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5 Tech Products That Will Be Dead in 5 Years

by on December 30, 2013
in Blog, News :: 39 comments

With the speed of innovation in the tech industry, we can’t know every piece of technology that will fill our everyday lives in five years, but we can predict what won't last. As smartphones begin to render low-end cameras obsolete and Netflix continues to upend the DVD and Blu-ray market, it’s clear the technology landscape will look dramatically different in the near future.

Here are five tech products we predict will go the way of the dodo in the next half-decade.

Blu-ray/DVD players

Netflix, Netflix, Netflix. Amazingly, the entire demise of Blu-rays and DVDs (and Blockbuster) are due to one company. There were other players in the cultural shift to streaming movies, but Netflix is the iTunes of movies on demand. Funny enough, iTunes offers movie rentals as well.

Blu-ray players were the cream of the crop when it came to watching movies for a few years, but 2013 is expected to be the last year of growth for the market. As the ease of use, accessibility and quality of Netflix  continues to increase as it rolls out 4K streaming over the next few years (not to mention other competitors that may generate interest from users), look for Blu-ray players to quickly become a nice collectible right next to your VCR.

Stand-alone in-car GPS units

In a little over six years, over 1.3 billion iPhone and Android smartphones have been sold around the world, and all of those devices have access to mapping software. Combine that with the propagation of in-car GPS systems, and it spells a swift demise for the stand-alone GPS units for vehicle dashboards, which saw widespread success in the early and mid-2000s. Since smartphones started offering GPS capabilities in 2008, sales of stand-alone GPS units for vehicles have seen a 15-20 percent decline per year.

Costing between $75 and $350, standalone GPS units built for vehicles from companies like Garmin and TomTom are already losing their viability (although these companies are still finding success with GPS units for boating and other outdoor activities), and will likely be completely removed from the market in five years. As battery technology allows for more usage time in smartphones and more people move into newer cars with built-in GPS systems, opting for a standalone GPS unit will cease be an option in the near future.

Dial-up Internet

Yes, dial-up Internet is still around, and people still use it. In fact, 3 percent of Americans still use dial-up Internet. That’s 9 million people, equal to the population of New Jersey. Only 65 percent of Americans currently have broadband connections. Thanks to the necessity of the Internet and new alternatives for connecting to the Internet at faster speeds, this won’t be the case for long.

Internet companies are expanding at a rapid pace, as people in underserved areas demand access to broadband speeds. Expansions will continue over the next five years, thanks in part to the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which aims to bring broadband to 7 million Americans who cannot currently receive it. Combined with expansions from cable companies and new viable alternatives like satellite Internet (which now reaches speeds of 15Mbps), dial-up Internet will finally be extinct in five years.

Low-end digital cameras

We have Apple to thank for this one. The 2010 release of the iPhone 4 and its game-changing camera forced the mobile industry to step up camera quality to the point that it has rendered sub-$200 point-and-shoot cameras all but obsolete. There are still a few straggling consumers out there who prefer the optical zoom or battery life of a low-end digital camera over the one in their smartphone, but at the rate of progression of mobile camera technology, those user complaints will soon be addressed.

In five years, camera companies like Nikon, Canon and Sony will have done away with their low-end camera lines and shifted their focus to the mid- and high-end market, as the low-end market will have been completely subsumed by smartphones.

Car keys

One of the quickest and least discussed changes to happen over the last few years is the reduction of physical car keys and the introduction of smart keys in a number of new vehicles by manufacturers. Surprisingly, the move away from physical car keys happened without much of a fuss from consumers. With benefits like keyless entry, push to start, driver profiles and remote start, buyers of newer vehicles have enjoyed the benefits of the new smart system (though many still end up to getting locked out of their cars if they leave the car while the engine is warming up).

But as quickly as smart keys have come on the scene, smartphones may soon replace them. With apps like OnStar RemoteLink offered by Chevrolet, which allows you to unlock and start a your car with an app, the future of car keys may lie in an app store. Whether we stick with smart keys or move on to something more innovative in five years, you can be sure that the physical car key we have used for the last 70 or so years will be a thing of the past for new cars.

[gps unit image via Shutterstock]

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Discussion loading

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You forgot one thing!

From Wes on December 30, 2013 :: 10:40 am

Wallets!

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Add Cigarettes to List

From Spencer on December 30, 2013 :: 10:59 am

Electronic cigarettes will replace traditional cigarettes.  Probably in five years but definitely in ten years.

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not necessarily

From malke roth on December 30, 2013 :: 4:06 pm

There are many people me included who simply don’t like the taste of the electronic cigarettes, it doesn’t compare to the real thing and I don’t think it ever will so I don’t think regular cigarettes will ever become obsolete.

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I wouldn't...

From MrPicture on December 30, 2013 :: 5:41 pm

...buy stock. Most municipalities are banning them. Don’t see it happening.

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GPS

From Joan on December 30, 2013 :: 11:16 am

My phone gps cuts out whenever I have no service. The gps doesn’t. Unless they fix this, I can’t see stand alone gps disappearing.

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GPS

From L in Houston on December 30, 2013 :: 11:42 am

Until smartphone GPS doesn’t cut out when I’m in downtown or a surbuban area. I have a Galaxy S4 and would much rather use a stand alone unit. The GPS in our 2007 suburban is Dvd based and the update disk is over $600 from the dealer. ..

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Absolutely correct...

From MrPicture on December 30, 2013 :: 5:42 pm

...the phone GPS units are ok, but the screens are small, and if you get a phone call, you lose your navigation with most units! The stand alone GPS will be around for a while…

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Exactly!

From James on January 03, 2014 :: 11:35 pm

Cell phone GPS relies on the cell towers; a standalone GPS device doesn’t.  I just made a road trip across West Texas, New Mexico and the Colorado rockies.  The vast majority of the trip, cell service was intermittent to non-existent. While cell phone GPS is handy in most metro areas, it’s not sufficient in rural areas.

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No, the cell phone gps

From Paul on January 04, 2014 :: 6:03 pm

No, the cell phone gps doesn’t rely on cell towers. The gps receiver works the same as standalone units. They just listen to the signal from gps satellites.
What does change is the acquisition of the mapping data. If you aren’t in cell range, you can’t get the new map imagery. The phone does still know where it is located though. Standalone units store that data. But…the standalone maps are not as good as the smartphone variety, and they don’t update on the fly.
You just need to learn to cache the relevant areas before you go to them.

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Stand alone = no profit

From Kevin on January 04, 2014 :: 5:06 pm

It doesn’t matter if certain individuals prefer stand alone GPS devices for certain narrow reasons. If the mass market goes away then so will much or all the profit in producing them. I don’t think the stand alone GPS will ever fully eliminated, but it will be marginalized and its continuous improvement will definitely slow down rapidly and its cost prohibitive for most people.

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GPS/Loss of Service

From Tony on January 06, 2014 :: 7:19 pm

With Android you can load maps to your phone’s memory so you do not need a data connection.  I do a lot of trail riding and off-roading out in the boonies where regular phone and data service is unavailable.  However my android phone’s GPS mapping and turn-by-turn directions still work through google maps (as long as I remembered to download that area’s maps).  If you DL the maps from your home wi-fi, you can also save a ton of data DL from your carrier’s limit.

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Netflix... really...

From Mary L Cottingham on December 30, 2013 :: 11:35 am

While they were the original game changer, I really don’t think they are the long-term killer of the home movie segment.  Doesn’t that credit really go to Ultraviolet and associated services (e.g., VUDU)?  Regardless, after having power back in hours after Superstorm Sandy, but no cable/broadband for days, I’m not sure that I’m giving up my DVDs any time soon.

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Laughable

From David Markham on December 30, 2013 :: 11:42 am

When they can make a collectible deluxe box set that doesn’t include the movie in a physical form, you may be correct.  There will always be enough people who want a *thing* and not just a bunch of digits to keep some form of media alive.  Despite years and years of quality, easy-to-purchase digital music, they haven’t killed the CD.  Hell, even vinyl has made a comeback.

When they make a phone GPS that is as reliable as a stand-alone GPS, *maybe* it will die.  (Add to the equation not needing to multi-task your device to do something as important as give directions and this is even less likely.)

I’m sure that in five years there will still be a few million people who don’t care enough about the internet to need broadband.  Those sutomers *will* be served and dial-up will likely still be an option.

There will always be a market for low-end cameras.  The production will simply shift to smaller companies.  You people don’t seem to get the fact that not everyone wants their phone to do everything for them, even if it can.

The only one I have no experience with, so can’t speak to, is the key thing.  It seems foolish to me, but these things will happen.  Five years seems a bit too fast, but this one might just happen.

The others, not very likely.  Predictions like this have been coming for years and these technologies never seem to die.

Sorry.  Try again.

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DVDs going away?

From Grimmlan on December 30, 2013 :: 11:48 am

I cannot see DVDs going away altogether, unless some physical medium comes along to replace it.  There are a lot of TV shows and movies that I cannot find on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or whatnot.

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DVD Players

From Eric on December 30, 2013 :: 12:11 pm

This will not happen.  First people have libraries of DVD’s at home and they are not going to take an convert them all to digital one day .  Second the major studios make too much still from DVD sales to let this happen.

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Just like vinyl, there will

From Suzanne Kantra on December 31, 2013 :: 12:41 am

Just like vinyl, there will be a place for DVDs and Blu-ray discs and their accompanying collectible boxes. However, the vast majority of movies and TV shows will be streamed or downloaded in 5 years. It’s not just the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon that are making this happen. The pay TV providers—Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon—are making the purchase of physical media less attractive by offering large libraries of free and paid on-demand content. And, you can purchase and rent from services like M-Go, which enable you to stream or download movies and TV shows to smartphones (iPhone and Android), tablets, computers, TVs and set top boxes like Roku. M-Go also offer cards with download codes that you can buy in stores. Over the next 5 years, the options will just keep expanding and getting better.

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You need a car key to valet park

From fern on December 30, 2013 :: 12:38 pm

While I love not having to search for a key to lock and unlock my car or start it, I still need to hand something to the valet when I use one.  Hand him my phone with an app?  I don’t think so!

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Agreed. There will still need

From Suzanne Kantra on December 31, 2013 :: 12:44 am

Agreed. There will still need to be a way for you to provide limited access to your car.

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GPS will live.

From Jay on December 30, 2013 :: 2:14 pm

GPS devices will survive only if companies like Garmin offer the updates for free or for a reasonable price. Currently they charge outrageous prices for map updates in the same manor that printer companies charge absurd prices on toner cartridges. Why would anyone want to pay $100 for updated map software when the Google maps on their phone is free?

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Have to Disagree

From Disagree on December 30, 2013 :: 5:11 pm

I have to disagree with 2 things..GPS and DVD/Blu-Ray
I have Netflix and rarely watch it. It’s awesome for tv series but for movies it mostly has your pick of movies you have never heard of, though it’s amazing they picked up Disney.
GPS on your phone really is horrible to rely on, I’d much rather print out a map. I had a stand alone GPS and thankfully I always checked google maps before solely relying on GPS and sad to say GPS has gotten me going around in circles a few times and even the wrong way. Phone GPS goes out too many times unless your in a huge city. Maps will never do you wrong.

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You're missing the point

From Kevin on January 04, 2014 :: 5:13 pm

The author isn’t saying that these items will cease to exist; he’s saying that these things will become functionally obsolete. In 5 years there are weirdos who will still print out directions or use paper maps. For the overwhelming majority of people, the cost/benefit analysis of free or cheap and highly accurate (although imperfect) phone GPS devices will make printed and paper maps and stand alone GPS devices functionally obsolete in society.

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Low end digiCams disappearing? Not hardly.

From MrPicture on December 30, 2013 :: 5:49 pm

About five different tech gurus have sung the swan song of the point-and-shoot camera. They are about as correct as the people who predicted Dewey would beat Truman. Why? Compared to a point-and-shoot, camera phones:

1) Have a very small flash, which yields harsh lighting. While not perfect, a point-and-shoot light source is about 10X larger than a camera phone. Larger light source = better results.

2) Shutter lag is STILL long on camphones. Ditital cameras have almost eliminated the time between pressing the shutter button and exposure.

3) Camphones have quite a bit less zoom than even the cheapie point-and-shoots.

4) If the cam makers can put wireless into that sub $200 camera along with some built in apps, I don’t see these leaving anytime soon.

Remember, Television was supposed to be the death knell for movies, and they are still around…

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So if I drop my

From Teena Wolfgang Keisling on December 30, 2013 :: 6:26 pm

So if I drop my phone i can’t get directions or drive my car let alone take pictures when i get there.  Did anyone think we might go backwards if terrorists take out Satelite systems?? Just an opinion

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Once again...

From Julie Craig on December 30, 2013 :: 7:24 pm

You all at Techlicious just A$$sume that everyone has a smart phone. The money I save for a semi-dumb phone is worth getting all those extras (stand alone GPS and my carry around camera)
And I have Netflix, and I love it - when the internet out in the boonies is working! DVD… not a problem - even if the power goes out - laptop battery will get me through a couple of movies.
And I do have a car with no key - just the fob - but as far as handing over my phone at valet places - or to my son - to drive my car - are you nuts?
Not sure you hit the nail on the head this time - more like your thumb!!! smile

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digital cameras and GPS

From malke on December 30, 2013 :: 8:06 pm

it is true that since I have my galaxy s3 I take more pictures with that than with my point and shoot but if I go on a trip I love taking my Nikon because it has a 10x optical zoom which is important to me. Due to religious reasons my father and many others will never buy a smartphone so stand alone GPS should please stay around forever.

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What about the kosher phone?

From Josh Kirschner on December 30, 2013 :: 11:37 pm

Hi Malke,

That wasn’t an angle we considered for the story, but may be the “kosher” smartphone will fix that?

http://forward.com/articles/184099/kosher-smart-phone-arrives-as-ultra-orthodox-tech/?p=all

Best,
Josh

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Map Updates

From Anne Collins-Smythe on December 30, 2013 :: 9:52 pm

Garmin seems to recognize the challenges so lifetime map updates are now routinely offered.  My recent stand alone GPS purchase included lifetime map updates for an additional $35.  My model is just above entry level.  Had I opted for a higher end model the lifetime map updates would have been, if not free, included in the price of the unit.  I much prefer my handheld to my phone GPS.  In fact it was the usefulness of the phone GPS that made me buy a stand alone unit.  I liked the bigger screen and the louder volume.  I think GPS units will survive for awhile yet.

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Quality or Convenience?

From Wolf on January 01, 2014 :: 1:28 am

Blu ray may not be here in 5 years, but it will be due to a higher quality format emerging. Blu ray was supposed to be dead already, because everyone wants to watch IMAX movies on their phones, right? The highest quality format will always exist, especially with video. VHS is dead because 1080p blu ray is superior to 240i VHS. In 5 years 4K screens will be cheap. Who is going to download 100GB for a movie with this web infrastructure? Easier to get a disc in the mail box. Downloading a 4k movie is not like downloading a song.

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Sorry - I like predictions, but disagree with these

From Dan Yedinak on January 01, 2014 :: 1:47 am

I’m afraid all of these predictions appear to come from a surprisingly narrow perspective. While the financial stats are interesting and show some insight, so much clearly isn’t considered.
Let’s start with GPS. While smartphones with internet do a much better job of keeping up with changing addresses of businesses, we’re still two-three generations away from phones that can last a long distance trip, let alone function well in rural areas; two features that are critical for freight, maritime, aviation and outdoor recreational purposes.
High Speed internet access remains problematic throughout much of the u.s., even in some urban areas. Factor in age and technological prowess, and you immediately start to see a reduction in this demographic’s adoption of streaming media. Blu-Ray/DVD easy - just buy/rent the disk, and plug it in. Done.
Returning to rural America, you mentioned the Connect America Fund. While it’s true that its mission is to connect more of the country, the target date for the first phase isn’t scheduled for completion until 2020, and that’s really just backbone infrastructure. Final mile work, where possible at all, will still take a decade or more.
I won’t go on further; I don’t really need to. While we can all agree that technology is progressing quickly, this article is still, surprisingly, disappointing.

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Netflix doesn't show new releases

From James on January 03, 2014 :: 11:38 pm

Netflix still doesn’t show new release feature films (apparently due to bandwidth restrictions).  Until they do, they can’t possibly replace the DVD and Blueray format.

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CC Cookie

From Vic Torino on January 04, 2014 :: 10:13 pm

I think the chocolate chip cookie will disappear within 5 years.

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Chocolate chip cookies

From Fern on January 04, 2014 :: 10:22 pm

Ha - I can make chocolate chip cookies disappear in 5 seconds!

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Rural/ Urban, Rich/ Poor

From Jonathan on January 05, 2014 :: 6:55 am

While this article is well written and uses evidence to support its point, it is obviously written from a relatively wealthy urban perspective that sees a much faster march of technology than many people in the US do, probably even the average. To give a couple examples:
- GPS: I use a smartphone GPS, but many people I know who have smartphones don’t use them for GPS. As other posters have mentioned, some people prefer stand alone units for individual tasks like Navigation, music, etc. Other people live in places where cell phone GOS doesn’t work well. Last time I used my phone GPS in a major city it got confused and gave useless directions, probably because its small antenna didn’t work well in urban canyons. The same thing happens in rural areas with the added ‘benefit’ of poor to no cell phone coverage. Note how a certain cell phone company advertises they cover 97% of Americans, but won’t say how much of the country they cover - and a bunch of that 97% would complain about service from any given country.
- DVD’s: I’ll believe they will become obsolete when I stop seeing VCRs in use; around me they still sell new VHS movies and there are lots of used ones floating around. I know of people still using cassette tapes; technology hangs on for a longer time than many tech people realize (or want to admit).
- Dial Up Internet: Yes, there are efforts to give more people high speed internet, and those efforts are good, however their are 2 major hurdles to actually providing service: The first is that the proverbial ‘last mile’ has always been most of the problem; additional backbones only help so much. The other is connected to that, but regulatory. There are many people on the edge of accessible areas who don’t count as rural but aren’t urban either (like me) who can’t get landline high speed internet and probably never will - DSL runs out well up the street from me, and cable ends 2 houses before me but there is no requirement they provide me service. While I don’t have numbers, I am sure there are many other people in a similar ‘doughnut hole’ who are technically covered and therefore ignored by regulation and outreach efforts yet who can’t get it. While both cellular and satellite internet have made big strides over the last few years, they also have major limits compared to landline services, from system limitations like weather susceptibility to company limitations like throttling and most importantly shrinking bandwidth limits. Why is nobody complaining about cell phone companies providing less and less data and charging more and more for it?
- Car Keys: Similar to DVDs & VCRs, there are people who prefer the control and simplicity of car keys, as well as the huge number of old or older cars still on the roads who don’t have the features. Additionally, there are a number of vehicles who don’t have remote or keyless technologies and probably never will, ranging from trucks and multi user vehicles to the security conscious, starting with armored cars and limos and going from there.

They still make and sell millions of floppies each year and buggy whips, while a niche industry, have adapted to the internet age well at places like http://www.buggy-whips.com/.

Just a few examples to show that while new technologies may be available, widespread adoption is one thing and obsolescence/universal adoption is another - all of these things will still be around for a long time.

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Standalone GPS is more private

From aed939 on January 05, 2014 :: 2:20 pm

I like a standalone GPS that is not built in to the vehicle for two reasons 1) The vehicles want $199 a year for an updated map whereas the standalone is free lifetime maps.  More importantly, 2) the standamlone is not tied to a cell phone identity or a specific VIN, so it a bit more private.

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I don't think so...

From Joe Dawson on January 05, 2014 :: 3:48 pm

#1. Logically wouldn’t DVD have to go away first? As long as we still can’t connect to the internet everywhere (long drives and such) portable media formats still are required.

#2 Stand alone GPS units for hiking last all day on batteries and work without 3G signals. Try to use your Phone GPS for more then an hour steady and without 3G you have no map.

#3. I would hope so but fax should be also dead and it isn’t.

#4. Low end digital cameras still take a better picture, have optical zoom and are often waterproof. So until Cell Phones get zoom and are waterproof that is not going to happen.

#5. Every wireless car system with push button start has a backup key for when the battery die. (They are physically hidden inside the FOB and most people don’t even know they are inside it or how to pull them out.) When your car battery is dead they have to give you a way to still get inside your car because is still useful shelter in a storm. So I think we will need car keys for a LONG time to come.  That said they will be more of a backup vs a primary use.

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Cached maps anyone?

From Paul on January 05, 2014 :: 5:01 pm

Sure, batteries may be a problem, but you can buy battery packs. Then you just pre-cache the relevant map areas and bam, better, more detailed maps, all without the need for cell service.

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Hiking GPS

From Joe Dawson on January 05, 2014 :: 5:04 pm

1. Waterproof
2. Shock proof
3. 2-3 days of battery on 24/7.

Doing that on an iPhone or an android phone would be a trick.

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The timeframe we're dealing with

From Paul on January 05, 2014 :: 5:08 pm

The timeframe we’re dealing with is what may or may not happen within 5 years. I think it’s very likely that the battery problem can solved in that time. The water/shock-proof is just a matter of construction. There are already smartphones on the market that are that rugged.

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Battery

From t0mih on January 25, 2014 :: 2:17 pm

problem, for laptops or smartphones is with us - at least 5 years, and should be non-existent already…
And it’s not stated as it will go away grin)

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