10 gadgets you’ll probably never use again

Please give a moment of silence for these fallen warriors of the tech world, killed off by better alternatives

These gadgets once ruled the Earth but now, like electronic dinosaurs, they are extinct – or near enough. Join us on a journey and we mourn the tech you used once but probably never will again.

Image credit: April Killingsworth

Cheap point-and-shoot cameras

Once a common sight at pubs, birthday parties and weddings, the humble point-and-shoot digital camera is in steep, sorry decline. While sales of DSLRs, compact system cameras and premium compacts are healthy, it seems that nobody is interested in the $194 snapper these days.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why. Smartphone cameras are now almost the equal of a point-and-shoot in terms of image quality, with the added bonuses of easy photo sharing, automatic cloud backup and portability. Plus, you always have one on you.

Cause of death: Smartphones

Fax machines

In the age of email, text messages and instant messages, no one bothers with the fax machine anymore. The days of waiting over the fax machine for that distinct dial tone is a thing of the past. With the exception of some offices, email has taken over as the defacto medium for sending over documents.

Documents that are emailed over are as legible or even better than the ones that are faxed over. Even if you need to have something signed, scanning the document with your signature would be more than sufficient. Then there's the time saved when multiple pages are involved. Where the fax would have taken ages to get a 20 page document faxed over, the process of scanning said documents and sending them over via email will take less than half the time. Not to mention, you will not bear the sins of a tree killer.

Cause of death: Email

Image credit: 5starstationery

More after the break...

Pagers

Beloved of rappers, dealers in illicit substances and anyone trying to have a busy social life at a time when even basic mobile phones cost more than giant televisions, pagers are now signifiers of a more innocent, sepia-toned era. For the uninitiated, they were small devices able to receive a short text message – or sometimes just a number. We're unfortunately old enough to remember the process: calling a human operator, dictating a message and having that passed on to a friend's pager. The holy grail was a two-way pager, able to send as well as receive!

As with many of our other entries you'll see here, the downfall of pagers was the advent of affordable mobile phones, which offered everything a pager could – and much more besides.

Cause of death: mobile phones

Image credit: Jim

Pocket calculators

Once an essential part of the secondary school attendee’s kit – and not simply for its ability to display rude words when turned upside down – the humble pocket calculator has fallen on hard times since the rise of the mobile phone. Even early mobiles offered a calculator function, meaning maths students could leave the ever-reliable Casio or Texas Instruments calc gathering dust at home. RIP.

Cause of death: phones (both dumb and smart) and computers

Image credit: Pablo

Arcade machines

From the days of Space Invaders through Street Fighter II to Dance Dance Revolution, there have been long periods when coin-operated arcade machines led the line and set the agenda for mainstream video games.

While arcade machines are still about, you’d have a hard time convincing anyone that they’re anywhere near the cutting edge of gaming today. Since the PlayStation arrived on the scene, arcade gaming has been in decline – and now it’s the home consoles and PCs that are leading the charge when it comes to innovation and graphical power.

Interestingly, arcade machines’ best chance of surviving in the modern gaming climate may be looking back to their past. Retro gaming establishments such as Barcade, which allows craft beer-sipping Brooklynites to drop spare quarters on classics like Gauntlet, Joust and Final Fight, are keeping the arcade dream alive. Just.

Cause of death: home consoles

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