It’s time to find out which gimmicky novelties or obsolete products have outstayed their welcome
It has been a fantastic year for the consumer tech market.
Apple broke its sales record with its new iPhone 6s, and also rolled out its music streaming service — Apple Music. OnePlus released its sequel to last year’s flagship smartphone killer OnePlus One. Microsoft launched its new Surface Pro 4 — a high-power tablet that can run the Adobe Creative Suite and Autodesk with ease.
Tesla Motors finally started shipping its game-changing electric SUV — the Tesla Model X. Amazon released its smart home device — Amazon Echo — which allows users to play music, turn on their lights and receive news updates.
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Yet, in spite of all these awesome new products, there are a few products — some of which are seemingly useful — which I feel, should be retired.
Here are four that need to go the way of the dodo, pronto.
Let’s get one thing straight here. This is a hoverboard.
…is a glorified Segway sans the handle.
Can you imagine this ever achieving widespread adoption? Pedestrian walkways will be cluttered by lazy goons zipping around on this sorry substitute for their perfectly working pair of legs. Come on! If you want to commute on a device with wheels, go the old school way — bicycles. You can get heaps of exercise and — depending on where you live — there are lanes designed specifically for them.
And what’s this about hoverboards burning up?
So, go ahead, keep using it if you wish to become a life-sized Olympic torch or a shining beacon to the folly of mankind. For those who are wiser, stay clear of this abomination.
Thankfully, Amazon has taken heed of the dangers of the hoverboard and has started removing some brands from its site.
2. Smartphones with 8/16GB memory and no external storage
Apple iPhone. That’s right, I’m addressing you. Now, don’t look at Google Nexus or OnePlus because their prices are far more competitive. What a shame too because your brand is so highly revered.
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Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Apple iPhones and have been a loyal user for many years due to its intuitive fuss-free features and stable OS.
But, please, when the iOS takes up 4.4Gb of my 16GB space, leaving me with only a little more than 11GB, I should have the option to purchase my own additional storage, not shell out close to US$100 (which is about the price of a Xiaomi Redmi 2) for an iPhone with bigger storage.
I mean it’s no longer the 1990s when 10GB of storage cost an average of US$250. This is 2015! MicroSD cards with 32GB storage cost about US$10 a piece. Get with the times!
Thankfully, there are the cloud storage apps like Google Drive or iCloud that can help alleviate this problem. But they all require a stable Internet connection.
My solution: Either keep the 16GB storage for low-budget, entry-level iPhone models (this may be happening if these rumours are true) with smaller storage capacities or phase them out altogether.
3. Selfie sticks
Practising narcissism is, in itself, perfectly fine, if it does not pose a danger to more well-esteemed folks around you. Unfortunately, the introduction of these obscene, intrusive selfie sticks — which are really just incense sticks to the god of vanity — has made that point moot. You could seriously give someone a nasty bruise if you hit them with it.
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It’s a sure-fire way to tarnish your country’s reputation when you are travelling.
Did you also know that selfies kill more people than sharks?
These need to be buried in a tomb and sealed with an Inca curse! Now!
4. Some child monitoring apps/ platforms
Now parents, don’t be too hasty to stone me yet.
I am an ardent believer that tech is a great enabler to keep in touch with your child. I am not calling for the total abolition of all child-monitoring apps, but, at the same time, it can be overbearing for the child if you are going to watch over him like a hungry hawk.
Take, for example, uKnowKids. Among its exhaustive list of child-monitoring features, it claims to be able to translate slangs via its “Text Lingo definitions”. One wonders how it is able to accurately define a slang word. What if it was a word made up just among your child’s group of friends?
And look at this testimonial from Greg Strizek, Falls Church, Virginia — “uKnowKids provides us with an ‘early warning system’. As soon as we see anything — new friends or contacts, photos posted online, language that is beyond what she should be using, etc… we can engage in meaningful conversation.”
Come on, doesn’t this sound like an Orwellian Big Brother targetted at kids? I don’t know about you, but, if this happened to me, I would find it rather stifling.
I can imagine it would create a lot of friction in the household on what should be deemed inappropriate online behaviour. I dread the day our future generation’s culture regresses to a 1950s sitcom where every joke is “prim and proper”.
Instead, as netizens, we need to strike a balance between letting kids express their opinions freely and censoring damaging content.
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