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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?

Zip Disks

What they were
Iomega's extremely useful, cleverly marketed high-capacity removable disks - introduced back in 1994, when 100MB qualified as high capacity. They were never as pervasive as floppies, but they must be the most popular, most-loved proprietary disk format of all time.

What happened
The same things that happened to floppy disks, only more slowly - and complicated by the malfunction ominously known as the click of death. When cheap CD burners made it easy to store 650MB on a low-cost disc that worked in nearly any computer, Zip started to look less capacious and cost-efficient.

And then USB drives - which offered more storage than Zip and required no drive at all - came out. Along the way, Iomega launched new disk formats such as Jaz, PocketZip, and Rev, but they failed to recapture the Zip magic.

Current whereabouts
Iomega seems to be doing fine as a manufacturer of storage products of all sorts. It still sells 250MB and 750MB Zip drives, along with Zip media going all the way back to the original 100MB disks. I confess that I never owned a Zip drive myself - but I'll still feel a twinge of sadness when they finally go away.

Z80 Microprocessor

What it was
The 8 bit microprocessor, dating to 1976, that powered an array of early personal computers, including the Radio Shack TRS-80, the Osborne 1, the KayPro II, the Sinclair ZX80, the Exidy Sorcerer, and many others. It was also inside Pac-Man arcade games.

What happened
Progress! Among the notable things about 1981's original IBM PC was its use of a powerful 16 bit CPU, the 8088. In time, 16 bit processors gave way to 32 bit ones, which have been superseded by 64 bit models like Intel's Core 2 Duo and AMD's Phenom.

Current whereabouts
Everywhere - but invisibly so. It's been more than a quarter-century since the chip's time as a personal-computer CPU ended, but it never stopped finding useful life in industrial equipment, office devices, consumer electronics, and musical instruments.

Zilog, the Z80's inventor, still makes 'em. Anyone want to wager on whether the Core 2 Duo will still be around in 2042?

NEXT PAGE: dBASE and Netscape

  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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