Monday, December 26, 2016

Tech we lost 2016: RIP Vine, the headphone jack, Galaxy Note7, the VCR, the Nexus Brand, and Pebble smart watch.

This year gave us some of our favorite tech yet, but it wasn't good news for all.

As with every year, companies went out of business, apps shut down and tech toys disappeared from store shelves for good.

The Headphone Jack

Yes, technically the 3.5mm jack is still around, but Apple's "courageous"
decision to jettison the venerable audio port from the iPhone 7 is already inspiring other manufacturers (HTC and Motorola among them) to do the same. Its days are definitely numbered.

The vision of a wireless future in which headphones no longer tether us to our devices, providing audio connections that are crystal-clear and reliable is compelling. But in the present, it's hard to see this cordless nirvana through all the dongles.


Vine’s death came as no surprise to the community of creators who for a long time called it their creative home. But many were still disappointed when Twitter announced plans to axe the video app it acquired in 2013. In its heyday, many big name digital influencers rose to fame thanks to Vine. However, Twitter recently said it plans to keep Vine alive (kind of) with a pared-down Vine Camera app.

Galaxy Note7

For a brief moment, Samsung was unstoppable. The company launched its Galaxy Note7 to glowing reviews. Mashable even called it the best smartphone on the planet
before rescinding its Mashable Choice award. The Note7 had everything you could want in a beautiful, premium phone, including a headphone jack. But the ambitious phone, aimed at taking down Apple's iPhone 7, literally went up in flames almost as fast as it rocketed to the top.

Defective batteries and an extremely ambitious design with tight tolerances are believed to be the causes for the Note7's death. Though we’ll never know if the Note7 would have turned the tide in Android’s favor, here’s to hoping Samsung learned some valuable lessons and the Note 8 is a safer phone for all.


If you've never had to handle a VCR tape before, you're missing out. In July, Japan's Funai Electric, the world's last surviving VCR maker, wound down its production of the dated video cassette recording format 40 years after the first VCR was made.

Funai, which started making VCRs 30 years ago, used to sell tens of millions of the devices at the format's peak, but could only move 750,000 last year. VCRs were a hallmark of home recording, allowing people to tape what was airing on TV. In the '90s, it's been estimated that 95 percent of U.S. homes had one.

Nexus Brand

Sorry Android enthusiasts, it looks like there will never be another Nexus-branded phone. Launched back in 2010 with the Nexus One, the brand that was once synonymous with Google and Android is no more. With the launch of the Pixel phones this year, Google made it clear it no longer wants to share the spotlight with its hardware partners.


The watch that “kickstarted” the smartwatch craze is no more. What started out as a simple idea turned into a movement and eventually became the poster boy for Kickstarter.

Despite launching a new generation of smartwatches this July and holding the record for three of the four most funded Kickstarter projects of all time, Pebble’s days were numbered as the company struggled to stay afloat. Fitbit ended up scooping it up , but even that company wasn't interested in Pebble's hardware.

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