Way back on the 2nd of January, 2012 AD, we asked you to try and predict what technologies would find their final resting place this year. We had some interesting guesses. And a huge miss.
The guesses back on that original post, with the whole of 2012 ahead of us, ran the gamut form disappearing Swedish auto industries to nothing to wristwatches, standalone GPS units, network TV, Kodak, point-and-shoot cameras, SiriusXM, Lightsquared, and chop sticks.
So, where did we end up? Well, all of those things, except Lightsquared, are at least undead. Alff, please report to the fire pit. You’re obviously a witch and must be burned at the stake.
What technologies, then, didn’t survive 2012? Well, let’s see…
1. The Space Shuttle and the US Manned Space Program
Endeavour departed for California, Atlantis left the confines of Kennedy Space Center for the visitor complex, Discovery went to Washington, and Enterprise is now sitting on an aircraft carrier. Along with the retirement of our orbiting construction vehicle, the manned space program has virtually ground to a halt. Our astronauts are hitching rides on Russian Soyuz rockets and all we can cling to is the hope that SpaceX continues to progress towards a man-rated rocket and that the political and bureaucratic mess we call NASA can produce the SLS and get us back into the space exploration game.
We called it back at the end of January. Now, before you get pedantic and point out that film is still being produced and whatnot, consider that Kodak…one of the world’s leading producers of film and film cameras…is exiting that market. They are selling off their consumer film business and focusing on commercial and movie-grade film. Other than hipsters and a minority of experimental photographers, professional and amateur photography involves CCD or CMOS, rather than silver halide salts. As an amateur photographer, I know some people who still shoot in film. Their biggest concern is that, for some formats, the film is no longer produced and they are living off hoarded stores of the stuff.
Blackberry remained on life support this year. RIM, despite a failed tablet, has managed to stay afloat and is currently touting Blackberry 10 as a company saving platform. Is it really going to save the company, or is it just another Palm 2.0 final gasp of air? Unfortunately for our little morbid game, we have to wait until 2013 to see if the coffin gets closed.
Other than our favorite Canadian “smart”-phone maker, what’s on the edge for next year? Well, there’s netbooks. They were only holding on against the ultralight laptops because of their price. However, the rise of the tablet has made netbooks almost irrelevant. A quick search on bestbuy.com turned up exactly 7 netbooks currently available, and 3 of those are variations of the Asus Eeeeeeeeee. Nokia, Ericsson and MySpace — who helped bring the social network to the mainstream — are all teetering. Nokia and Ericsson, especially, have not produced anything new in some time. Thin film solar is not competing against its silicone-based cousin and may, if the disappearance of companies producing it is any indication, disappear altogether next year.
What technologies finally left the surly bonds of this life did I miss? What are your predictions for 2013?