The pace at which technology is evolving today is impressive. Yes, this means we have more and more gadgets to look forward to that will make our lives simpler, but what it also means is a trail of technology relics left behind that were necessary at some point of time, but are outdated today. Here’s a look at technological artifacts that once shined in all glory, only to have dissolved into oblivion today. Yet so, they manage to bring many a smile when you reminisce about how technology was back in the day.
1. Personal assistant devices
A predecessor to smartphones, the Personal Digital Assistant and Palm have now become obsolete. PalmPilot was especially seen as an inseparable part of every corporate official’s outfit, and it was what you could call the BlackBerry back in the day. You could find many business executives sporting their PalmPilots, stylus at hand, tapping away tasks of their electronic timekeepers. The PDA, despite floating into oblivion, laid a strong foundation for touchscreen technology, and it was not long before phone with touchscreens came to the fore. The previous resistive touchscreens were swapped with capacitive touchscreens, and the stylus with fingers, and touchscreen phones were all the trend, as PDA moved out to make space for the new entrant.
2. Social media networking sites
There was a time when social media networking sites Orkut and MySpace were all the rage; to be more precise the time was before Twitter and Facebook caught on among online audiences. So what went wrong? How could sites that had millions and millions of users drop so drastically, and how did a new entrant manage to become the next big thing? The problem was Orkut and MySpace no longer had the cool edge as Facebook, and with it came the inadvertent shift to the much cooler sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Another thing that weighed down these social networking legends is poor management. Take MySpace for example, the site began to lose its sheen when the makers decides to turn it into an entertainment pit-stop and impose that on its users. This clearly did not go down well with its users who began to drift to Facebook that gave users all the reigns. While Zuckerberg may have certainly done it right back then, it makes you wonder how long will it be before Twitter and Facebook face the same fate, and new fad steals all the glory in the social media networking space.
3. Portable music players
The music industry must have given a standing ovation to Sony’s Walkman, when the portable tape-player made its entry. The Walkman was originally invented for Akio Morita, Sony Co-chairman, who wanted a device that would let him listen to his favorite tracks while on the plane. Everywhere you went you would find people wearing large headphones with the Walkman fastened to a buckle, and then it was time for the iPod. Once Steve Jobs returned to Apple, the iPod was rolled out, and soon dislodged the Sony Walkman from store shelves. The iPod had a good run, but has hit a snag at present.
In fact, other MP3 players in the market are witnessing a similar fate as well, with Zune never hitting the market and other MP3 players shutting down. So what’s making MP3 players obsolete? It is just that smartphones today offer good audio quality and ample storage spaces, so why would you want to walk around with two devices when you have one that can do the same. Also, online streaming services like Spotify are having a field day, as iTunes weeps in the backdrop.
4. Storage formats
Storage formats have been evolving through the decades. Storage technology has come a long way from its initial days when VHS video and BetaMax were battling it out. Betamax first forayed in during the mid-1970s, a Sony creation that inspired the VHS format a year after, to not allow the maker to monopolize the market with its format. The 3.5” Floppy Disk was a progress from its bulkier version enabled to have a larger storage capacity. Of course these went out of trend by the end of the 90s when DVDs, CDs and USB drives took over.
Zip drives, despite their short stint manged to act as an effective bridge between CDs and the Floppy Disc, although the popularity of the two were in a way responsible for its failure. HD DVD and Blu Ray came into vogue and locked heads many times, the optical discs offering superior storage options to DVDs. Today, going by how cloud storage is faring, it would not be wrong to assume that Blu-ray may soon be well on its way out. Just give it a few years.
Which popular tech gadget will be an addition to this list? Add your thoughts in the comment section below.