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November 9, 2011 1:50 PM   Subscribe

What fantasy objects has my smartphone replaced?

I started thinking about this when re-watching Lord of the Rings - what if Galadriel, instead of giving Frodo the Light of Earendil, had said 'I give you this flashlight app' instead? Or instead of the Ocarina of Time Link had used his Ocarina app?

I'm looking for smartphone apps specifically - I realise Frodo could have been given a normal torch, or Link an actual Ocarina. Don't be restrained by OS.
posted by muthecow to Technology (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Compass. Not so much a fantasy but some old compasses were fairly ornate.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:51 PM on November 9, 2011


hmm...from a books point of view it could be seen as a 'nearly-infinite bag of holding'
posted by sexyrobot at 1:54 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Google's new Translate app could be a Babel Fish.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hitchhiker's Guide?
posted by mysterious1der at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


replaces messenger ravens/owls/floating bottles infused with sympathetic magic that allows them to make their way to a recipient.

also paired magical mirrors that allow you to talk to whoever is on the other side of the mirror.
posted by bl1nk at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2011


I think the iPad is a pretty good stand-in for the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer from Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age. Especially when people are starting to use it like this. E-ink and the Kindle are, of course, on their way to fulfilling the duties of smart paper from the same novel.
posted by MsMolly at 2:00 PM on November 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Basically everything a tricorder did that doesn't involve actual scanning. Admittedly, most of a tricorder's usefuleness was the scanning, but still.
posted by griphus at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2011


> Basically everything a tricorder did that doesn't involve actual scanning.

Actually, there was a great tricorder app in the Android market that did scan. Okay, it's scanning was limited to mobile and WiFI networks, magnetic fields, and GPS satellite availability, but it did use the same sounds.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:12 PM on November 9, 2011


Various hokey ways of finding longitude, see this book for details.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:15 PM on November 9, 2011


My brother's smart phone has an app where you point it at a part of the sky and it shows you the constellations. It works in daytime, and it works in all directions, including straight down. That seems rather magical to me.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2011


The Palantír of Orthanc.
posted by RobotHero at 2:45 PM on November 9, 2011


Find my Friends is like a crystal ball or magic mirror.

Various apps, such as Weather, let you "predict the future" in different ways.
posted by mumblingmynah at 2:52 PM on November 9, 2011


Jack Kirby's Mother Box?

It might be a few months before iOS and Android can summon boom tubes, but I think most of the functionality is there.
posted by DNAshwood at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2011


BBM replaces Owls.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:21 PM on November 9, 2011


also, in D&D there is an magic relic called Map Of Unseen Lands that, when unfurled, will draw a map of every major geographic feature and notable within 25 miles of your position (though it doesn't draw dungeons or monster lairs). You do not, however, have the ability to zoom or engage Street View.
posted by bl1nk at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2011


What was the name of that map in Harry Potter - marauders map or map of mischief? It showed your friends as they moved around the castle. Google latitude does that.
posted by CathyG at 12:11 PM on November 10, 2011


Thanks for all your suggestions guys! Some great thoughts in here
posted by muthecow at 5:06 AM on December 12, 2011


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