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BW Businessworld

On The Verge Of Extinction

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2012 — the last calendar you'll ever need! If you believe the Mayans (or movie director Roland Emmerich), this may be the year life as we know it on planet Earth may come to an abrupt halt. Or not. Either which way, 2012 is more likely to spell doomsday for these gadgets, as they slowly (but mind you, very surely) make their way off to that big scrapheap in the sky.
 
Feature Phones: It's making less and less sense to even consider the feature phone, or dumb phone as it is often referred, what with the spate of sub-4000 rupee Android smartphones like the MTS Livewire and the MTAG 3.1, to name a few. Feature phones don't run apps (other than the limited set that are shipped with the device) and don't offer anywhere near a comparable level of functionality. Even the die-hard ‘I need my phone only for calls' are likely to be charmed by the rather tempting smartphone prices. Endangered species? Absolutely.
 
3D Glasses: Done right, 3D-tech in your living room is an awesome proposition, until you see yourself in the mirror and realise how 1970s you look with those glasses on, not to mention the cost of most 3D glasses and the inconvenience of factoring in your own eyewear. Already, companies have launched commercial glasses-free 3D on phones (LG Optimus 3D, HTC Evo 3D), portable gaming consoles (Nintendo 3DS), apart from a slew of laptops and at least one big-screen TV from Toshiba that sport this feature. Expect to see many more such in 2012, and the long overdue demise of the pair of glasses no one really wants.
 
Dedicated GPS Devices: Standalone GPS units, the kind you install in your car for voice-based navigation, are in trouble, big trouble. Factor in the high entry point — some GPS units cost in excess of Rs 15,000 – and the dedicated nature of their use, and you honestly wonder why most would invest in one, when a smart phone comes equipped with the same technology. With Google and Nokia offering the technology (and maps) free of cost and dedicated smartphone apps retailing at a fraction of the cost of the GPS units, its days are numbered.
 
MP3 Players: First, there was the Walkman and then the Discman — remember those? The MP3 player has had a good run, but it's sadly next in the line for extinction. Not only do most phones come with the ability to play your favorite tunes, and store more tunes than you could care to play with added storage via memory cards, with 3G capabilities, smart phones these days can also stream internet radio through a bunch of apps such as Last.FM as well. Seriously, how long will our pockets suffer additional devices when one omnipresent smartphone does the job?
 
Optical Media (CDs/DVDs): Consider the facts— broadband is getting faster, most software is now purchasable via app stores online, and data needs are making DVD and CD capacities seem almost anachronistic in an age of muti-gigabyte thumb drives and cloud storage. Plus the risk you run if age-old CD backups are hit by a fungus attack and just aren't readable. And then there are the ultrabooks – the hottest trend in computing that's posed to revitaliSe the notebook segment — they ship with no CD/DVD drive! It's not hard to picture a world without those shiny silver discs, is it?
 
Windows Vista: If you're on a PC, there's a good chance you're on Windows 7, or Windows XP. Believe it or not, tons of individuals and organisations are still hanging onto Windows XP, and directly upgrading to Windows 7, if at all. And with Windows 8 on the horizon, it's safe to say we won't be seeing much more of Windows Vista.
 
Trackball Mice: Granted, modern laser-assisted mice just cannot replace the sense of satisfaction that comes from cleaning out a trackball mouse and seeing dramatic improvements in pointer response. But their time is up, and I hope none of you have to go back to one of these mice again!
 
Alarm Clocks: Quick — when was the last time you used an alarm clock? Most folks I ask seem to have switched over completely to their cellphones for keeping alarms, and a clear sign that the alarm clock is on its way out is that manufacturers are turning to increasingly desperate ways to make theirs stand out. Some, like the one that scurries around and has to be caught before it can be switched off, are cute, but reek of desperation. Pardon the pun, but time is running out for the humble bedside assistant.
 
Fax Machines: That we still have them around is the most surprising, almost like it is a homage to times gone by when sending a document around the world was a really big deal. Email's been around for a while now, and I cant remember the last time I used a fax machine or when someone asked me to fax them anything.
 
Dial-up Internet Connections: While many readers may not even remember a time before broadband connections, dial-up connections still have a while to go the way of the dodo. Still, the numbers are waning, and the once-familiar dialup ‘primal scream' (the sound two modems make when they meet) is rapidly fading.
 
Netbooks: Their proposition is compelling — they're still smaller, lighter and cheaper than a laptop, but the anemic processor and tiny display let the consumer experience down. Today, compact notebooks with fast processors can be had for a small premium over a notebook, and tablets are better suited if you're all about just web surfing and light entertainment. This one can go either way in 2012 — really depends how much Intel hammers home the Ultrabooks value prop.

technocool at kanwar dot net
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