We have again come to the end of another year and twelve more months of some pretty awesome technology. We’ve seen Apple roll out the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. Phison released a new PCIe controller allowing ridiculously fast SSDs like the Corsair MP600 Pro XT, and Intel has finally fought back against AMD’s burgeoning Ryzen processors.
But among all the highlights, 2021 also bade us a sad farewell. Some were legendary products loved by many, while others were failed experiments or items we barely knew were there.
Here’s our look at The Technology We’ve Lost, 2021 Edition.
When it comes to ruthlessly reducing excess products, no business can match Google. There weren’t any big surprises this year, but Google hushed up a few things. The company ditched text message forwarding for Google Voice, though it was more the operators’ fault than Google because they started blocking message forwarding. The Google Home Max was retired in late 2020 (aka almost 2021), and Plex, a mobile banking account experiment with Citibank that was announced but never launched, was killed in October 2021.
Google Loon, the company’s internet balloon project that launched in 2018, has gone on the horizon never to return. Google Shopping mobile apps gave way and Feedburner, Google’s RSS management service, went into maintenance mode with services like email subscriptions and advanced analytics discontinued. You can still use Feedburner for now, but who knows how long it will last?
Android Auto no longer works on newer phones as it has been replaced by the Google Assistant driving mode. Google Play Movies and TV took a final bow in favor of YouTube, and Google stopped selling Cardboard hardware. To be honest, this project has always been a living dream.
Google FLoC, the company’s most controversial experiment in ages, also had a short-lived life. While not officially dead, Google FLoC as it was originally designed will not return. Instead, following public comment, Google plans to redesign the untracked user tracking program.
There were many more deaths at Google in 2021 than we could ever summarize here, but if you want to see more things that suffered at the hands of the big G, check out the Killed By Google website.
Office for Android on Chromebooks
In 2021, Microsoft decided that using its Android apps on Chromebooks was no longer a good idea. The company has now directed Chromebook users to Office web apps, saying they offer a more laptop-optimized experience than Android apps.
Alienware Graphics Amplifier
Michael Brown / IDG
Turning your laptop into a gaming powerhouse is surprisingly easy with an external GPU. Dell was one of the first companies to embark on these DIY gaming setups with its eGPU docking station, the Alienware graphics amplifier, but in 2021 that experiment came to an end. The Verge was the first to notice this when he noticed that Dell’s proprietary port required for the graphics amplifier was missing on newer laptops. Now that connecting external GPUs to laptops via Thunderbolt is much more common, that death wasn’t exactly surprising, but pays one for a trailblazer.
For a brief period, Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to create a lite version of Windows called Windows 10X for dual-screen devices (namely the Surface Neo, a folding dual-screen tablet). Then 10X was moved to an operating system for single-screen devices and seen as a potential replacement for Windows 10 in S mode. But no more. Windows 10X lost its individuality and was reinstated into the Windows collective, apparently serving as the basis for the design of Windows 11. (This is probably why the Windows 11 taskbar is such a mess.)
Persicope Relegated to the Depths
In order not to be excluded from the death festival, Twitter killed one of its products in 2021. Periscope closed its doors in March 2021. Acquired by Twitter in 2015 in response to the new Meerkat, Periscope was an app that let you broadcast your life live on Twitter. Despite popular early adoption, it has been virtually invisible for years, with Twitter Live being the company’s preferred option. In 2021, the dominance of Twitter Live was formalized and Periscope fell into oblivion.
Oculus Rift S
Hayden Dingman / IDG
The last Oculus headset that was supposed to be connected to a PC left this year. The Oculus Rift S has disappeared from the proto-metaverse, leaving behind its unattached cousins that offer a more cohesive experience, like the Oculus Quest 2 with its 2K / 90Hz displays. The Rift S will continue to be supported for a few more years, so if you already have one, you should always take advantage of it before it’s another clipboard.
Optane Desktop SSDs
Intel has said goodbye in 2021 to its ridiculously fast Optane drives that use standard PCIe ports. It’s a bit of a loss for PC enthusiasts, but with the second-gen PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD blowing our heads, it’s not the biggest loss in the world.
It was a nice idea: bring Minecraft into the real world, similar to those early Hololens demos, but with your phone instead of a headset. The idea never really caught on thanks in large part to the pandemic preventing people from moving around the world, and therefore Minecraft Earth is heading for sunset in 2021.
LG abandons Android
LG decided it was no longer worth playing the mobile game and ditched its line of Android phones in 2021. LG made a few nice models over the years, but the company felt its time was better spent elsewhere. , such as smart home, robotics, AI and electric vehicle components.
Cut the apple
Apple said in March it would ditch Apple’s full-size HomePod for its smart home ambitions, focusing on the more affordable HomePod Mini instead. The company also bid farewell to the iMac Pro that same month, and many expected an M1-based all-in-one to take its place. Although we’ve seen a 24-inch iMac M1, there hasn’t been any higher power yet, although rumors have it that an iMac Pro M1 will make its debut in 2022.
Take the sack of doom
A few other tech stuff caught our eye heading to the Graveyard of Oblivion in 2021. Logitech ditched its Harmony remote, Yahoo Answers is dead, and the PlayStation Store stopped selling movies and TV shows. Additionally, Amazon Pantry has become obsolete, moving everything to Amazon Fresh, and the first two Kindles that relied on Edge networks to gain support for their lost content.
Date with fate
A few companies have also previewed articles that will be cast into the great unknown in the years to come. Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will go live on a very nice farm in 2025. Verizon and AT&T are set to ditch 3G networks in 2022, and 2022 will also be the end of Internet Explorer, a web browser that has been previously used. both a blessing and a curse for the World Wide Web.
Pour one in for all of our deceased gadgets and services that passed away in 2021. And here is until 2022, where we’ll undoubtedly be saying a big goodbye to more tech we loved.
Ian is an Israel-based freelance writer who has never encountered a tech subject he didn’t like. It mainly covers Windows, computer and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When not covering the news, he’s working on how-to tips for PC users or adjusting his eGPU setup.