Smartphones are changing the world at an incredible pace. So much so that it's hard to believe how different our lives were only a few years ago. For better or worse, they're here to stay. So let's take a look at how far we've come.
1. Carried digital cameras and printed out photos
Back when cameras in phones could only take small, grainy photos, we capture special moments with digital or disposable cameras. Some of us even printed them to keep in a physical album.
Also unlike today, most of the photos we took remained true to what they captured. Unedited and often unseen until printed, they would show us in all our glory. But now we can change the colour balance, add a filter or even airbrush out our blemishes. Thank goodness for that.
2. Found our way with paper maps or a GPS device
Remember getting lost? That's because you didn't have every map in the world tucked neatly into your pocket. Huge map books and maps printed from the internet used to be our guides, with a select few owning GPS devices to direct them in the car. These days, if you do get lost, you can simply hail a taxi by tapping your screen.
6. Used our actual knowledge for pub quizzes
The time-honoured tradition of showing off your knowhow will never be quite the same. Now we're all human encyclopaedias, thanks to having the internet in our pockets, it's hard to know if the other team's frequent toilet breaks are more than they appear. Are they checking Google? Wikipedia? Or simply answering the call of nature? Nobody knows.
3. Listened to music on CDs or MP3 players
Choosing which CDs to take on holiday was always a dilemma. But then came MP3 players, where you could save thousands of songs to listen to anywhere. The bigger the library, the cooler you were. But now we don't even download – almost every song in existence is ready to stream online. And if you want to listen to a playlist, there's no need to sit with a cassette deck for an hour, pausing, rewinding and recording.
4. Made eye contact with strangers on public transport
Those dreaded days of exchanging looks with people in real life are long past, thanks to endless games, apps and messages to check in the palm of our hands. Of course, it does means we don't meet new friends or dates when we're out and about, but there are apps for that anyway.
5. Knew friends' phone numbers and actually called them
There was a time when we didn't have address books built into our phones, so we had to keep them in our heads. It did mean you could use a payphone because you knew which numbers to dial, but it also meant missing out if memory failed.
Now that we have Snapchat, WhatsApp, FaceTime and all manner of ways to stay in touch, phone calls seem a bit old school anyway. And when you consider the hours we spent waiting for our turn to use the landline (ensuring nobody wanted to use the internet at the same time) it's safe to say we've learned to live without them.
7. Looked at one screen at a time for entertainment
Whether watching your favourite TV show in its regular timeslot, or chatting to friends over Windows Live Messenger on your PC, one glowing screen used to be enough. Now we watch TV On Demand, chat on our smartphones and shop on our tablets all at once.
And why shouldn't we? There's so much technology can do to entertain us and keep us in touch that it seems silly not to. The world really is our oyster now.