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25 technology products: gone but not forgotten

These classics will be forever in our memories

We've rounded up the 25 best tech products that may be long gone, but we'll never forget them. How have they managed to hang on for so long?

Hayes Modems

What they were
Dial-up modems from the company whose founder, Dennis Hayes, in essence invented the PC modem in the 1970s. The commands he devised became such a standard that all dial-up modems use them to this day. Hayes dominated the modem business for years - it was as synonymous with the product category it pioneered as any tech company before or since.

What happened
Well, dial-up modems don't matter as much as they once did, in case you hadn't noticed. But Hayes' decline and fall dates to well before the death of dial-up: the company stubbornly kept prices high even in the face of much cheaper competition, and thought its future lay in making ISDN modems, a market that never took off. It declared bankruptcy in 1994 and again in 1998, and was liquidated in 1999.

Current whereabouts
In 1999, Zoom Telephonics - the company whose dirt-cheap modems played a major role in crushing Hayes - bought the Hayes name. It continues to market a few Hayes-branded modems. But it's a pretty obscure fate for a once-mighty brand.

MiniDisc

What it was
Sony's format for pint-sized recordable audio discs, introduced in 1992. The idea was that it combined the best qualities of compact discs and cassette tapes into one high-quality, portable package that could contain up to 80 minutes of music.

What happened
MiniDisc found some fans - it was popular in Asia, and among musicians. But it never gained much support from the music industry, so few prerecorded albums were available. And within a few years of its introduction, it found itself competing with digital downloads.

While Sony introduced NetMD, a MiniDisc variant that supported MP3, the company made it remarkably unappealing by adding copy protection to your tracks as you transferred them to disc. Why would you choose NetMD when a multitude of players, such as those from Creative, let MP3s be MP3s? Good question!

Current whereabouts
In 2004, Sony upgraded the MiniDisc format with Hi-MD, a higher-capacity, more flexible standard that was backwards compatible with MiniDiscs. It garnered some admiration among audiophiles for the high quality of its recording capabilities. But as of 2009, only one Hi-MD device remains in Sony's lineup, the MZ-M200. It's aimed at musicians and journalists who need to make recordings on the go. The moment it disappears, we can officially declare MiniDisc dead.

NEXT PAGE: Monochrome displays and Hercules graphics cards

  1. These classics will be forever in our memories
  2. Hayes modems and the Mini Disc
  3. Monochrome displays and Hercules graphics cards
  4. PDA's and Packard Bell
  5. Amiga and Floppy disks
  6. Zip disks and the Z80 microprocessor
  7. dBASE and Netscape
  8. MS-Dos and Lotus 1-2-3
  9. PageMaker and After Dark
  10. Havard Graphics and AltaVista
  11. Webvan and CompuServe
  12. VCR Plus+ and Circuit City


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