All the Tech That Died in 2016

December 31, 2016 5:00 am
Broken VCR And Tape
(Difydave/Getty Images)
Broken VCR And Tape (Difydave/Getty Images)
Tech that died: the VCR. (Difydave/Getty Images)
(Difydave/Getty Images)


This year claimed more than just celebrities. A lot of once-viable tech products and services died this year, enough for Wired‘s Gadget Lab podcast to dedicate an entire episode to it.

One of the biggest deaths, especially for thirtysomethings who are already neck-deep in nostalgia, was the VCR, which officially went out of production in July. As we all know, the VHS format triumphed over Betamax in the 1980s, despite being worse in nearly every way, and gave rise to a vibrant, low-resolution ecosystem of video rental store culture, tape trading, and outright piracy.

With the demise of the VCR, some people mourned the loss of a cheap, convenient, and easily duplicated format. But most of us just felt sad at seeing a ubiquitous part of our childhoods fade away.

In terms of tech that died in 2016, Vine was another huge one. The video-sharing platform ultimately lost out to rivals like Instagram and Snapchat, but the culture surrounding it was a haven of bizarre micro-comedy. It was also, as The New York Times pointed out, a creative outlet for people of color, many of whom were producing bonafide sketch comedy that was echoed by the mainstream. (The phrase “on fleek,” for example, was first uttered on Vine.)

Tech that died: the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
A Samsung customer browses a web page showing a fire-damaged Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone on a similar device. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)


Other tech deaths were not so tragic. Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones were such an embarrassment to the company that they recalled every single one of them. Then their replacement phones started exploding, and those had to be recalled as well. The culprit was the phone’s lithium-ion battery, which was super flammable and tended to catch fire (and worse) if the phone overheated.

The same thing happened to hoverboards powered by lithium-ion batteries, like the one that burned down a house in Louisiana. Add them to 2016’s tech mausoleum.

Those are the most prominent ones, when it comes to tech that died this year. But the Gadget Lab podcast covered a lot more in their 2016 recap. Go here to listen to it.

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