The humble remote hasn't changed much in the last few decades. Sure it got more buttons, the ability to control more than one gadget, and there are expensive models that are more programmable, but in the end a remote is a remote.
Compare that to the smartphone, which in less than 10 years has taken over the worlds of communication, entertainment, productivity, photography and more. In fact, a single smartphone does more than an entire bag of gadgets could pre-2007. All that and it fits right in the palm of your hand.
It was only a matter of time, then, until the smartphone absorbed the typical remote control as well. And I'm not just talking about the myriad remotes for your home entertainment center. Some of these might surprise you.
1. Drones and toys
You might have seen many drones using smartphones for control. The Parrot drones, for example, not only let you control the drone with your smartphone, they stream live video to it so you can get a first-person view and even play augmented reality games. High-end drones like the DJI Phantom and Inspire tend to use tablets instead and only for video streaming and non-flight control. Learn more about the wonderful world of drones.
However, many remote-controlled cars, boats and planes are headed that direction a well. There's the PowerUp toy that turns any paper airplane into a smartphone-controlled plane. Or you can get the TobyRich SmartPlane that connects to an Apple gadget. Just tilt your iPhone to control the plane.
In non-air arenas, the Moto TC Rally RC car connects up to an iOS gadget. Plenty of hobbyists have instructions online that use low-cost Arduino boards to give just about any RC vehicle smartphone control.