Just to be clear: Technology never dies. Technology is relative in time and in the evolution of technology. Technology is important at one time and irrelevant at another.
This list of technologies are examples of products, concepts, ideologies that are not so important today as they once were. They my still be relevant but might not be visible. Then some are just dead.
If you have suggestions please send: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Twitter account @olandri.
Update in June 2012:
The TV Business: Broadcast TV was the king of the 20th century. Today, people are more inclined to want to control their own schedule and watch whatever they want whenever they want. And the ads are getting meaningless because we can ignore them. Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, But The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse
Update in May 2012:
Microsoft Word: If you forget to save your work using this native software you risk loosing your work. If you use Google Docs for example, it will save your work automatically. Makes you wonder. The trend here is that multiple devices and the cloud are gaining more traction. Applications like Word got born in the PC era. Now we all have multiple devices and like to share our work. Word is out of place in the post-PC era. In many work places, where Word is the official document editing tool, the employees turn to Google docs because it allows them to share their work and collaborate. Also, Google Docs works on any platform. In organization with “standard environment”, which means a Dell, Windows and Microsoft Office, people can use Google Docs to escape the limitation imposed by the IT department. Death to Word.
Book Covers: Designing book covers used to be art. This was the way to get the attention of potential readers browsing through the book store. Now it seems that search words for Amazon are more important. And the book cover only has to look good as an icon in a reader. Is the Book Cover Dead?
Getting lost: With all these smartphones and devices people carry with them all the time, getting lost is getting more difficult. And if wearable computing takes off like with Google glasses, navigation is always on. See Google And The Death Of Getting Lost.
Cookbooks: Just put the tablet on the kitchen table and follow the instruction. If you need to help, just watch the video of the cook preparing the mean. Want to convert some measurements? Just select what you prefer. And for how many? Just select and the ingredients are adjusted. The iPad has become the new cookbook.
Privacy: This one has been dead for years but the illusion of it was too strong. Now it’s over, your privacy is gone. There are two reasons for this. First, it is difficult to keep private today. And secondly, there are more advantages of giving some of your privacy. The Facebook guy knows.
Flash: Adoble’s best days with Flash are over. If they want to keep this virtual machine for movies as and browser favorite, they need to reinvent it. Not only is Flash slow and bloated, it is too heavy for many of the new mobile devices. Indeed, there is a reason that Apple did not support Flash on their devices.
Blackberry: Few years ago, if you were in a meeting with business people from North America, it would be a huge surprise if not all of them carried a Backberry. This was the business phone.
Symbian: This is a case study. The Symbian camp did not keep up. They needed are total rewrite in 2009-10, but its hard to maintain a legacy OS in the mobile space where the hardware improvements are fast paced and bandwidth increase make design optimizations irrelevant.
Files System: Remember the C-drive? And paths? With the iPad and mobile OSs the file system is buried. Now Apple’s Lion and Windows 8 are finally doing the file system in. Like they reported when Alexander the Great died, “The King is dead, cloudy.”
CD-ROM: This can apply to DVDs as well. It’s important to understand that the CD is a content distribution technology. It is not the content. People sometime confuse this technology with music which is far from dying. The trend here is that CDs and DVDs are being replaced by on-line distribution. The problem for the music industry is that the payment is associated with the content distribution method. This is causing disruption in the industry. So if anybody wondered why there are no lines at the stores for buying Blu-Ray players, we must realize that using plastic discs to distribute content is competing with on-line Internet content distribution.
Hard-disk: This is not obvious but we might see Solid State Memory replace mechanical hard disks. SSMs are approaching the same price range and if they are much faster, smaller and potentially cheaper we will see them become de facto in devices. This has an interesting implication in architecture and design of software programs as many design patterns are designed around latencies in disk access. Another point is that with faster SSM fewer disks are needed in a systems with high throughput requirements.
Adapters: Image you could by a phone with batteries that can last for months or years. It might be sometime for this but in the meanwhile, charging wirelessly will likely take of leaving the stupid adapter useless.
Newspapers: Delivering news on dead trees seems to have problems. There are many news on troubled newspapers. Subscription is going down as people are turning to the Internet for news and articles. At the same time, devices like Kindle and the Sony reader seem to be picking up.
Closed model Cell Phones: Cell phones are going though a disruptive phase. The trend is that cell phone are becoming more like a small PC. This is very much in line with the Moore’s law. According to antoher law, Metcalfe’s law, these devices will connect to the same network, the Internet. Whatever the technology used to carry voice or data, it will be IP based. All these changes will cause disruption for the phone companies and it migth be difficult for them to keep metering charges for voice and messaging.