Progression versus Regression: The topsy-turvy world of gadgets

In the year 2010 technology is moving more swiftly than we could have ever imagined 20 or 30 years ago, and with these prolific advancements certain gadgets are only surviving through people clinging on to mere nostalgic inertia. Good old video cassettes for example are readily sold at carboot sales, with people willing to part with 10 pence to re-own a ‘classic’ they’ve not seen for years, whilst other such ‘antiquated’ technology is not so lucky and its imminent demise being highly inevitable. But wherever there are losers there are usually winners, and whilst some gadgets are on the irreparable verge of extinction, others are making an extraordinary comeback.


Floppy discs are amongst the soon to be wiped out as Sony have finally announced it will no longer soldier on with floppies and will stop producing in March 2011 and with the arrival of USB sticks, floppy discs’ have well outlived their life expectancy.

Once considered the epitome of high-technology, the fax machine, which meant documents could be rocketed around the world in a blink of an eye, have become an unfashionable item cluttering a home or an office. The advent of emails meant the fax machines days are imminently numbered.

What dial up internet connection still exists? Need I say more? With the birth of broadband and its subsequent nation-wide extension means dial-up internet, with its five-minute page loading sessions will soon to be as dead as a dodo.

With mobile phone manufacturers promising to collaborate to make a standardized universal charger, the days of not having to fervently search to replace a lost charger that will operate a particular model of mobile optimistically beckons. Not only this but with rapidly evolving wireless charging technology, such as in Powermat and Wildcharge devices, charging a mobile as it lies on a table may be just around the corner.

Whilst time is nigh for these unfortunate gadgets, others are making a spectacular resurrection. Despite Polaroid camera’s ability to enthrall and fascinate a generation, these instant image making devices never really took off and died a sudden death with the onslaught of digital photography. Until now that is with the release of the Polaroid 300, a sleeker, slimmer and sexier looking version of this fondly missed snippet of 1980s technological genius.

Also a fond reminder of a generation which would rather be forgotten is the Rubiks Cube, which has been reinvented and updated to adhere to more 21st century conventions. Giving Rubiks Cube lovers an even greater headache, the reinvented version, in which users have to solve a predetermined pattern, has over 10,000 different combinations. This loveable revived gadget will be available to buy later this year.

Remote controls may have single-handedly generated a generation of “couch-potatoes” and revolutionalized the whole watching TV experience, but why do remote controls always consist of superfluous buttons nobody has a clue what their function is? That’s where the company Licentia have stepped in, allowing you to control your television using a device made with two discs. Compress one disc to change the volume and the other to change channel, at last a remote control of simplicity.