Things move quickly in the tech world. In fact, they move so quickly that half of the things we were looking forward to seeing in 2016 already seem like old news.
As we look ahead to the gadgets we hope to get our hands on in the future, we can’t help but think that there are a few we’d like to fall by the wayside. The next few years will undoubtedly bring devices, service, and apps that we aren’t even able to imagine yet. But in the process, there are a few products that will likely be made obsolete by new tech. Read on to find out about what gadgets are most likely to be on their way out.
We’ve known it for a while, but passwords are definitely on their way out. As The Cheat Sheet previously reported, Google has tested out a method to enable you to sign into your Google account without your password, just your phone. And smartphones made by manufacturers around the world are integrating fingerprint sensors, retina scanners, and other biometric sensors to enable you to sign into your phone securely, without the use of a passcode or a password. That means that you’ll both save time each time you sign in, and that you won’t put your files and data at risk by opting for an insecure password for the sake of convenience.
2. DVD and BluRay players
Services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go enable you to stream all of your favorite TV shows and movies, which means that those frequent trips to the Redbox kiosk or the DVD rental store for DVDs and BluRays probably aren’t part of your routine anymore. So when your current DVD or BluRay player gives up, are you really going to have a compelling reason to replace it? Most likely not, particularly if you’ve upgraded to a smart TV or a set-top box that makes streaming all your favorite content easy.
3. Landline phones
These days, everyone has a smartphone, and it turns out that lots of your friends who talk to you all day on iMessage or are constantly posting to Snapchat probably don’t have a landline telephone at home. As mobile networks (slowly) increase their areas of coverage and get more reliable, it’ll be difficult to make the argument that you need a landline in case of emergency. Especially since even if your power goes out, you can still charge your smartphone with a power bank or portable charger.
4. Video game consoles
This isn’t something that’s going to happen immediately, but the addition of gaming capabilities to the latest version of the Apple TV set-top box demonstrates that video game consoles are likely to become a thing of the past — at least for casual users, who won’t need to buy a separate piece of technology just to play a few popular games in their downtime. When its’s possible to play games with your friends using the set-top box that lets you stream your favorite shows and movies, fewer people are going to need to spend money on a separate video game console.
5. USB flash drives
Did anyone else notice that one of the most common (and confusing) Black Friday deals last year was a high-capacity USB flash drive at a killer price? That might be because the market for flash drives is drying up as they quickly become obsolete. With cloud storage services from companies like Google, Apple, and Dropbox continually offering more storage for less money, there’s often very little reason to carry your files around in your pocket — in part because you can probably access most of those files directly from your smartphone.
6. Remote controls
Finally, the days of searching for the correct remote look like they’ll be coming to an end. Whether you use a set-top box like the Apple TV or a smart home device like the Amazon Echo to control your gadgets, you’ll likely be able to search for shows, change the channel, or rewind your movie with voice commands. And you probably won’t need a dedicated device to use that voice recognition technology; the speaker that’s hooked up to your entertainment system or even your smartphone will probably take care of that functionality.
7. Point-and-shoot digital cameras
As smartphone manufacturers continually integrate more advanced cameras into the phones they release each year, the market for point-and-shoot digital cameras is rapidly shrinking. Your smartphone, which probably carries a retail price tag of multiple hundreds of dollars, can almost certainly take better photos than the sub-$100 digital cameras at your local Best Buy. Which means that the only people spending money on standalone digital cameras are going to be people who are pretty serious about photography — users who are generally looking at mirrorless systems or DSLRs, not point and shoots.
8. GPS units
Even though we’ve all complained about some of the inconsistencies in our navigation app of choice, you have to admit that being able to get directions to your destination with a simple voice command beats tinkering with a dedicated GPS unit. In the future, as navigation apps like Google Maps get more sophisticated and the technology they depend on grows more advanced, they’ll be more reliable than GPS units and better integrated with the intelligent personal assistant on your smartphone — which just gives you more reasons to ditch the outdated GPS unit.
9. Cash, checks, and cards
Venmo enables you to more easily split the dinner check with your friends, Square enables you to pay with a debit card even at local boutiques, and splitting the rent payment with your roomie got a lot easier when Facebook Messenger started letting you send money to your Facebook friends. We think that banking anywhere other than a mobile device, writing a check for rent or utilities, and running to the ATM before a night out will become a thing of the past sooner rather than later.