RIP 2020 Tech
Getty / Nintendo / Microsoft / Google / BMW
2020 was a year for the history books. We don’t need a summary at this point, the wounds are too fresh. The headlines were dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government’s laconic response and the elections. Technology has taken a back seat on sociopolitical issues, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t played a role. We quickly adapted to virtual workspaces and spent the last quarter of the year looking for a PS5.
With all of the technology developed to function in a society that is seismically changing our interactions with other people, we may have missed the technology that was knocked off the cliff this year. Some of the technologies that were ridden into the sunset were things we used every day, others were long overdue. Regardless, it’s time to take a look back at the technology that has been discontinued, closed, down, or otherwise overtaken by advanced technology or attrition.
Since 1995 we’ve been looking for and using something better than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. IE was the butt of many internet speed jokes and it seemed like it got stuck in the 90s for a long time. Last updated in 2013, obsolete by Microsoft Edge, Microsoft finally outlined its plan for the death of IE this year. As of November 30th of this year, the teams stopped supporting IE. Office 365 won’t stop supporting IE until next year, but we’ve already told Google Chrome to start shoveling on the dirt. Firefox reads the laudatory speech and Safari is already at the buffet. We’ve been into Internet Explorer for a long time, and now Microsoft is too.
Xbox One X, Xbox One S and PS4 Pro
Although Sony has not confirmed that production of the PS4 Pro will cease, its removal from the Sony store suggests that production has ceased. What was discontinued this year were the previous Xbox models that made way for the Xbox Series X. Microsoft ended production of the Xbox One X and Xbox One S earlier this year. To this end, getting an X Series machine wasn’t too difficult, while getting your hands on a PS5 was next to impossible. Perhaps a reason is that PS4 Pro machines are still clogging assembly lines. If that’s the case, it seems like bad planning by Sony. Regardless, we’ve really moved on to the next, next generation of games, with the previous consoles becoming flea market items.
The very popular Nintendo 3DS was unceremoniously discontinued in September. This makes sense because the switch covers this portable functionality. The 3DS, while not as popular as its predecessor, has sold more than 75 million units worldwide since 2011. Its library of over 1000 games will continue to be supported as players can continue to purchase the games from Nintendo and other retailers. For many younger gamers, this is comparable to Nintendo’s discontinuation of production on the GameBoy. It was a dark day as many of us had already become gaming luddites and refused to embrace the colorful world of the Nintendo DS. Of course we are all Switch fanbois now.
First, Apple dumped the charging station in the inbox. Then Samsung made fun of Apple. Then Samsung dropped the charger and deleted its posts making fun of Apple. Now Xiaomi has thrown the charger overboard after making fun of Apple too. Oh brands, so fun and funny.
It seems that 2020 will be the year phone manufacturers decide we no longer need charging points in our homes, as USB charging ports are available in power strips and sockets. Time will tell if this is a wise decision as there are many places in the world that still need a way to recharge their phones, but these communities are unlikely to be buying $ 1000 luxury phones. Honestly, if we’re paying that much for a phone, the box should be packed with accessories.
Good Charger Relief? Maybe.
Many of the more cynical streaming service consumers were pretty bearish of Quibi from the start. There seemed to be something wrong with this service, like it was known from the start that it couldn’t compete with the fresh launch of Apple TV +, HBOMax, and the current content factories in Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when it became known that Quibi was going to be shutting down the same year it launched.
Quibi started with just over a billion dollars from major studios and Wall Street firms in the middle of a pandemic that had forced large parts of the population into their homes. As so many people cut their expenses, as many improved their home entertainment options. Still, Quibi couldn’t find a place in any of this. For anyone looking to start a streaming service this could be a case study of what not to do.
Microsoft was never able to find the audience it wanted with Mixer, not in a world dominated by Twitch, YouTube and Facebook gaming. The latter received the streamers and partners from Mixer earlier this year. This was a strategic decision to drive xCloud integration with Facebook Gaming. Mixer is another example of competition in the streaming world while seemingly ignoring the organic nature of streaming popularity. It’s a huge shrug emoji in the game streaming cancellations.
Adobe Flash Player
It’s the end of an era where visual design is on the internet. For many years, Adobe’s Flash Player has been the tool of choice when it comes to Internet games and animation. Eventually it became the tool of necessity, then the tool of last resort. His death marks a new era in animation tools, once again spearheaded by non-Flash Adobe products. Apart from Adobe Animate, HTML5 and CSS3 have become the replacement products for Flash over the years, providing a less disruptive and cleaner programming model. It will take us a while to successfully clear Flash from our browser cache, but the internet will be smoother without Flash.
A couple of cars
Drivers are buying SUVs and pickups again. That means the small car revolution will be over by the time we all have electric vehicles. Some of the smaller cars discontinued in 2020 are the Chevy Sonic, the Toyota Yaris, and the Honda Fit. These cars were introduced as economical alternatives to larger vehicles in times of high gasoline prices. They were tiny little computers that were IMO hard to fix in the driveway, and we’re better off without those rodents in the street.
Some bigger cars are also fading as tight wallets from a pandemic forced automakers to take stock and focus on the vehicles people actually buy. The Cadillac CT6, Lincoln Continental, Chevy Impala (announced in 2018 but ceased production this year), and Ford Fusion (also announced years ago but finally discontinued this year) are some of the sedans we won’t be offering to see more in new car lots. Family cars like the Dodge Grand Caravan and Journey have joined them in the future darkness.
One flaw that should be considered is the BMW i8. It should be the luxury electric model for people who felt the need to demonstrate both their massive monthly car payment and concern for the environment. But Tesla has captured enough of the all-electric market that BMW couldn’t bring the i8 to market acceptance. So back to the drawing board.
The list of discontinued car models continues with the Acura RLX, Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 / GT350R, Honda Civic Coupe, Jaguar XE, Lexus GS and Lincoln MKZ. Don’t fret, there is sure to be another line of models in the years to come that will last just under a decade.
Google’s annual laundry list
Finally, we have the annual list of Google products that we didn’t even know Google was working on or responsible for. Sometimes we are aware of the existence of Google products when they are discontinued, e.g. B. when the free storage of photos ended. Most of this list is made up of things that were there.
- Nest Guard: security system. Removed from the Google Store in October 2020.
- Google Station: WiFi hotspot spreader. September 30th, it stopped spreading.
- Google hiring: Google’s attempt to track and recruit applicants. In fact, as of September 1st, it will no longer be linked to the labor market.
- Password check: Third-party breach alert system through an extension. Integrated into Chrome in July.
- Google Photos Print: Because we really don’t need physical photos yet, right? Last photo sent in June.
- Shoelaces: An app for finding common group activities. Difficult to multiply during a pandemic. In May he crept back into a dark corner.
- Neighbors: If NextDoor has proven something, we really don’t need another app that focuses on the behavior of our crazy neighbors. It closed its doors on May 12th.
- Material: Part of the 2017 Crashlytics acquisition. Features were migrated to Firebase, threads were drawn on May 4th.
- Material Theme Editor: A plugin for the Sketch App was discontinued in March.
- Google Chrome Apps: These hosted or packaged web applications that run in the Google Chrome browser were sent packaged on March 2020.
- One Today: A donation app that encourages one dollar donations and finds out how that dollar is used. Most of us are just discovering that it even exists. Closed in January.
- Androidify: for custom Android avatars. Nobody wants that. Faded in January.
The real brand was Google Play Music. This service was replaced by YouTube Music on December 3rd. For those of us who prefer not to stream everything but just play the music we physically have on our devices, this stung. While YouTube Music allows files to be played on the device, it requires more navigation and expands the streaming options. This makes it difficult if you’re using an old Motorola Ultra for a music device in the car. It will take a bit of getting used to as, like everything else on this list, Google has decided that Google Play Music is no longer a viable application.
What does the new year bring in terms of new technologies? We’ll likely continue to see software and apps that focus on interpersonal connectivity as personal entertainment devices permeate Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It will be another year before we see a new iPhone as we are just reaching the first iPhone 12 repair cycle, but Samsung is ready to bring out some new rectangles this year. Regardless, one thing is certain: technology will perpetuate migration while humanity does the same.