Are these technologies really on the way out?

March 31, 2012

Are these technologies really on the way out?Do you expect to finally lose your keys forever?  Is the camera on your phone good enough? Do you think landlines will totally die out? Do you actually still use a fax machine? Do you still watch TV programs when they are scheduled? Do you long for the demise of cords?  Do you still read printed newspapers? Are touch keyboards enough or do you like to have actual external keyboards?  The items and more are predicted to be extinct soon.

According to the The Telegraph there are 12 pieces of technology that we use today that will be gone in the not so distant future.  Whether you believe that prediction about all of the devices, some already show signs of being in their death throes.  Take for instance the printed newspaper.  I quit taking the local paper several years ago when I discovered The Telegraph, The New York Times, The Washington Post and my local paper could be found online without having to waste a single tree.  Until a year or so ago, they were all free to read but now there are limitations to how many articles you can read for free without buying an online subscription.

As for digital cameras, they will always be available for serious hobbyists and pros.  For the most part, smartphone cameras serve the same role as the ancient Kodak Brownie.  They allow you to take quick pictures to preserve memories and share with friends.  Simple point and shoot cameras may indeed be obsolete within a few years.

Keyboards are still easier to use than on screen touch keyboards.  Typing is faster and mistakes are fewer.  Using a tablet with an external keyboard is currently quicker.  Most people hunt and peck when they get an online keyboard even on smartphones.  Will improvements in on screen keyboards really spell the demise of the physical keyboard?  Maybe.

Is physical storage really on its way out?  While a lot of people now purchase their music online and while a lot of people are using cloud storage instead of CDs, DVDs, and backup hard disk drives, there are still good reasons for having physical media.  For one thing music on a CD and DVD is treated differently in the legal system than digital media.  You can freely loan or sell movies and music stored on a CD/DVD without worrying that the RIAA and Movie industry organizations will come after you.

So what about eReaders like the wildly popular Kindle and Nook, are they going to be digital relics soon?  Maybe.  While smartphones do have Kindle, Nook, and iBook apps, the screens are still small enough that reading on one, especially for someone with aging or poor eyesight is a strain.  The larger screen of tablets, which eReaders are morphing into, makes it more probable that devices dedicated to reading only may be passing but eReading is not.

Television as we know it is changing.  Once upon a time most TVs got only three channels.  Then we were able to get more channels using UHF channels and rabbit ears (ask your grandparents).  The we got cable with hundreds of channels and nothing to watch according to many people.  Then came TiVO where you could record lots shows for viewing later.  Now you can find not only your favorite TV shows but movies, music, documentaries and internet only shows on your computer.  You can hook up your computer and watch them on your TV.  What’s next in this evolution?  I’m not sure but ABC, NBC, and CBS have lasted through all of the previous changes, I bet they make through this one as well.

Mp3 players are now used as a freebie for senior citizens to sign up for AARP.  Yes, they are on their way out.  Your smartphone will carry the music you really listen to and you always have it with you. Nuff said.

Landlines will still be around for a while.  Even with the explosion of cellphones, businesses still depend on landlines for their stationary offices and many families do to.  While individual members of a family may have their own cellphone, a central landline number is still one way that you can reach anyone in the family.  Also, they work when your mobile phone battery dies and one or more family members misplace their cellphones.

BlackBerry’s are another device that is probably on its way out.  The company has not kept up with technology, has had too many problems with its network and its devices just aren’t snazzy enough to keep people interested anymore.  While some only want a business phone with a keyboard and nothing else, most people will spring for a smartphone if they can.  After all, being able to Skype by Wi-Fi to save minutes is great.

While everything seems to be cordless these days, there are still some uses for such things as power cords.  I would love it if my entertainment unit simply had power cords for each device instead of multiple cables snaking everywhere.  That day will probably be here soon.  What will take a lot longer will be disposing of power cords.  While there are a lot of exciting demonstrations of lights and cellphones being powered cordlessly, there are still some issues with electromagnetic technology.

If you have a scanner, you really don’t need a fax machine, but there are still too many business that rely on their fax machine for them to disappear anytime soon.  Scanning in your documents and sending them by email is much cheaper.  If you have a lot of documents to scan, a fax machine might actually make more sense. 

So that’s my take on the 12 technologies that are expected to die soon.  What your opinion?


Above photo from South Wales Monuments

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4 Responses to “Are these technologies really on the way out?”

  1. Godless:

    it’s not so much a death for most of these, more of an evolution I would say.

    The touch keyboard for example, is still a keyboard, it’s just evolved to be part of the display, the death of this would be voice recognition getting to a point where there is no longer a need to type in at all, you would simply dictate what you wanted to input.

    Some of the others are a merging of techs that used to be separate items, for instance the phone /camera / TV & computers, all these things can now be found as varying hybrids with TVs that are all but home computers. Phones, which are all but computers. & cameras and video capture.

    more and more these devices can be linked to each other, to the point where just about any device in the home can communicate with any other device, transferring music pictures and video between them or streaming to them.

    I think the future looks bright, even if I have no idea, where it’s all heading.

  2. Joey:

    I agree that paper newspapers and magazines are on their way out as these readings become more and more available on tablets and smartphones.

    I also agree that phones will soon replace many point and shoot cameras, since phones such as the iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy SII, and MyTouch 4G Slide have cameras that take pictures that are just as good, if not better than many expensive cameras.

    I think that as keyboards get smarter when typing, many people would still prefer to have a physical keyboard. I have the new iPad, and a wireless keyboard, and prefer it when I am typing long papers. I find it more useful that having the on-screen keyboard make many mistakes.

  3. Jim:

    The end of CDs and DVDs for data storage has been talked about for a long time…not going to happen. Not just for the reason you mentioned, but also because cloud storage is going to become an accessibility and privacy nightmare. Just ask the people who had legitimate files backed up on Megaupload. Also ask the people who have all of their backups on external USB hard drives, and the clicking noises they start making after some use (check out Amazon’s reviews under BD-R drives). Optical media is a pain, but I’ve got 20 year old data backups that I can access instantly; no other technology can or ever will offer that. I think people are figuring that out. Try to send someone a 1 gig MPEG of your Christmas videos; the cheapest and easiest way is to snail mail a DVD.

    Newspapers are dead, not only because they’re not targeted to one’s interests and are inconvenient, but because they’re not even the best way to find out what’s really going on.

    Tablets and smartphones will probably continue to suck up the functions of cameras, eReaders, Blackberrys, and MP3 players. But, keyboards will still be necessary for a long time, as will landline phones–in this part of the country, there are too many power outages to not have a landline backup. Fax machines seem to be used only by older business people…20 years and these will be gone.

    TV, though, is an interesting case…people are trying to cut their cable/dish subscription, because it offers less and less every day. Multiple channels of over-the-air network stations, especially for big live events, combined with a Netflix streaming subscription is becoming an option if you live in an area with good TV reception. With any luck, cable companies will be forced to offer channels a la carte, which would put a lot of that useless industry out of busines. The rest of your entertainment would be requested over various net-based providers, as you see fit.

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