10 Technologies That Should Be Extinct (But Aren't)
8. Disc Drives
Shiny plastic platters of all kinds--CD, DVD, even Blu-ray--are destined to eventually follow the various floppies, Zip discs, Click drives, and other portable storage media into the digital boneyard. These days, many of us get our software via downloads and our entertainment streamed to whatever device happens to be convenient. Yet discs and disc drives persist.
"You can download almost anything today and stream much of what you can't download," says Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group. "Flash drives have dropped substantially in price, and we don't really need more than 64GB anyway (and you can get that in an iPod). So why don't we say hasta la vista to the disk drive and finally move to something lighter, more robust, and less noisy?"
9. Cathode Ray Tubes
In the United States, the venerable 'boob tube' has all but disappeared from offices, living rooms, and retail shelves. Yet more than 90 million CRTs were sold last year, says an MIT report--almost all of them to Asia and Latin America.
Why? Because they are both durable and cheap, and--guess what?--they still offer higher-quality pictures than LCDs and plasma sets, according to the image calibration experts at DisplayMate. Also in high demand: old, discarded CRTs, because their lead-lined glass is needed for manufacturing new ones.
10. CB Radios
Though not as wildly popular as they were back when Burt Reynolds was, well, Burt Reynolds, vendors like Cobra Electronics and RadioShack still sell thousands of Citizens Band radios each year.
Geeky graybeards will remember that the first CompuServe chat forum was called "CB Simulator." From there it's easy to draw a direct line to today's chat, IM, and Twitter clients. Still, in the era of ubiquitous 24/7 communication, CB radios are a relic, argues Jim Gardner, president of marketing consultancy Strategy 180, who bought his first Cobra CB radio in 1977 (his handle is "Moonshiner").
"Although not 10-17 (urgent), my 10-20 (position) on the issue is that given that the peak of CB radios' mainstream adoption coincided with bell bottoms, disco, and orange shag carpeting, the advent of push-to-talk cell phones should have buried this icon of bad Burt Reynolds films years ago," he says. "After all, some conversations are simply better 10-21 (on the phone). 10-4, good buddy?"
Though we take exception to the "bad Burt Reynolds films" swipe (Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run are minor classics), we tend to agree: It's time to bring the hammer down.