All technology is doomed to become redundant at some point, but the speed at which obsolescence is conferred upon our gadgets is increasing.
We've put together a list of items that are facing extinction, although it has to be conceded that for some of them, the end is not nigh.
Only 15 per cent of us are early adopters and a good 60 per cent are happy to make do with existing technology for years. Notices of their death have been widely circulated, but fax machines, 35mm film, pagers, dial-up internet and Windows XP won't go to their graves without a hell of a fight.
The home landline
A recent survey found that more than one in three Londoners didn't know their home telephone number. Forty per cent of them don't answer it when it rings and half of them have one only because they have to as part of a broadband package. The rise of the mobile phone has caused us to associate phone numbers with people rather than static locations; as a result, competitive mobile pricing and apps such as Skype have left the landline with few functions other than to make the occasional free call to an 0800 number.
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The remote control
The "Lazy Bones", a remote control attached to the TV by a long cable, became the first consumer remote control 65 years ago, and our home entertainment is still largely directed by these infuriating lumps of plastic. We yearn for their obsolescence; the complex ones are inoperable without a short training course, while the simple ones turn a relatively simple task into a mammoth act of on-screen navigation. Towards the end of his life, Steve Jobs claimed to have "cracked it" with the idea of voice-controlled television, but voice-control technology still has its inherent limitations and accompanying frustrations. While the more technologically adventurous are exploring remote control via smartphones or gestures, the rest of us are still delving down the side of that sofa cushion.
The standalone sat-nav
The gadget that elicited gasps of wide-eyed wonder only a decade ago is continuing a slow slide towards obsolescence, its functionality absorbed into smartphones and car dashboards. Of course, GPS technology moves from strength to strength, incorporated into fitness devices and wearables, but the one-trick personal navigation device is surely done for, its smartphone successor effortlessly updating maps without even being asked to.
Anyone under the age of 20 will see phone boxes as a curious anachronism. They've never queued up outside one with a fistful of coins - and neither will they; these days, with mobile phones welded to our hips, we simply have no need for them. In Britain, there's been a 93 per cent decline in payphone use, and each box handles less than one call a day on average.
DVD and Blu-ray
Our video-collecting habit began with the VHS cassette, but is almost certain to end with Blu-ray. The shift is tied to our changing attitudes towards ownership of media; most people will be happy to give up ownership of physical media in favour of on-demand streaming services such as Netflix, and equally happy to sacrifice the quality that shiny discs offer.
The alarm clock
In surveys made to find out things smartphones have made redundant, the alarm clock invariably comes at the top of the list; one survey recently found 50 per cent of Britons use their phones as an alarm, and with nearly all of us requiring a piercing sound at some point in the day to shake us out of our reverie, that's a a lot of alarm clocks gathering dust. If you fancy a laugh, go to Google Play or the App Store and check out the range of alarm clock apps that promise an exciting new take on waking up.
- The Independent