R.I.P. Sony Walkman and the Future of Other Technology

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Yesterday Sony announced they were ceasing sales of the Sony Walkman cassette player in Japan. This news brought fond memories of me laying on my bed in the 90s listening to mix tapes that my friends or I had made each other. Those days are long gone and I definitely can’t remember the last time I came across a cassette.

Also becoming obsolete are music CDs. When was the last time you bought one? For me, I just usually download music on iTunes and sync to my iPod. CDs are bulky and take up too much space. Of course, you can still download music from iTunes onto a CD. But, if you want to go on a run with music, iPod is the way to go. The venerable Sony Walkman joins the ranks of other obsolete technology such as Betamax and VHS tapes and Video recorders/players, typewriters, floppy discs and vinyl records.  Coming up on the endangered species list:

Fax machines – Please let these machines go out of style soon. I just don’t get why they are still around. Who owns a fax machine? I sure don’t and don’t know anyone else who does. Unless you are running a business, a fax machine is pointless. Just email it and attach it! Or if you really need to fax something use eFax, internet fax to email.

Land lines – Yeah, home phones are going out of style. I haven’t had one in ten years. I don’t see the point since I have a cell phone and even though it only works about 80% of the time (thanks AT&T), it’s still cheaper than having a land line. Why pay for an extra line and answering machine when you can get all your calls, texts, voice mails, internet access, and social networking on one device? Save money and nix the land line.

Photo prints – When was the last time you used a camera with film? I own one but haven’t used it in years. Hello, digital camera! Point, shoot, snap and view all within a minute. Talk about instant gratification. No one wants to wait one hour to get their photos developed. Plus, you don’t have to be worried about any uncensored photos you may take. I remember my mom taking our photos to Costco and having to wait a few days to get them back. Wow. Times have changed.

So, what are some cool technology we can look forward to?

Nokia has come up with a conceptual cell phone that charges in your pants using your body heat. The E-Cu uses an integrated thermogenerator that converts heat into energy. This means it gets a small charge against your body and a huge charge when set on top of a radiator. How cool is that? I am constantly charging my iPhone throughout the day and if this phone came to fruition, I would be first in line to buy it.

Cultivating fruits and vegetables in a capsule is another intriguing concept. No more having to find soil in your background, planting seeds and watering them. This indoor farm concept, Origin, eliminates the use of land and produces almost anything the user wants. I’m all for this. Fresh produce at the touch of a button!

Ladies, do you forget or hate taking your birth control pills? Well, fear not. There will soon be a topical contraceptive gel which you apply to shoulders, arms, legs or abdomen on a daily basis and is similar to the Patch already out on the market. This apparently has no side effects such as the dreaded weight gain or sickness associated with the Pill. And it won’t fall off like the Patch. Two thumbs up!

From phonograph and vinyl albums, to cassette tapes and Sony Walkmans, to digital files and MP3 players, I predict the the next evolution in music listening technology is a smart device that you stick in your ear and plays your choice of music without any buttons. Similar to the Bluetooth ear pieces that people use with phones, except in cooler colors. Or maybe it will double as phone, too. You never know.

What are some cool concepts or ideas you have for future technology? What do you think will become obsolete in five years?

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  1. DCStewart

    4 years ago

    Funny you bring this up, I was just clearing out my storage of cd’s this weekend. I think the ipad will reduce in size but capable of holding everything and then some. That doesn’t stop me from wanting the latest and greatest ipod touch. ;)

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  2. starlit

    4 years ago

    haha we have a fax machine in our office but right next to it is a full size xerox machine that scans and emails documents. my older coworker always uses the fax whereas i opt for scanning.

    i hope they make uploading photos from your digital camera easier than it is now. i’m always misplacing that little cable, and not all computers have card-reading capability.

    the topical contraceptive gel sounds intriguing as long as it doesn’t irritate your skin!

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  3. sofialiu

    4 years ago

    topical contraceptive gel!? that’s awesome. what company is producing this? i wonder how effective this is.. hmm….

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  4. McPants

    4 years ago

    This summer I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for the first time. Bradbury’s futuristic world included a setting where everyone walked around with what he termed “seashell radios” in their ears. Seashell radios were like ear buds, where nobody could (or wanted to) detach from streams of information.

    In an interview a few years back (Bradbury is still alive), he reacted unfavorably to iGadgets, wondering if the dystopian future he described over 50 years ago was now becoming a reality. Quite interesting.

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  5. jbh2kplus

    4 years ago

    computers will become obsolete in 5 years.

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  6. SavingsIQ

    4 years ago

    @sofialiu – the gel is under development by Population Council and Antares Pharma. Prob won’t be available for at least 5 years. :?

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  7. missmeow

    4 years ago

    I use all 3 on your endangered list….

    Faxing for work is super helpful when there are a ton of pages to scan and email. They’ve definitely come in handy for me.
    Landlines–I understand why it’s less common to have one, but what about people who use it for DSL?
    Photo Prints-sometimes it’s nice to have look thru photo albums without having to go on your computer….or are you talking about just using film to take pictures?

    oh the walkman….lol good times.

    pretty much anything that isn’t touch screen will be soon…

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  8. YtseJam2

    4 years ago

    I remember listening to my walkman in school and during class. Which kinda explains my low grades lol. I remember buying my first CD, it was Stick It To Ya from Slaughter. I am still waiting on the teleporter and food replicators from Star Trek lol. Till then I guess we will all have our many toys that begin with I.

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  9. oooK9ooo

    4 years ago

    I worked at a private school where there was one typewriter because the admin assistant “needed” one. The kids would always ask, “What IS that?!” Good laughs were had. Another obsolete item is the answering machine; last time I used that was in the late 90s during college!

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  10. Starky

    4 years ago

    Maybe I’m becoming obsolete haha….I still have a fax and a land line….
    I do remember the romance of making mixed tapes for one of my old girlfriends long ago….Sure was painstaking, but the effort was worth it i guess haha.

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  11. SavingsIQ

    4 years ago

    missmeow- if you scan a bunch of documents, you can just email them, no? also, DSL.. I suppose, but most people have cable connections that come with their cable tv package. about photos, yeah, film is becoming obsolete, unless you are a profressional photog and use it for your work.

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  12. jamesbond

    4 years ago

    Love gadgets! Part of the definition of gadget is out with the old in with the new, right? … Your blog was spot on. Good job
    PS: when can I charge my phone in my pants? Brilliant!

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