Obsolete Tech: 10 Gadgets That Are Now Useless

Technology evolves so rapidly that gadgets become obsolete in just a few years. Many once-popular devices now seem laughably outdated. Here are 10 prime examples of tech that time has made totally useless.


Personal digital assistants like the PalmPilot were useful gadgets in the 1990s and 2000s for contacts, calendars, and notes. But when smartphones came along and integrated these features and more, PDAs were rendered obsolete.

DVD Players

In the early 2000s, DVD players rapidly overtook VCRs as the primary home movie watching device. But with the rise of video streaming services like Netflix in the 2010s, discrete DVD players are now rarely used since content is watched on smart TVs, tablets, phones, and laptops instead.

Phone Book

Before smartphones, people relied on thick printed phone books delivered to their homes annually to look up phone numbers by name. Digital address books on phones and computers made these bulky directories completely obsolete.

MP3 Player

Standalone devices like the iPod were revolutionary in the 2000s for taking your digital music collection everywhere. But smartphones added music playback alongside apps, web access, cameras, and more all in one device, so dedicated MP3 players faded away.

Fax Machine

Once office staples for sending documents over phone lines, fax machines have been replaced by email attachments, scanning to PDF, and cloud sharing services. Digital transmission is faster, higher quality, and more secure.

Portable GPS

Dedicated in-car navigation devices used to be essential for driving to unfamiliar destinations. But GPS navigation was integrated directly into maps apps on smartphones with turn-by-turn direction capability, displacing standalone GPS gadgets.

Analog TV Antenna

Analog television used to require an antenna with "rabbit ears" to tune in over-the-air channels. The transition to digital TV made these antennas useless since a digital converter box and new antenna are required.


These popular gadgets in the 80s and 90s allowed people to receive short text messages. But they were totally displaced when text messaging directly from cell phones took over person-to-person messaging.


Video cassette recorders were replaced first by DVD players and then by streaming, as people shifted to on-demand digital content vs physical videotapes. Very few households still use a VCR.


Portable cassette players like the iconic Sony Walkman were succeeded first by the Discman and then the iPod when digital music overtook tapes and discs. Smartphones finishing off the iPod also wiped out the original portable music player.

Walk down memory lane and be grateful for how far tech has come! But beware - today’s essential gadgets may just as quickly become obsolete relics. Such is the breakneck pace of technological change.