2016's Tech obituaries: the year we lost Vine, Meerkat, and the fiery Note 7
We said goodbye to some real gems in 2016 — not to mention one smoking hot phone.
BY ALYSSA NEWCOMB, NBC News
(NBC News) - There comes a point in every technology product's life when it ascends to the pearly gates.
Some gadgets have staying power and enjoy long lives, like the VCR. Others, like the hover board, make a short but lasting impression on us before exiting in a blaze of glory.
We said goodbye to some real gems in 2016 — not to mention one smoking hot phone. As the year comes to a close, here's your chance to pay your respects to the tech we loved, loathed and lost this year.
Vine as we know it is dead. The Twitter-owned video looping platform spawned a number of "Vine Stars" who were able to parlay their massive followings into six-figure salaries in exchange for shilling for brands.
Come January, Vine will only exist in archival form. However, it will get a second life of sorts, becoming the Vine Camera app. Users will be able to make the same looping videos, then post them to Twitter or save them to their camera roll.
The workhorse smartphone for security-minded politicians and business people everywhere was discontinued in July.
"The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market," COO Ralph Pini wrote in a blog post. "We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better — entrenched in our legacy in security and pedigree in making the most productive smartphone."
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
We had so little time with this phone, which initially wowed critics with its attractive design and iris scanner that could unlock the phone with just a look.
But it quickly became clear the smartphone was too hot to handle, starting fires and burning users. After one recall, Samsung released a second iteration of the device, only to have that one also go up in flames, prompting a second recall.
The South Korean company permanently discontinued the troubled smartphone in October.
The live-video streaming app was the darling of South by Southwest in 2015, but had most of its thunder stolen when Twitter released Periscope less than a month later. Then came the tremendous popularity of Facebook Live.
Despite being cut off from Twitter's social graph, which lets users manually import who they follow, Meerkat clawed at the market until the app was finally put out of its misery and yanked from the app store in October.
The artificially intelligent bot was just an experiment, but Microsoft couldn't put the kibosh on it soon enough after Tay turned into a foul-mouthed, racist Twitter account.
Tay was launched in March on Twitter and messaging platforms GroupMe and Kik. Tay would get smarter as she learned from conversations, but unfortunately some users seized on her naivety and turned her into a hate-spewing troll.
Facebook's Paper App
In a year dominated by fake news, it's worth remembering there was once such a thing as News Feed nirvana, and it could be found in Facebook's now-defunct Paper app.
Paper, which was a design lover's dream, turned your News Feed into an ad-free experience, complete with sections for various news categories and a beautiful user interface for browsing the latest from your friends.
Sadly, true beauty isn't always immediately recognized or appreciated by everyone, and Paper glided into the great tech abyss in July.