The Technology That Died in 2021

Published on 28 Dec 2021

When we look back on 2021, we see several notable developments, including advancements in technology and the items we utilize on a daily basis.

While we welcomed a slew of new technologies—including Apple AirTags, the Google Pixel 6, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 8—we also had to bid farewell to certain technology that many of us have grown to know and love.

According to experts, the cessation of a platform, app, or gadget does not always imply that it was a failure, but rather a result of a changing market that the platform, app, or device could no longer serve. Thus, to give a fond goodbye, here are some of the most important technological losses of 2021.

See also: What's happening with the internet?

1. Yahoo Answers

Yahoo Answers was maybe the most nostalgic farewell we had to say in 2021. In April, it was revealed that Yahoo Answers will formally close on May 4 after 15 years of supplying the internet with infinite laughter and answers to our urgent problems.

Yahoo Answers instilled a feeling of community in an entire generation via shared questions. At its heart, Yahoo Answers assisted users in resolving issues or inquiries, whether it was figuring out how to operate a lawnmower or answering more of the now-viral topics such as "What happens when you get pregnant?" or "How do you construct a weeji board?"

However, since it did not need any special knowledge to utilize, Yahoo Answers often resulted in ignorance and disinformation. Before the phrases "cyberbullying" and "trolling" were invented, Yahoo Answers was one of the first online forums to permit them, opening the path for online bullies to flourish.

Nonetheless, experts believe the demise of Yahoo Answers demonstrates the critical need of preserving digital chronology. Ian Milligan, an associate lecturer of history at the University of Waterloo who specializes in the use of digital archives by historians, told Lifewire over the phone that the inability to preserve the complete site demonstrates how vulnerable the internet's history really is.

2. LG Pay

LG's version of a digital wallet was formally discontinued in November following a three-year run. LG Pay employed Wireless Magnetic Communication, which eliminated the need to use a physical credit card, and included LG PayQuick, which allowed customers to quickly and securely make payments by merely swiping up from the base of the mobile phone screen.

Ultimately, the service never achieved the kind of popularity enjoyed by rival digital wallet systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, both of which continue to operate.

LG's decision to abandon LG Pay makes sense as well. The firm said in April that it will discontinue the production of smartphones in favor of "electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robots, artificial intelligence, and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services."

3. Locast

Locast was ended in 2021 after losing a legal struggle in September against the main four broadcasters over copyright laws: ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.

Locast allows television viewers to get local over-the-air content through set-top boxes, cellphones, or other devices of their choosing for a much-reduced cost. It was America's first nonprofit, free digital translator service for local broadcast television.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) described the court's decision to shut down operations as a "significant blow to millions of people who depend on local television broadcasts." Mitch Stoltz, an EFF senior staff attorney who joined the legal team defending Locast, told Lifewire that the network's emphasis on local news was critical to so many people.

The service crossed 2.3 million customers earlier this year, making it one of the fastest-growing live TV app providers at the time. Unfortunately, it was forced to close despite the fact that experts such as Stoltz said that it functioned lawfully under the 1976 Copyright Act, which permits charity organizations to rebroadcast local stations without obtaining a copyright license from the broadcaster.

While the demise of Locast may have been a disappointment for customers, experts such as Phillip Swann, writer of TV Dotcom: The Future of Interactive Television, believe the service was always doomed.

4. Apple's Original HomePod

Even Apple goods do not always survive, and in March, the tech giant revealed the first Apple HomePod will be discontinued after four years on the market.

According to TechCrunch, Apple spent five years developing the original HomePod, which boasts a booming sound in comparison to other smart home speakers. However, several detractors cited the device's hefty price tag of $349, which was far more than that of any other smart speaker on the market.

Ultimately, buyers preferred the Apple HomePod small (probably because of the lower price and more fun color options).

Nevertheless, there is no need to be worried if you still own an original Apple HomePod; Apple has said that it would continue to support current devices.

See also: Amazon’s Alexa on Wheels Sparks Fresh Concerns About Privacy

5. Google Hangouts 

Google phased off Hangouts this year in favor of Google Chat. As of October, Classic Hangouts has been discontinued and all users have been transferred to Google Chat.

Hangouts launched on Google in 2013 and included features such as instant messaging and video calling. While Hangouts offered unique capabilities such as direct and group chatting, Google Chat adds useful features such as direct message delivery to your inbox, quicker search, emoji responses, and recommended replies.

Therefore, rather than seeing Google Hangouts' phase-out as a farewell, consider it an update to your total messaging experience on Google.

6. Houseparty App

As a solid indicator that the fight to remain at home in 2020 was over, the app that took us through the initial year of the pandemic was shut down in October.

While Houseparty was founded in 2016, it gained widespread appeal in 2020 as a result of stay-at-home orders that forced us to communicate with people through video applications. According to Forbes, the app was downloaded 17.2 million times in March 2020, up from 500,000 in August.

The app became an instant hit in the early days of the epidemic because of its ability to video chat with friends and family while also delivering unique features like in-app games and the opportunity to watch TV programs together.

Eventually, as the world evolved toward distant work and social gatherings, the technologies that enabled this new normal gained in popularity, and Houseparty lost its charm. Especially in 2021, when conditions were more 'normal' than in 2020, the app had all but vanished from the early epidemic days.


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