51 discontinued tech gadgets we once loved and will never see again

  • As near and dear as some tech products are to our hearts, they can’t always withstand the test of time.
  • Sony Walkmans were replaced by CDs, which were then replaced by iPods, which were then replaced by our smartphones.
  • Gone but not forgotten, here are 51 tech gadgets we miss.

It happens all the time – for one reason or another, a company gives up on a beloved product and gives it the “End of Life” kiss of death.

The company stops producing it. It stops supporting it. It diverts its resources to other pursuits in hopes of creating something bigger and better than before.

And then, that gadget we once loved is gone.

Whether it’s for purely nostalgic reasons or practical purposes, here are 51 discontinued products that we miss.

Released in 1971, the PhoneMate 400 allowed twenty messages to be recorded on the machine’s reel-to-reel tapes. It couldn’t survive the digital era however, as digital answering machines eventually rang in.

Source: Time

The first commercially available cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, clocked in at 1.75 pounds and cost almost $US4,000 when it debuted in 1983. It garnered an association with business-types until it was replaced with newer versions.

Source: Time and Mashable

A relic of the late 1990s, PalmPilot devices were the de-facto standalone handheld organisers before people made the jump to smartphones in the early 2000s.

The BlackBerry Quark released in 2003 was the first BlackBerry gadget that let you check email, make phone calls, send text messages, manage your calendar, and more all from one device. It was eventually discontinued and, as of 2016, BlackBerry no longer produces mobile devices at all.

Source: Time and Wired

The brainchild of former Apple employees, the Sidekick was the “cool kid” mobile device of the early 2000s and was a hit with everyone from teens to celebrities until Android phones and iPhones booted it off its throne.

Source: Complex

Motorola’s Razr V3 flip phone was another “it” tech statement piece, ingraining itself into early 2000s culture. It, too, saw its end as the Android and the iPhone rose to power.

Source: Time

In 2005, Motorola partnered with Apple to release the ROKR E1, the first phone that could play music straight from the iTunes store. But thanks to its 100-song limit, this little phone spent less than a year on the market.

Source: Business Insider and Cult of Mac

The heavily-anticipated Galaxy Note 7 sadly crashed and burned in 2016 — literally. Reports came streaming in of the device overheating and exploding due to faulty batteries, leading to Samsung recalling all Note 7 phones.

Source: Business Insider

Unlike Apple, Google opted out of the typical flashy release of its line of smartphone devices, shelling out the Nexus One, 4, 5, 6, 5X, and 6P with relatively low-key launches before nixing the line in 2016.

Source: Business Insider

Google Desktop was a handy piece of PC software released in 2004 that provided users with a central location to perform multiple tasks. It was one of several products discontinued all at once as Google refocused its resources.

Source: Google

The Sunrise calendar was at one point one of the best digital calendars. Microsoft bought the app in 2015 for $US100 million before rolling Sunrise into its Outlook platform, much to the delight of devoted Sunrise users.

Source: Business Insider

Ah, MySpace. It brought social networking into the mainstream in 2003. It was relaunched ten years after as “New Myspace,” with a bigger focus on music and less of a focus on status updates.

Vine became Twitter’s very own video platform when Twitter shelled out $US30 million for it in 2012, but as Twitter’s business grew, focuses had to be narrowed, and Vine was cut loose from the site.

Source: The Verge

Peer-to-peer music sharing service Napster let users freely listen to music through MP3 files in the early 2000s. An infamous lawsuit over copyright infringement with the band Metallica led to its downfall after just two years.

Source: ABC News

Fellow filesharing service LimeWire walked the line a bit better, but it too met the same fate, shuttering in 2010, ten years after launching, for letting millions share a vast amount of copyrighted music.

Source: The Guardian

HitClips gave music listeners short snippets of hit 2000s songs from artists like Britney Spears. If you were extra cool, you looped the clips onto a keychain on your school backpack. MP3 files eventually pushed through the fad.

Getty Images

Source: Buzzfeed

Songbird, an open-source software alternative to iTunes, was incredibly popular among the Linux community. Then in 2010, the company stopped its Linux support, disappointing loads of users.

Source: Linux

The Pebble smartwatch was an iconic Kickstarter project, but following Fitbit’s 2017 acquisition of the company, Pebble announced its products would cease to be compatible with smartphones.

Source: Business Insider

Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld gave us legendary games in the 1990s like Super Mario Land and held up 14 years in the market before it was replaced with the new and improved Game Boy Advance.

Source: The Guardian

The PlayStation released in 1994 was Sony’s first generation of what would become a line of the world’s most popular gaming consoles. Games like “Final Fantasy VII” and “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” became all-time classics.

Source: Digital Trends

The Sony PlayStation 2 launched six years into the original console’s lifespan and would go on to claim one of the longest running production periods of a gaming system.

It had a faster, more powerful processor, better graphics, and it was compatible with PS1 games as well as the DualShock controller produced for the original.

Source: Quora

Sega’s Dreamcast was home to beloved games including “Phantasy Star Online” and “Sonic Adventure,” but was scrapped in 2001 so that the company could focus more on software.

Source: Business Insider

The Nintendo 64’s M-shaped controller broke ground in the gaming world. But it used pricey cartridges instead of the cheaper CDs, so it never had the same success as the Sony PlayStation. Nintendo halted production of the N64 in 2002.

Source: Fortune

The PlayStation 3 launched in 2006 and boasted a handful of features that made it stand out against the PS2, like wireless controllers, internet connectivity, and the ability to play Blu-Ray discs — plus a ton more computing horsepower.

Source: Quora and Statista

The Nintendo Wii landed on the market in 2006 and found competitors in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. Before getting discontinued in 2013, the Wii taught a whole generation how to control video games by moving their bodies around.

Source: Quora

Sony launched its PlayStation Portable in 2004, but pulled the plug on it after nearly ten years to focus its attention on its new handheld console, the PS Vita.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Source: IGN

Sony has confirmed that in 2019 games will no longer be made for the PlayStation Vita, a handheld console known for boasting games like “Uncharted: Golden Abyss.” The company will continue producing the hardware.

Source: Polygon

The Regency TR-1 was the first transistor radio and gave listeners more portability than they were previously afforded. It debuted in 1954 for about $US50, or $US458 in today’s money.

Source: Time

Long before Apple’s iPod hit the market, the people of the 1980s used a Sony Walkman to listen to music on-the-go. It saw a dip in popularity in the early 2000s, leading to its discontinuation in 2010.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft launched the Zune five years into Apple’s iPod reign before discontinuing the portable players in 2012. The Zune let you “squirt” songs to your friends who also had one — too bad it never found iPod-levels of success.

Walt Disney Studios/NetflixZune lovers everywhere were treated to a small cinematic cameo in 2017’s second instalment of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ when the movie’s main character swaps out his beloved Walkman for a Zune.

Source: Business Insider

These bulky VHS tape boxes were a living room staple up until the 2000s. Before the rise of DVDs shuttered their production, movies recorded on video cassettes are what we entertained ourselves with at home.

Carl Court/Getty Images

Sony’s Betamax was a contender in the videotape format wars of the 1980s, but ultimately lost to VHS. However, Betamax tapes actually stayed in production until 2016.

Source: CNN

Google delved into the streaming market in 2012 with the $US299 Nexus Q player, allowing users to hook up media from the Google Play Store to the TV. It never actually hit store shelves — it was cancelled before release, after a lukewarm initial response.

Mathew Sumner/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

A year after the Nexus Q’s demise, Google launched the slimmer, less expensive ($US99) Nexus streamer that was praised for its voice search capabilities and its pairing with Google’s Android TV platform. It was killed off after two years.

Source: Wired

The Commodore 64 was an 8-bit computer of the 1980s that competed with the Apple ll series. It enjoyed a comfortable six-year period of success, with an estimated 19 million units sold in all.

All good things must come to an end however – Commodore filed for bankruptcy in 1994. But after some internal shuffling, in 2011 the Commodore 64x was released with the same design as this relic.

Source: CNET

Apple’s Lisa project in 1983 aimed to provide business-centric customers with a powerful personal computer. Instead, it flopped with the Macintosh garnering more success with its launch later on.

As for the device’s namesake, the daughter of Apple visionary Steve Jobs, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, revealed in an excerpt from her new memoir “Small Fry” that it took years for her father to admit that he named the Lisa computer after her (he originally denied it, claiming that it stood for “Local Integrated Software Architecture.”)

Source: Business Insider

The polycarbonate White MacBook was a new version of the line of laptops, originally launched in 2006. It retailed for $US999 before meeting its sudden demise.

Source: Cult of Mac

The colourful clamshelled Apple iBook spurred a larger market movement towards laptops equipped with WiFi, giving users some extra mobility until it was replaced by the MacBook in 2006.

Source: Cult of Mac

Apple’s Newton in the 1990s involved a stylus and handwriting recognition software to capture notes. The most reasonable explanation for its discontinuation seems to be that Apple was in financial distress and had to make cuts where it could.

Source: My Apple Newton

A decade before Apple launched the iPad, Sony released what was essentially a portable computer, allowing users to watch TV and access the internet. Its lofty price tag and poor picture display sent the Airboard out the door by 2008.

Reuters Photographer

Source: Reuters

What is now known as the Kindle Keyboard was officially the third generation of Amazon’s famous e-reader, and is possibly its most classic look. It remained on the market while Amazon pushed out other models, but it was quietly discontinued in 2013.

Barnes and Noble’s first Nook in 2009 gave readers a platform to purchase digital copies of books. This past June, the company announced that it was stopping support for these devices due to users transitioning to competing e-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle.

Source: Good E-Reader

The 2011 discontinuation of the HP TouchPad, an early iPad competitor, is almost laughable. Despite showing some promise, it got the axe after just a month and a half on the market.

Source: The Washington Post

The JCV VideoMovie Camcorder shook up the video world in 1984 with its in-camera slot for tapes. It endured for more than two decades before getting pushed out by its compact, more digital successors (looking at you, smartphone.)

Source: Time

Kodak launched slim cameras that used ultracompact discs of film instead of rolled film strips in the 1980s. But people eventually grew weary of the low photo quality, and these cameras were completely kaput by 1988.

Source: Gizmodo

Apple’s QuickTake 100 in 1994 was the first digital camera for consumers, and held space for at least eight photos. It could only work with a Macintosh computer and didn’t have autofocus or zoom features, but it had a digital display.

Source: Time

A beloved, pocket-sized camera that shot up to an hour of video and stored it digitally — what’s not to love in the Flip camera? In 2009, Cisco acquired Pure Digital Technologies, the company behind the device, and ended up ceasing production.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Before DSLRs came equipped with WiFi, photographers had to physically transport their photos to a computer. Eye-Fi’s 2 GB SD card in the early 2000s was WiFi-enabled, letting users automatically upload photos straight from their camera.

Source: Time and The Verge

In the mid 1990s, Adobe PageMaker was a groundbreaking desktop publishing program that made it a snap to produce compelling text and image-based media. The company chose to focus on InDesign instead.

Source: Quora

Google Reader was a powerful RSS feed management tool beloved by many, but not enough for Google to keep busy supporting it. It was discontinued eight years after its 2005 release.


Source: Google Blog

Sparrow was an awesome email client used by employees every day at one point, but it’s no longer supported since the company was acquired by Google in 2012.

Source: The Verge

Karyne Levy contributed to an earlier version of this article.

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