This question got posed to me the other day and I honestly didn't know how to respond. The question was: "If Shattered Memories takes place in modern times, how come Cheryl is imagining her father with a smartphone if he's looking for her directly after the crash? The problem is even a delusional person would still not forget that a smartphone with GPS capabilities and text messaging didn't exist in that time. It isn't a few years, it's 15 years at the very least. If she's trying to forget that her dad is dead, having something from the future that didn't exist yet would fracture that image a little."
Well, the real Harry Mason would certainly be surprised to find a smartphone on his person. Or, that people he meets can dial it without him ever telling them the number.
Of course, the Harry we see is Cheryl's mental construct. His instant acceptance of the phone is proof that his existence is inconsistent with reality, which is one of the problems Harry runs into several times later on.
The delusion casts Harry as existing in a modern setting. Plus, the phone is more of a game enhancement. It doesn't play a direct role in the story outside of phone calls.
Harry's phone is akin to being able to carry tons of items and a great knife on your back, but never having it visible. It's just a game mechanic.
Also, if Cheryl's delusion stated that Harry had to photograph ghosts with his phone, then an older phone wouldn't have worked. She'd probably just imagine him carrying the same kinda stuff she has now. It would actually strengthen her denial of his death.
-MacWilliams Malt "since 1895" -Gas prices ranging from $2.69 to $2.89 -A pin-up girl calendar with the first day of the month on Thursday and the last, the 30th, on Friday. This could place the date at sometime in September of 2011, April of 2010, November 2007, etc. -"R&B 1957-1959 Volume 1" -Graffiti reading "Cammie Boone Was Spit Roasted by the entire Cuckoo's offense here!! Sept 6, 2006"
The above are all indications of time. The malt basically only notes that a business lasting since 1895 is something to be proud of, and the R&B label somewhat the same, but the rest are somewhat relevant. The pin-up calendar can point us to a particular month. Meanwhile, the graffiti, probably from the school (there aren't labels on the textures regarding where they are in the game), notes the date is 2006. This means Cheryl probably went to school during that year.
Cheryl was 7 when Harry dies and 18 years have passed. If we assume the phone and the gas prices place events as modern (2009), and that seems to be the idea, then Cheryl would have been born in 1983 and graduated high school circa 2001. The memory card display in the mall shows 2GB and 4GB cards, which were the most common variety two years ago.
The function of the phone seems to introduce obvious anachronisms (certainly, Dahlia was never sending text messages to Harry if he died in 1991), but the phone also serves to communicate conversations which clearly were not had on the phone or via texting (such as the wedding vows, or the high school graduation speech). I think it's wisest to disregard the phone in that sense, since it is clearly functioning much more as a means to see into Cheryl's memories than it is as its very occasional use as a communications device.