In my apartment, the cordless phone sits right next to the 2,400 baud modem … in my drawer of outdated gadgets. My last VCR sits at the bottom of a landfill, buried right next to my VHS copy of “Y2K: The Movie.” But for some consumers right here in America, ancient technologies are still a part of everyday life as they continue to buy brand-new cassette tapes, subscribe to dial-up Internet and make calls from a pay phone.
“It can take a surprisingly long time for technologies to really fall by the wayside,” Steve Koenig, head of Industry Analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association, told me. A CEA study indicates that only 13 to 15 percent of consumers are early adopters, while more than 60 percent are content to wait a long time before upgrading to newer and better technologies. Whatever the underlying reasons, these 12 timed-out technologies just refuse to die.
The last time I had a dial-up account, I set it to download the Starr report. I said bye bye bye to Earthlink right after that and started getting jiggy with a broadband connection.
However, according to a December study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 4 percent of American adults still use a modem to get online. That’s more than 10 million people accessing the Web at 56.6 or slower speeds. Some of these folks are among the 6 percent of Americans who live in areas without broadband access, while others either can't afford or are too cheap to pay for high-speed services.