We visit the intensive care unit filled with formerly cutting-edge products that are on a fast track to extinction.
No longer a part of nearly 25 percent of U.S. households, landline phones are nosediving as cellular upstarts are exclusively nuzzling the ears of 50 percent of Americans aged 25 to 29. Hello?
Email, smartphones and touchscreens that allow users to sign and deliver documents electronically have torn up this paper tiger. Who’s going to convert a digital document to hardcopy when it can be sent electronically with the push of a button?
The Computer Mouse
The mouse that used to roar from every desktop will soon be snuffed by motion and touch options found on most new “smart” tech. Analysts from Gartner Inc., which bills itself as “the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company,” predicted that the little mouse would be extinct by 2012. Tick… tick… tick…
Once cutting-edge technology for delivering up-to-the-minute notifications to stock brokers, doctors, rappers and drug dealers, the beeper is the Edsel of the communication industry. Motorola was the dominant beeper manufacturer, and they stopped making them 10 years ago. The 45 million folks who used them at that time have since dissipated to fewer than 100,000.
Half of the world’s movie screens will be digital by 2013, according to a report by cinema analysts Dodona Research Inc. Hollywood is gunning for digital-only delivery to theatres, saving the cost of film prints and the shipment of metal containers.
Plastic is melting! According to TheStreet.com, the number of U.S. credit cards in use has declined from over 70 million to roughly 62 million over the past year. RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips in smartphones now allow you to pay for your items with one swipe, while mobile apps will also facilitate digital payments.
As consumers opt for Blu-ray and HD discs, and stream movies via Hulu and Netflix, the DVD player is going the way of the VCR. In the U.K. alone, DVD sales are down by nearly 2 million units from 2007, according to British market analysts at Mintel. They also say that number will fall below 4.5 million by 2014.
Cell Phone Chargers
Wireless charger pads reap energy from the air via ambient radio waves and can charge multiple gadgets simultaneously. They also save energy, shutting down your device when the battery isn’t in use. Worldwide production of a universal charger is predicted by 2012 by the London mobile industry group GSMP.
This would be considered impossible two years ago, but Apple has eaten its young. With the growth of the iPhone and iPad, the iPod is already an antique. According to PCWorld, iPod sales have declined 17 percent each year since 2009, with Apple mobile marketing dollars increasing each of the same three years.
The Kindle and the Nook will soon be overwhelmed by the multiple tablet offerings, which allow users to surf the Internet and watch videos. Jeff Besos, CEO of Amazon, says the Kindle is for “the serious reader,” while the iPad is for a broader audience. He also says that “90 percent of households are not serious reading households.”
LCD TVs that use LED backlighting should send Plasma to the tube-and-antennae backwater of TV technology. Plasma TV sales began declining in 2006, according to DisplaySearch, which charted a decline rate of nearly half a million units worldwide beginning in 2009.
Brian O’Connor is a print and online journalist. He is a former contributing editor at Men’s Fitness and executive editor at Genre. He has also written for Slate, San Francisco Weekly and the New York Daily News, among other publications.
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