Farhad Manjoo says we’ve come to the end of the line for gadgets:
For 30 or 40 years, through recessions and war, through stability and revolutions, they were always there, one gadget after another, from transistor radios to TRS-80s to Walkmen and Gameboys, then iPods and Flips, GoPros and Fitbits. We were sure gadgets would always be with us, because they had always been with us, and it was good.
But no. Winter is coming for gadgets. Or maybe winter has already come for gadgets. Everywhere you look, these days, gadgets seem on the rocks. Pebble, which makes smartwatches, has been purchased by Fitbit, which has had its own problems. GoPro may be going bust, while Jawbone, Nest and other members of the gentry of gadget pageantry look just about ready to stick a fork into.
What happened to gadgets? It’s a fascinating story about tech progress, international manufacturing and shifting consumer preferences, and it all ends in a sad punch line: Great gadget companies are now having a harder time than ever getting off the ground. The gadget age is over — and even if that’s a kind of progress, because software now fills many of our needs, the great gadgetapocalypse is bound to make the tech world, and your life, a little less fun.