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 £100ish 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
You don’t have to go back far to find DVD ruling the home entertainment roost. Coming into a market still dominated by outdated analogue VHS tapes, DVD delivered better picture quality, 5.1 surround sound, extra features and the added convenience of being able to skip straight to your favourite scenes.
But as quickly as it rose to prominence, DVD dropped into a decline, brought on by several factors. Blu-ray and HDTV services made us realise that DVD’s standard def pictures weren’t actually “all that”, and to add insult to injury, the long-promised arrival of several excellent, cheap on-demand streaming services happened. You probably have a DVD player (or at least something that plays DVDs) under your telly as you read this, but ask yourself: how often do you use it these days?
Cause of death: Blu-ray, Sky HD, Netflix and Lovefilm
Image credit: nrkbeta
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
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
From the days of Space Invaders through Street Fighter II to Dance Dance Revolution, there have been long periods where coin-operated arcade machines led the line and set the agenda for mainstream video games.
While arcade machines are still about – we’re personally quite partial to blasting away at virtual moose on our local dive's Big Buck HD cabinet – 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