing. It binds us a lot and, in a way, enslaves us. Still, it also makes life easier for us in so many things, such as shopping online on Amazon or other platforms, accessing our digital banks, playing videogames, poker, or online roulette at Joe Fortune, watching series on Netflix, or also learning new languages for free on Apps like Duolingo.
How could we leave the house entrusting our mother to take our calls on the only landline phone for the whole family? What happened to those enormous road maps that once you unfolded them, there was no way to fold them up again?
Do you remember when you visited the photo store to develop your photos? Those are times gone by that will never come back. Confirmation that, for better or worse, the smartphone changed our lives forever.
Let’s look at 6 things we used to do before the Smartphone Era.
1. Listening to the answering machine
If parents worked away from home and no one was at home (not so common before), we all had an answering machine, which recorded on a cassette tape the messages of the people who called.
Rewinding the tape and listening to those messages was the first thing you did when you got home. It was the double check of the 80s and 90s.
2. Watching series on TV
OK, we still watch many TV series and movies, but have you ever stopped to think about what percentage?
Increasingly we watch increased series on the smartphone because we are away from home, or we want to watch it lying in bed and maybe we do not have a TV in our room. This was unthinkable a few years ago, when maybe if you wanted to watch a movie, you couldn’t move from the living room and had to fight with your brother to use the remote control.
3. Sending letters
How long has it been since you’ve sent a letter to a family member or a friend? Before the smartphone, phoning someone who lived out of town was expensive, as we’ve discussed. If it wasn’t urgent, you resorted to letters.
It’s a tradition that today has practically disappeared, replaced by the free minutes of calls we have every month or WhatsApp. This is another thing that we all stopped doing with the arrival of the Smartphone Era.
4. Renting movies
Do you remember when you last set foot in a video store? There were thousands in the eighties and nineties, but they have almost disappeared today.
We used to go there to rent movies on VHS or DVD, which you had to return within 24 or 48 hours if you didn’t want to get a fine.
Today all the movies are rented through cell phones, or you wait for them to be released on Netflix or similar.
5. Waiting in line at the movies to buy tickets
A few years ago, when we went to the movies, we enjoyed two adventures: the movie and the odyssey of buying tickets.
You had to wait in line since you couldn’t buy them online. If the movie was in high demand, you had to queue one or two hours before, to get good seats. The ticket agent usually chose seats because you did not see the seats available, and you had to trust what he told you.
Many cinemas were not numbered either, so even with a ticket, there were actual races, elbows, and fights to get there first to choose a good seat.
Now you open the cinema app on your smartphone, personally select your seats and print out your tickets, or swipe your phone through a machine to pick up your reserved tickets. That’s the way to go!
Calling from a phone booth
6. Calling from a phone booth
Booths have been part of the urban landscape for decades, and they were as crowded as the ATM or supermarket queue before the cell phone.
If you remembered the phone number, it was the only way to call someone when you were away from home. Many people carried a little notebook in their purse with the numbers they used, and in the phone booth, there were phone books with all the numbers in town.
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