Technology is a rapidly advancing and evolving sector. In a moment, newly innovated technology tends to overtake old technologies and becomes mainstream. This process gives rise to the phenomenon called obsolescence of technology. Old technologies that were the bedrock of modern technologies get entirely replaced by advanced systems and have become obsolete. It has happened with some revolutionary technologies of previous generations which were once extremely popular. History is replete with path-breaking technologies which have attained a massive following. Though they have become obsolete, the glory of old technologies is still popularly remembered. Though there are many iconic technologies, our top 10 list of most popular outdated technologies are:
1. Dot Matrix Printers
Modern printers with better technologies have already surpassed dot-matrix printers. But DMPs were very popular and one of the first types of printers. The prints that DMPs produced were not of high quality. Though they are costly and less effective than other printers, they can print multiple copies simultaneously, which wasn’t possible in inkjet printers. Though outdated, they still get used in places that require bulk printing at one go.
2. Cathode Ray Tube
Cathode ray tube televisions started entering the market in the mid-1920s. Soon, CRT TVs became highly popular and a symbol of prestige. These bulky TVs gets constantly redeveloped. They became a sensation when Technicolor and computing systems got introduced. CRT TVs became obsolete when better display technologies such as LCDs entered the market in 2007.
3. Floppy Disks
Floppy disks first entered the market in the 1970s. They were mainstream and popular storage devices for a long time. The original 8-inch floppy disc had the potential of storing only 80Kb data. Constantly reinvented their technology to increase sizes till the 1980s. Floppy disks were also very fragile and got corrupted quickly. With the advent of better storage devices, floppy disks started becoming obsolete. The floppy disks are iconic storage devices that represent a generation of computing.
4. Feature Phones
Feature phones are the replica of a ground-breaking era that saw companies like Nokia and Motorola leading the cell phone market. Feature phones are keypad phones that look exactly like the earlier generations’ mobile telephones. They have simple GUI and non-touch displays. Feature phones provide limited functions such as voice calling and text messaging. The most iconic feature of such phones is the snake game. Many companies make these low-cost phones though they are obsolete in modern times.
5. Compact Disk
The Compact Disk was a revolution and a dominant digital optical storage device. CDs got developed by the collaborative efforts of Sony and Phillips. Initially used to store audio and play audio recordings through players. They first appeared in 1982. Over the years, CDs saw many changes, including the added capability to keep all forms of media, especially digital video. Though obsolete, CDs are still in currency in the music industry.
6. MiniDisc Players
MiniDisc players were optical disc-based digital audio players that were iconic. Though they could not become as popular as other digital devices of the time, they had immense potential in storage capacity. They were able to store 1 GB of data and could play audio for almost 80 minutes. Sony primarily sold these in the 1990s. With the advent of MP3 players, they started losing whatever little hold they had in the market and finally became extinct when Sony stopped its production in 2013.
7. Nintendo Gameboy
The Game Boy was released in 1989 by Nintendo and soon became a sensation in the classic handheld gaming sector. It dominated the gaming console market for a long time due to its ability to run exclusive Nintendo gaming titles. The Game Boy got followed by many reinvented versions that helped evolve the mobile gaming industry. Though the console is now obsolete, the Game Boy still lives and is popular because of a slew of digital emulators and Nintendo’s own “Virtual Console” scheme.
8. Polaroid Cameras
Polaroid cameras came into being in the 1960s and became very popular and expensive. They were a considerable upgrade over the reel camera as they enabled people to divorce the tedious process of photo development. A person could see one’s photo seconds after taking it. With the ascent of digital cameras and smartphones, polaroid cameras became obsolete. Though they are still available in markets and gets constantly produced by Fujifilm, they get only reduced to being an innovative and niche technology.
VHS is an acronym for the Video Home System. VHS cassette tapes became very popular in the 1980s for recording and playing. Though popular, it met with severe competition from another iconic recording tape standard called Betamax. VHS defeated Betamax and became the dominant and most popular consumer-level video format. The VHS eventually lost the popularity the efficiency of the DVD and got wholly removed from the market by 2008.
This top 10 list cannot end without mentioning BlackBerry and BlackBerry OS. One of the most popular smartphone brands in the early 2010s, BlackBerry still has a cult following though it has been out of the mainstream market for a long time. It was famous for its iconic handheld QWERTY keyboards, propriety BlackBerry OS and secure networking. BlackBerry gets crushed by the competitive smartphone market after 2013 and has not been able to make a return. Recently, BlackBerry announced that it would not support the sensational OS, and the classic BlackBerry phones would become obsolete.