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4 Things Your Grandparents Never Imagined a Smartphone Could Do

1 May, 2015 McKell Naegle

I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to forget just how amazing it is to have access to anything in the palm of my hand. Once I hit my few-month anniversary with the newest piece of technology, I tend to start slipping into a state of apathy. However, it’s good to remember every so often just how miraculous the luxuries that we have available to us are. With the help of my grandparents, I’ve compiled a list of the most exciting—and often most forgettable—things that our pocket computers can accomplish, the research for which occurred over Wednesday night dinner in my grandmother’s kitchen.

When I explained to her what I was writing and asked her to think about the things she never would have imagined a smartphone could do, she turned from the stove and started with, “Well, first of all, I never imagined such a thing as a smartphone.”

Fair point. With that in mind, let’s begin.

  1. You can keep all your lists in one place.

“I don’t have to pack papers around at all! I’m still trying to get over that one.” -Grandma Ginny

My grandmother is a list maker. Grocery lists, address books, daily tasks—you name it and she’s written it down. She even goes so far as to keep a whiteboard in her kitchen where she keeps track of what she lends and who she lends it to, so that she can track where her things are and hunt you down if they aren’t returned. That’s why one of the first things my grandmother mentioned was store addresses: “I don’t have to pack around my address book anymore,” she says. “And my grocery list! I don’t have to pack papers around at all! I’m still trying to get over that one.”

Knowing my grandma, that one would be a bit hard to wrap your head around.

  1.  It’s practically an entire briefcase of stuff

A smartphone has replaced an entire briefcase of stuff you would carry around!” -Grandfather

The smartphone has become the handy-dandy all-in-one device, and my grandfather was so excited about how many things he no longer had to carry with him. He’s worked with various types and sizes of technology his entire life, everything from cars to computers. So his excitement centered around how it had “done away with computers, done away with stopwatches, done away with video cameras, done away with still cameras, GPS,” all of which he once needed for his day-to-day work life. His pocket briefcase isn’t just full of boring old work stuff, though. His excitement extended beyond that. “Who ever thought there would be FaceTime? Holy cow! Amazing.” I have to agree on that one. Pretty impressive.

  1. It’s a flashlight, too?

“That is just so neat.” –Grandmother

There’s no longer any need to keep an extra flashlight in your car or stumble around in the dark when you’re trying not to wake the whole house up. Between flashlight apps and the natural glow of the screen, which my cousin described as less of a glow and more of a furious retinal attack, it ends up being all the light you need. Provided you have the battery life to support it.

  1. Mobile movie theater + pocket library = 0% boredom

“Who ever thought you would be reading on it? And you can watch movies! That blew me away.” -Grandmother

Netflix and Kindle have revolutionized streaming content. With a seemingly endless amount of interesting content available in seconds, the times my grandmother has told me that “Only boring people get bored,” pack a little more punch.

Technology has advanced so quickly and impressively in the past few decades that it can be easy to adopt a feeling of apathy towards even the most recent improvements. However, my grandfather was able to sum the situation up quite nicely: “When you sit and think about it, it’s a really amazing thing right in the palm of your hand.” That it is, and I can’t wait to see what unimaginable things are created by the time I have grandchildren of my own to marvel with.


So what do you think? Are there things that you could never have imagined existing in the palm of your hand? Let us know in the comments!

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