RIP: 10 tech things that died in 2016
As 2016 draws to a close, we take this opportunity to pay tribute to technology and gadgets that exited from our lives this year. Some of these tech things were relatively new and died a quick death. Others had lived their course and served their purpose, and simply faded away into oblivion.
In either case, may they rest in peace as the world readies for bigger (or smaller, as the case may be), faster and better tech in 2017.
PS: Do leave your thoughts and share your memories of using / liking / spiking these deceased technologies in the comments section below.
iPhone’s audio jack
After months of speculation, in September, Apple officially announced that it was ditching the 3.55 mm audio jack. The latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus do not come with headphone jacks. However, an adaptor for legacy headphones and a pair of “Lightning-connected” EarPods are bundled in with the phones. Apple said it was ditching the jack to make space for more innovation.
The BlackBerry Classic, the last phone to have the company’s iconic keyboard and trackpad was spiked by the Canadian phonemaker in July. The Classic was launched in late 2014 to attract users who preferred physical keyboards to touchscreen ones.
“Sometimes, it can be very tough to let go. For BlackBerry, and more importantly for our customers, the hardest part in letting go is accepting that change makes way for new and better experiences,” BlackBerry’s chief operating officer and general manager for devices, Ralph Pini said in an emotional official blog post.
It was truly the end of an era when the last VCR or video cassette recorder maker — Funai Electric — in July announced that it is stopping production. The Japanese company had continued to make VHS (video home system) compatible recorders till 13 years after Sony stopped manufacturing them. But, it decided to finally stop production due to declining sales, drawing the curtains on a technology that brought much cinematic joy and is etched in the memories of all of us who grew up in the 80s and the 90s.
The world’s largest Torrent site for downloading copyright-protected films, music and software for free, Kickass Torrents, was shut down in July after its alleged owner was arrested in Poland. While this came as good news for artists who were being cheated of royalty — Kickass Torrents had never paid copyright holders ever since it launched in 2008 — it was heartbreaking for those who enjoyed those millions of free (albeit illegal) downloads. There has been a resurrection of sorts, though, with the original keepers of the site launching a reincarnated version recently.
Twitter’s video service is not technically dead yet, but the company sounded the death knell on Vine in October when it announced that it would discontinue the six-second video sharing app in the “coming months”. While Vine had its share of followers, it failed to match up to the innovation and popularity of Instagram, Facebook, and After the news broke, one of the co-founders of Vine, Dom Hofmann, tweeted: “Now realising that a lot of people really loved Vine. If you did, thank you for using it. It meant the world.”
Nintendo Wii U
After endless speculation of will they, won’t they pull the plug on the Wii U, Nintendo made it official in November that it was indeed killing off the gaming console. Despite many innovations, the Nintendo console, which was launched in 2012, had failed to make a mark. The company cited dwindling sales as the reason behind the decision to stop production.
Earlier in April, the rein of another legend from the gaming industry came to an end. After over a decade of producing the consoles, Microsoft decided to discontinue the Xbox 360 citing challenges of continuing production of a product so old as the industry take giant steps forward in technology.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
The phone had a rather fiery end. Samsung decided to permanently discontinue the model in October after reports that the model continued to catch fire. In September it had recalled 2.5 million phones after complaints of exploding batteries and replaced them with new ones that were apparently safe. Despite that, the device continued to catch fire, forcing Samsung to kill the Galaxy Note 7.
Apple’s Wi-Fi routers
Although the official announcement is yet to happen, according to a Bloomberg November report, Apple has stopped the production of its Wi-Fi routers — AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and the AirPort Time Capsule. As per the report, the decision to strike off the range is motivated by the company’s decision to concentrate on the core consumer business.
Motorola branded phones
The iconic brand name (if you remember, a lot of us in India started our mobile journeys with the Motorola T-180) will be replaced by ‘Moto by Lenovo’. Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. This marks the end of a glorious chapter in wireless technology as Motorola invented the mobile phone. The decision to phase out the Motorola brand name was announced in January this year.