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Technology means you don't see these any more

Posted on 8th Mar 16 in Latest News by editor

Technology means you don't see these any more

The rate at which technological innovation moves on seems to be gathering pace with the passing of each year. As a result, what was cutting edge only a few months ago is now old hat.

With that in mind, here are five obsolete technologies you may already have forgotten about and which have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

1. Typewriters

First making an appearance in the 1860s, typewriters made it possible for almost anyone to produce documents quickly and without the need for electricity.

As compact and efficient as they had become by the 1960s they could not compete with the new-fangled word processor or, in more recent times, PCs.

2. CRT TV and computer monitor

The CRT (cathode ray tube) was invented at the end of the 19th century and continued to be used in both TVs and PC monitor screens well into the 1990s. Originally capable of producing only black and white images, by the 1970s colour TV was well established.

One of the problems with CRTs was that they were heavy and bulky, which effectively limited their screen size. With the advent of LCD, OLED and Plasma panels in around 2010, TVs and monitors could be made incredibly slim and light and there is virtually no restriction on screen size.

3. VHS and Betamax video cassette tapes and players

Videotapes in VHS and Betamax formats were introduced in the early 1970s when the first video cassette players became widely available. In simple terms, video cassettes contained magnetic tape which recorded and played movies, personal recordings made on video cameras and TV programmes.

As with audio tapes, video cassettes became obsolete almost overnight when DVDs became available in the 1990s.

4. Sony Walkman/cassette tapes

In the beginning there were vinyl records, but by the early 1970s, cassette tapes began to appear, and by the end of the 80s they had virtually taken over completely. One of their key advantages was that they could be taken and played almost anywhere, unlike their vinyl cousins, which were quite bulky, especially the albums or LPs (long players) as they were more commonly known at the time. Now everyone had a cassette player in their car and they carried portable tape players around with them.

Being the innovative company it still is today, Sony were quick to see the sales potential for compact, portable cassette players and launched the Walkman onto an unsuspecting world in 1979. This neatly designed product came with headphones and was small enough to slip into a pocket, making it the first truly mobile personal entertainment device in the world. Of course, it had its competitors, but the Walkman had the same kudos as today's iPads and iPhones.

By the end of the 80s the days of the cassette tape were numbered. In 1990 over 442,000 were sold, but 10 years later the figure was just 34,000. Now it was the turn of the CD and DVD to reign supreme.

5. Floppy disks

Anyone who was around when the first desktop computers were introduced will be familiar with floppy disks: thin magnetic discs in plastic cases, which were first introduced on a commercial scale by IBM in 1971. This original disk, which was 8 in diameter was read-only and had a capacity of 80KB. By 1976 the diameter of the disk had been reduced to a more manageable 5 and in 1986 the company began to market a 3 read/write disk with a capacity of no less than 1.44MB.

Floppy disks were eventually superseded by a whole raft of more efficient, larger capacity and more compact devices; external hard drives, optical discs, USB flash drives and memory cards. In 2009 Sony discontinued production of its 3 disk, and in Europe the last one was sold in March 2010.

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