5 technologies that will no longer exist in 2015
Welcome again to Future Week on Pocket-lint. As much fun as it is looking at all sorts of interesting gadgets and services that could be ready in 5 years' time, now is the moment to spare a few thoughts for those that will have dropped off the map. Future gazing being what it is, no one can be certain, but here's our list of what passes as the most likely candidates for extinction. Let us know what makes the top of yours and what you wish would disappear but probably won't.
The Dedicated Satnav
TomTom has already partially admitted defeat with the launch of the satnav iPhone app last year and it's hard to see that the dedicated satnav or PND - personal navigation device, as the companies like to call them - has got much life left on this planet. With the rise of both the big screen smartphone and the launch of industry shaking services like Google Maps for Navigation, there seems little space for actually going out and buying a separate touchscreen gadget limited to some POIs, telling you which direction to head in and, if you've dished out for the service, what the traffic's like.
All these things are possible to do from a mobile phone now and in the future. Not even the data required should be an issue either. First the connection does not need to be constant, second the bursts required do not have to be particularly large and, third, mobile network coverage will be widespread enough by then anyway. What's more, satnav functionality will begin to become embedded in car dashboard screens as a standard and this is probably a space into which some of the traditional satnav makers will move.
Probably the one niche where the satnav will continue to survive is in the developing world where even by 2015 the smartphone is unlikely to be quite ubiquitous given the possible poor data network coverage.
Controversial one this, but it only take a quick glance at the high street to see the struggles of the big name music stores and their rapid shift to games and films for this one to look like a reality. One could argue optical disks on the whole are an endangered species, but for the time being there appears to be a future for Blu-ray particularly with the 3D standard just launched. At the same time, those happier to sit further from the cutting edge are in no mood to throw out their recently purchased DVD collection as yet but, well, CDs have been around since the mid-80s now and have been slowly undermined by digital music.
Since lossless files like FLAC and OGG turned up, there's now no longer the excuse from the audiophile that these formats just aren't of the same quality either. Throw in the glut of digital music services available, their convenience and the price ranges from illegal and free to still less than the price of a compact disk and it's not good news for our shiny little friend. The beginning of their end has already begun. Give it another 5 years and the CD could be all but over.
The CRT and analogue TV
With digital switchover and the fact that you can't even pick up a CRT TV in Tesco anymore, it doesn't take a genius to realise that these two bedfellows will be long gone in 5 years. Anyone who's bought a screen in the last five gone by will have been hard pushed not to have gone home with a flat screen already, so by 2015, the last few still sitting in the front rooms of Western nations will either be on their very last legs or entirely inoperable.
We say this in hope as much as anything else but it's become very clear over the last 2 years that resistive touchscreens are a huge disappointment to customers who've saved their hard earned pennies for a new gadget. Compared to their capacitive cousins, resistives are unresponsive and plain frustrating. Already they've been culturally banned from premium products and it's hard to see that, as prices come down, they wont be entirely replaced across the board by 2015.
With the agreement at MWC 2009, we know that proprietary mobile phone chargers will certainly be a thing of the past in 5 years' time with micro-USB as the chosen standard, but there's no reason for the same environmental pressure to apply to the makes of power adapters the industry over. Yes, a number of them contain more specific units that step the current up and down but that doesn't mean that the plugs and sockets of these systems can't be standardised - at least within each category of hardware, anyway. Besides, we already have the same fixture on the kettle as almost all the AV boxes. We just need the computing industry to follow suit and, with a little pressure from the green pound, we should be waving goodbye to that box in the basement full of a tangled mess of leads that we can't remember if we need any more.
And three worth a mention...
There were a few possibles we considered for this list, but after some debating concluded that they would still be alive and kicking come 2015 even if we would rather they weren't.
According to Google, just the other day in fact, the humble desktop will be toast come 2015. As for us, we're not so sure. So long as IT departments and hardcore gamers exist, the old tower PC will probably always have a place in the hearts of specialists and enthusiasts everywhere.
Desktop e-mail clients
E-mail clients were there in the first place as an easier way to pull and organise one's connected life from the Web, but that's become rather redundant as web-based clients have become better and broadband services at a flat rate. So, what's stopping the eradication of Outlook et al? Yes, the corporate world. There's just no trust or security for businesses in the cloud right now and even if there is, it's going to take a while to convince them.
More of a wish from one of the futurologist experts we spoke to who stated that "there are increasing numbers of quick and easy ways to make good coffee and we just need that to get less expensive". Well, if there's a directly proportional relationship to the quality of the coffee and that of work that comes from those who drink it, then indeed instant coffee should be outlawed if we're ever to drive the flying car.
If you enjoyed this article, then head over to our Future Week homepage where you'll find a collection of features on what gadgets will be like in the year 2015.