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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Gadgets not trendy or current but still cool

Tech stuff the current generation might consider obsolete but are still fun and funky

Change, Change, Change

Given the pace of development and advancement in technology, change is the name of the game. So much so, that gadgets often become obsolete quickly, often soon after they reach their target market. Smart phones and laptops seem like the ultimate tool today with their remarkable ability to perform amazing tasks at our fingertips. But in the exciting domain of technology and with the explosion of artificial intelligence who knows what will come our way next. Innovation drives our century and indeed our imagination, without doubt we are poised on the cutting edge of exciting change so no one is seeking to turn back the clock.

Even so, we're taking a nostalgic walk down memory lane, looking at some of the best, most memorable gadgets in recent times that have become outdated or irrelevant by better, modern technologies.

Remembering some treasures

The bulky VHS tapes were staples until the early part of this decade, housing all family memories of trips, milestone events and entertainment of every sort. Soon these were replaced by the sleek DVDs and DVD players and even that is a thing of the past with almost everything being stored on the cloud, that vast ether space not occupying any physical space in our households. Cassette tapes gained popularity in the 80s but by the 90s were outsold by compact discs which soon became the standard format.

For years, floppy discs were the primary portable storage media for the computers. Floppy discs were prone to "breakages" and if you decided to be creative they could be converted to a coaster or wall art. Then came the writable compact disc. They were optical and could hold 700MB! Even though CDs and DVD came along as the replacement, most manufacturers have discontinued making devices that can access them, as cloud storage is the norm.

The typewriter would certainly be considered a relic, whether it be the old mechanical or the electric version, but once upon a time, it was the holy grail that translated the written word. For those of us who learned to type on a typewriter like me in an earlier iteration as a journalist, the tendency to keep "banging" on a computer keyboard never quite goes away!

As we reflect on those golden years, there are so many gadgets to explore be it the original iPod, the Motorola flip phone, cassette tapes, the Atari video game console, Polaroid cameras, even the blackberry - the list is endless. Launched in October 2001, the first iPod held 1,000 songs on its 5GB internal hard drive. It's five buttons on the front were minimalist enough for the day, and later versions got a scroll-wheel for screen navigation, then a click-wheel to replace even the buttons. It will always hold a place in every music lover's heart. Walkman, Discman and MP3 players, all were several portable music players that were hugely popular but still eventually fell into obsolescence when the next trend came by.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, gaming arcades were popular while the first version of of home based gaming was the Atari video computer system which used plug-in game cartridges. In 1989, Nintendo released a gaming console that would dominate the gaming market. The Game Boy was a classic handheld gaming system, with a monochrome green and black screen and a simple design. Big gaming titles like Tetris helped the Game Boy to sell over a million units in the first year alone!

Looking ahead

While wondering about the future of technology and all the great gadgets to come, we know they have evolved from the inventions of the past. Vinyl records are probably one of the most revered formats for storing audio recordings. Available in varying forms since the late 1800s, the vinyl record is still in production today and is sworn to be the best by audiophiles and sound enthusiasts alike. No surprisingly we have witnessed a sales resurgence of late. Vinyl is not obsolete, refusing to die, a perfect example of the old evolving into the new.

On the other hand, GPS as a standalone navigation technology is nearing the end of it's life span, even as smartphones and navigation apps take over. Car manufacturers do offer to install it but more as optional package. Technology in our living room like the clunky televisions has been replaced by streamlined LCD and plasma flat screen televisions pushing CRT sets into obsolescence around 2007.

And above all lets not forget how the Internet has revolutionized our world forever, bringing knowledge to our fingertips, sharing information and connecting worlds at the touch of a mouse.

We live in exciting times, the golden age for technology. Devices are ultra-portable, fitting right in our pockets, and networks are as fast as lightning and wireless is the name of the game. Evolution in technology will continue to bring innovation, alter and mutate, in short rewrite the story of every successive generation. Let us continue to remain receptive, open minded and flexible. Otherwise we will be left behind.

We are stronger together


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