Pay your respects
Tech vendors only have so many resources, and as a result they continually have to make tough choices about which products stay and go. BlackBerry, Dell, Google, Microsoft and others have all made such decisions this year, so here’s your chance to pay respects to those products and services that aren’t going to make it past 2016…
The IDG News Service has contributed to the content in this slideshow.
Windows IE 8, 9 & 10
Microsoft in January alerted customers that it was ending support for its IE 8, 9 & 10 browsers and urged people and organizations to move to IE 11 or Edge, the new default browser for Windows 10. IE 8, 9 and 10 will still work, but you really take a security risk by continuing to use them. IE first arrived on the scene in 1995.
Motorola (the brand)
A financially-reeling Motorola split in two in 2011, and while Motorola Solutions continues to serve the telecom industry, Motorola Mobility was snapped up initially by Google in 2012 and then flipped in 2014 to Lenovo, which earlier this year said it was ditching the Motorola brand (though it has managed to linger on). Either way, Lenovo hasn’t strayed too far, labeling its consumer mobile devices with the much cooler Moto moniker, alongside its Vibe offerings.
Moving ahead with BlackBerry 10 and Android devices, BlackBerry announced in July it would be discontinuing its BlackBerry Classic phones, as even the U.S. Senate will no longer be issuing them to members. BlackBerry COO Ralph Pini wrote in a blog post: “It has been an incredible workhorse device for customers, exceeding all expectations. But, the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market. We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better – entrenched in our legacy in security and pedigree in making the most productive smartphones.”
The developers of TeslaCrypt ransomware, notorious for targeting game-related content, surprisingly shut down their operation in 2016 and shared a master key that researchers used to create a tool for decrypting files. TelsaCrypt first appeared in early 2015 and extracted tens of thousands of dollars from victims. Some are still not sold that TelsaCrypt’s developers have turned over a new leaf, though, and are wary of what might come next from this crew…
Facebook announced in January that it would be shutting down the mobile back end as a service that it bought in 2013 and that developers have used to hook up hundreds of thousands of apps to the cloud. Parse lives on until Jan. 28, 2017, and the difficult migration process has begun. Facebook itself might face difficulties in the future convincing developers to buy into its new tools.
Facebook also killed off Paper, the gorgeous ad-free News Feed app that nobody used.
Firefox OS for smartphones
Mozilla said in February that it will kill development of Firefox OS for mobile devices as of May, upon wrapping up Version 2.6. Though not all will be lost: The OS stack will live on for Smart TVs and various internet of things devices, Mozilla says.
The 2015 spinout of cloud-based Google Photos (from Google+) for sharing and storing photos and videos marked the beginning of the end for desktop- and web-based Picassa, a photo sharing and storage service that Google bought in 2004 from Lifescape. And yes, the name Picassa is a play off of artist Pablo Picasso’s name.
Microsoft (Skype) Qik
This is one of those things that disappeared that you might not have realized existed in the first place. Buried somewhere within the spin in this blog post by Microsoft’s Skype team is the news that Skype Qik was being killed off because it was redundant with similar features that have been added to Skype over the years as the service has increasingly been employed by mobile users. Skype bought the short video messaging service dubbed Qik back in 2011 shortly before Microsoft snapped up Skype, and then Microsoft launched Skype Qik in 2014.
AT&T 2G network
With all the talk of moving to 5G wireless in the not-too-distant future, who needs a 2G network anymore? That’s AT&T’s point in pledging to kill off its 2G network by year-end, upgrading what remains to 3G and 4G for now. So, if you have an old device designed for 2G, you’d better upgrade, too (“If you're currently using a 2G device you will receive text messages strongly encouraging you to migrate to a 4G LTE device,” AT&T says.)
Intel Atom chips for mobile device
The company, refocusing on the data center/server and 5G wireless markets, said in April that it would be canceling Atom chips code-named Sofia and Broxton that would have powered mobile devices. Intel has poured billions of dollars into its mobile processor business over the years, but failed to make many inroads beyond netbooks in the early years.
Dell Android tablets
Dell in June said it is exiting the market for Android tablets, focusing instead on Windows 2-in-1 devices. Going away are the Venue line of Android slate tablets and Wyse Cloud Connect thumb-size computer. Dell says 2-in-1 devices, meanwhile, are gaining ground at enterprises.
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