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Technology that is becoming dead
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
December 10, 2011
First Published: 19:08 IST(10/12/2011)
Last Updated: 21:09 IST(10/12/2011)

Seppuku. It’s a Japanese word that forms an integral code for a Samurai class warrior. It basically means self-slaughter. And the world of technology seems to have entered a ritualistic suicide phase. New technology comes in at a frightening pace and within a short period of time, even newer technology comes and makes sure that the ‘old’ technology commits honourable suicide.

LP vinyl records lasted about 80 years, CDs are dying in less than 15. Is the dizzying pace of technology making great devices obsolete too fast? Are these giddy new cycles of products, devices, versions and gadgets leaving most of us breathless with excitement and confusion? What great feel-good and comforting technology is about to commit Seppuku?

Key to this column
PWLAUF: Product we’ve loved and used forever
CWS: Conventional wisdom says
RWF: Real World Facts
COS: Chances of Survival


LPPWLAUF: Car Audio Players
CWS: If the CD dies, so does the player. If all our music is digital then all we need is a player with a USB plug-in. Who wants the hassle of sorting and flipping and changing CDs?
RWF: We won’t even need a USB player in the car. Net-connected players are already making an appearance. All your music up in the Cloud, your car with a Net connection, play what you like. Also, the death knell for FM radio. Net streaming radio gives more quality, choice and options.
COS: This one is a goner. Dead in about four years!
PWLAUF: HDMI Cable, Chargers, All Wire
CWS: HD video connection will be through a wireless base; all your speakers will be wireless as will your charging of phones, laptops and Tablets.
RWF: Well, not all wire is gone. Heavy equipment power will still be from a cable. Also, while the technology is improving, audiophile level sound will still be cable-based for a while.
COS: It’s an unsightly mess, it’s a dust collector and it made your house as ugly as it can be. But the wire and cable’s days are truly numbered.
TelephonePWLAUF: Landline Telephone Systems
CWS: Should have died a long time back. Why should you call a building if you can call a person? It’s antiquated, unsightly and makes no sense in a world on the move.
RWF: It’s still what you fall back on when you need to be in a voice-critical conference call, it’s still your best bet for true broadband in your home and it’s still the only way to not tear your hair out over dropped calls.
COS: Nope, this one will stay till they sort out spectrum issues, make mobile calls crystal clear and get over the greed of wanting too many customers on an already exhausted, wheezing and over-loaded network.
PWLAUF: Keys, Credit cards and Visiting cards
CWS: All will die due to NFC technology, a secure system in your phone or mobile device that is far more efficient and safe. Touch phone door to enter your house, tap billing machine to pay and touch phones to exchange contact information. NFC, along with biometric security, is the future.
RWF: Most new phones have NFC (with some companies still holding out), lots of pilot projects already on, it’s more secure and safe once you get over the initial hesitancy.
COS: Another goner, your wallet’s going to be mighty thin in about two years from now.
PWLAUF: Remote Control
CWS: This small clunky box is silly old technology that has no room in a high tech world. Infrared? Confusing button layout? Impossible to use in the dark? Five or six remotes in each room? You’ve got to be kidding!
tabletsRWF: Will get hard hit from multiple areas. Touch screen phones and Tablets are the best new interface for remotes and new equipment works on WiFi with them. Some new phones and Tablets have infrared built in so they can work with all your old stuff too. Gesture control is the other biggie. Your body is the best remote control ever invented.
COS: Dead as a dodo! And the sooner the better.
PWLAUF: WristWatches
CWS: Nobody under the age of 19 uses them; the new generation doesn’t even understand the need for strapping on something like that. When every device has a watch, when your phone has it right there on the front screen, why have an extra bangle dangling on your hand?
RWF: Watch sales haven’t gone down. Makes no sense to fish out your phone, tap a button to wake up the screen and then check the time when all you have to do is glance at your wrist. Watches are also a fashion and status symbol and those aren’t going away any time soon.
COS: It’s not time up for watches!
PWLAUF: Gaming Consoles
CWS: High quality gaming has made its way onto phones and specially Tablets. As quad core processors are around the corner, graphic intensive games will easily move to this carry-with-you platform. Also, online gaming has reached new heights. With 4G and true high speed broadband, the most demanding game will be available on any device when you want it, where you want it. Why be chained to a gaming console?
RWF: Easy to call this one as mobile gaming has
hit numbers that defy all calculations.
COS: One more round of console wars and they are kaput!
LCDThere are others with their heads on the chopping block. Television as we know it (no prime time, no show schedules, watch at will), video and digital cameras (as optics on phones become better, these are redundant), LCD/Plasma/LED (taken over by the low power, super bright pictures of OLED), 3D with glasses (naked eye 3D is round the corner) and ebook readers (Tablets have already hit this almost new technology and Amazon seems to agree too with the Kindle Fire). By the way, your phone and Tablet are also on their way out. They’ll be eaten up alive by a flexi screen hybrid. Give it five years. If I’m wrong, I may just commit Seppuku.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni

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