With society obsessed with the idea of smaller, smarter, and sexier gadgets, we’re often guilty of overlooking the old, clunky, and chunkier devices that we still rely on every day. Yes, we might queue for hours to get our hands on ever-slimmer iPhones and ultra-lightweight tablets, but for the most part we’re still happy to use a frightening array of old technologies and devices that litter our homes and offices.
In order to draw attention to some of the technological dinosaurs that are still popular today, we decided to explore five ‘obsolete’ technologies – five pieces of kit (and the bright ideas behind them) that should have been replaced years ago, but which still linger on. Of course, there are hundreds and thousands of things we’re forgetting – so if you’re still hanging on to some older gadgets or gizmos, do get in touch to let us know!
CRT Monitors and TVs.
These days, you might be hard-pressed to find an older CRT TV or computer monitor in the average home – most people will have adopted newer LCD or plasma-screen TVs, which are lighter, thinner, and take up considerably less space. Keep searching though, and you’ll be surprised by how many CRT monitors and TVs are still floating around!
Popular in offices all over the world due to their lower cost, CRT screens are highly valued by competitive gamers and film enthusiasts! That’s because the older screens are much better at handling multiple resolutions, and can display colours far more accurately than their newer counterparts. They’re also less prone to input lag – the tiny fraction of time the TV takes to respond to input – which is especially important in computer and video games that demand rapid responsiveness, such as fighting and shooting games.
Payphones and Landlines
With almost everybody carrying around mobile phones these days, it’s surprising how many landline telephones are still used to place calls every day. Similarly, whilst payphones might be slowly disappearing from our streets, they’re still used fairly frequently by people wishing to place calls – perhaps when their mobile phone battery has run out of juice?
Statistics show that while younger people are choosing to forgo paying for a landline – between broadband internet services and their mobile phones, they don’t need the inflexibility of a corded phone – as many as 2 in 3 people continue to literally tie themselves down with a line rental! With mobile phone batteries getting better than ever, handset prices coming down, and the sheer usefulness of mobile phones though, it won’t be long before the landline goes the way of the dodo – or should that be the Flappy Bird?
CDs, DVDs, and Flash Drives.
Physical media used to be the only way to save, share, and record your favourite songs, your homework, and your holiday snaps. The trend started with tapes, and the humble floppy disk, and evolved quickly to DVDs and USB Flash Drives. As the amount of information that could be stored grew, the size of the physical media got progressively smaller. Today, of course, we’re able to access every song that’s ever been sung, every book that’s ever been written, and every movie that’s ever been filmed just by pulling out our phone – but that doesn’t mean we always do…
Some purists continue to hang on to their older CDs and DVDS (I still buy physical copies of my favourite movies, for example), choosing physical copies of their data rather than buying into the flexibility and other potential benefits of Cloud storage. Despite everything being backed up online these days, the worry that your CD might get scratched, or your flash drive might get lost is one that many people still face today.
A controversial entry, no doubt, but paper is by far the most ubiquitous, and the most out-dated, piece of technology on our list. In fact, it’s so simple, and so ancient, that calling it ‘technology’ somehow feels wrong! From newspapers, to flyers, to books, and bills, paper is everywhere in our society and has been for thousands of years – but isn’t it time we replaced it?
The technology to replace paper already exists – and we’re already using it! Emails, ebooks, and online bills are increasingly common, whilst advertisers using billboards and posters are slowly making the switch from paper to LCD screens. These new technologies are more flexible and have a whole host of impressive features that sets them apart from paper – they can be programmed to be interactive, they can display moving images as well as stills, and they can be instantaneously updated. With so many benefits, it’s hopefully only a matter of time before paper disappears!
You might be forgiven for thinking that touchscreens are a new technology that have only been around for a few years. While the technology certainly only became popular with the rise of smartphones and tablet computers, it’s actually been around for over 40 years! The first touch screen was invented in the late 1960s, when it was used by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (or CERN, which might be a more familiar name).
Touchscreens continued to be used in various devices throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s – but it wasn’t until the iPhone was launched in 2007 that Apple helped reinvent the touchscreen with a multi-touch approach. Touchscreen technology continues to evolve today, becoming more sensitive, responsive, and advanced over time. Apple will be looking to reinvent touchscreen again with the upcoming iPhone 6S’s ability to register how hard you’re pressing the glass… but after 40 years, isn’t it time we came up with another way to control our devices??