You've probably seen that pic where a smartphone is surrounded by a drawer's worth of Eighties items it now does the job of - Walkman, Filofax, BBC Micro, Game & Watch etc.
Now it's got its suckers on the car, controlling some of the functions and even driving it in the wilder interpretations.
We had a go recently in the new BMW i3 electric car, which includes a smartphone app that lets you lock and unlock the car. It felt ridiculous using it when the car comes with a perfectly good key (that works a lot faster). But we got a kick out of doing it anyway and because it works anywhere, it most definitely removes any unlock paranoia. It also lets you set charge times, for example starting when a lower rate tariff kicks in and lets you know if a window or door is open. Nissan's Carwings app for the Leaf EV does something similar.
Some reckon the phone will inevitably banish car keys to the pile of obsolete objects. Hyundai says it'll launch NFC (near-field communication) enabled cars by 2015 that'll just read the phone to unlock the door. If encryption and security is good enough, you could imagine it'd be possible to text the code to someone else to unlock the car from their phone.
James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies phone-drove his 7 Series and Toyota showed off something similar a couple of years ago - a self-driving, remote-controlled Prius that you called over like a faithful hound to your feet using your phone, then set it off on its path - from the back seat if you wanted.
That OAP's dream is a while off yet, but supplier Bosch reckons it'll help its automaker customers get an app-controlled self-parking car on the market by 2015. Instead of staying in the car and folding your arms, you get out and press a button on your phone. This could be the gimmick to finally get the technology to appeal to all those self-respecting PHers who can park perfectly well, but would rather not risk the door paint getting out in a tight spot.
Probably the most interesting car-communicating phone app will be one that pumps the car's ECU for info and displays it on your phone. Mercedes is one maker working on this and the results will be properly geeky, like which of your commutes to and from work last week was the most economical and which was the least.
But do we want the phone ever-more integrated into our car lives? It's already been charged with delivering the sat-nav, music and info apps to the latest cars, particularly cheaper ones. But actually controlling the car? Lose it for example and our status instantly moves from annoyed to properly shafted.
It's also a way for manufacturers squeeze more cash out of us. The i3's app is part of BMW's ConnectedDrive service which delivers info and advice via an embedded SIM that's free for the first three years, but costs later.
But the BMW system also proves the worth of increased remote control. We clicked a menu button on the i3 dash screen and suddenly were speaking to a real-life person wondering how she could help. She told us a nice story. Bloke and his family go to a national park in their X5, he strides up the mountain, she takes the kids biking. It starts raining, kids get fed up and mum wants back in the car. Trouble is Dad's got the keys, so he calls BMW from the top of the mountain and our helpful lady remotely opens the car.