You can’t always guess what the future will hold. But you can bet your bottom dollar on one thing—there’s bound to be a whole bunch of tech breakthroughs that seemed incredibly important at the time only to have been left by the wayside.

Our team here at Bored Panda has spelunked into the darkest corners of the net to find you some of these tech innovations that seemed so amazing just a handful of years ago but which sound bizarre, hilarious, or even useless now. Check them out below and, as you scroll down, upvote the pics that you liked the most. Got a strong sense of nostalgia? We’d love to hear all about the tech you remember the most fondly, so be sure to write us a comment or two with your thoughts.

Bored Panda chatted about the future of technology and work with Aaron Genest, an expert on labor in the tech and innovation industry. Aaron, who is an Applications Engineering Manager for Siemens Software and the President of SaskTech, said that making accurate predictions about what tech and devices will be long-lived and stand the test of time is a very difficult thing to do. Difficult... but not impossible.

"I'd argue that most people underestimate the timelines necessary to produce the technological goods on which we rely and the investment made to allow them to exist. By looking 'upstream' in that investment space, we can have a pretty good idea of what whole industries are betting on," he said. "For instance, it takes almost two years to develop and produce a computer chip and get it to market for a phone, and five years to get something into a new kind of car. So if we want to have a sense for what, for instance, the gadgets in our cars will look like in 2026, we just need to look at what the car manufacturers are asking their suppliers to design today."

#1

The Motorola Razr. Still The Coolest Cell Phone To Be Produced

The Motorola Razr. Still The Coolest Cell Phone To Be Produced

Boojibs Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

Agree

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#2

See-Through Electronics

See-Through Electronics

rysterf Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Hah I had that gameboy. The day I got it I was so excited I almost exploded

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#3

Batteries That Let You Check How Much Energy Was Left

Batteries That Let You Check How Much Energy Was Left

Report

TheLilacButterfly
Community Member
1 month ago

Hey, this is cool!

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Aaron, a manager with Siemens Software, noted that if the industry is investing billions and billions of dollars into certain kinds of chips of technologies, like 5G, the odds are that they'll be around long enough for the companies to recoup their investments. The tech and innovation expert said that prognosticators and 'futurists' make bets based on these upstream industry trends, rather than "on some crystal ball they hide in their robes."

What's more, Aaron shared with Bored Panda how the Covid-19 pandemic has been shaping the job industry and what the future of work might look like. "Many companies, including mine, started a conversation about the future of work as the result of Covid. Siemens has a new and permanent policy where workers can work from home for a few days a week where their job permits. My entire site will adopt this, allowing us two days a week at home and three in the office. I'm sure we're not alone," he shared how Siemens is approaching the situation in a flexible way.

#4

The GE Alarm Clock That Everyone Seemed To Have

The GE Alarm Clock That Everyone Seemed To Have

2ezyo Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

Hotels used those a lot and as time went on they ended up in thrift stores when the hotels upgraded

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#5

TVs With A VHS Player Built Into Them

TVs With A VHS Player Built Into Them

Wikimedia Commons Report

Something
Community Member
1 month ago

VCRs with built in screens and TV capablities.

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#6

Phones With Internet On Them In The First Place

Phones With Internet On Them In The First Place

passingpleasantries Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

And it was the "internet", so pointless and hard to use, not just like a web browser

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Meanwhile, plenty of companies are open to having 'permanently remote' positions. "This was starting pre-Covid, but is now gaining steam and I'm aware of several people in my 'remote' community of Saskatoon who have accepted permanent positions, working from here, with teams based in other provinces or countries," the expert shared.

Aaron believes that this trend of working remotely full-time is here to stay, even if the pandemic is brought under control. "There are huge advantages in tech to having access to a global workforce without having to provide a global infrastructure. This is very different from offshoring, by the way, but will have (in my opinion) as profound an impact on the way we do business and the way our labor force is constructed."

There's a practical aspect to wanting to work from home (at least part-time) in the future, too. Lots of employees have invested sizable sums of money into creating good working environments for themselves at home. That includes purchasing electronics and furniture to make working remotely as comfortable and efficient as possible. Naturally, those who have made these investments want to continue using those spaces.

#7

Cassette Tape That Let You Connect Your iPod To Your Car Stereo

Cassette Tape That Let You Connect Your iPod To Your Car Stereo

reddit Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

I used this thing to connect my portable CD player....

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#8

Digital Mp3 Players With These Songs

Digital Mp3 Players With These Songs

Luminous_Fantasy Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Stripped down to nothing because it made them have less data, this was annoying if the song was like that. Only vocals and basic instruments, lots of the track was pared away. Or if you had the song intact, massive file! Mind you I can remember a mb of data being 'huge'

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#9

Remember When Laptops Used To Have That Little Rubber Cl!t For A Mouse?

Remember When Laptops Used To Have That Little Rubber Cl!t For A Mouse?

reddit.com Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Me looking at this button on my laptop right now: O.O

Condylura cristata
Community Member
1 month ago

my old laptop had one (i have to admit it was easier to use then the bad trackpad my new computer has)

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James016
Community Member
1 month ago

Lenovos still have this, in the UK we call it a nipple

Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

Otherwise there'd be so many men still looking for it!

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Adam C
Community Member
1 month ago

I think all Lenovo Thinkpad still have one.

Csaba Horvath
Community Member
1 month ago

Busines class, Thinkpads.

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Léandre Merceron
Community Member
1 month ago

The rubber clit 😂😂😂

Lu
Community Member
1 month ago

It’s not a clit - it’s a clown’s nose

Patrick Reolon
Community Member
1 month ago

astonishingly these were so much more ergonomic than the tendinitis-giving trackpads

Milan Culik
Community Member
1 month ago

They still do and it is far more handy and comfortable to use than touchpad.

Guy MacGregor
Community Member
1 month ago

Still useful on professional hardware. Touch pads and touch screens don't always work well with gloves.

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
1 month ago

lenovo still have them (looking at my laptop right now)...

Marshmello
Community Member
1 month ago

Yup. I have it on my ThinkPad :)

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elStiJneriNO
Community Member
1 month ago

still there

Jazzy Mc. Jaz
Community Member
1 month ago

these are great

The Cute Cat
Community Member
1 month ago

Still have that

Steve
Community Member
1 month ago

Guys still can't find it even when bright red, and have no idea what it's for

Sonja
Community Member
1 month ago

Mine still has it.

Fives
Community Member
1 month ago

Mine still has one.

Troux
Community Member
1 month ago

These things don't work with my fists of ham. It feels like trying to drive with a 5mm steering wheel.

Michael Naegele
Community Member
1 month ago

My HP Laptop in my company have this too. It is 2021. So this is still a thing.

Doug
Community Member
1 month ago

I miss these, I liked them so much better than the touch pad!

Doug
Community Member
1 month ago

Good ol' Lenovo Thinkpads!

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just me
Community Member
1 month ago

I like that better than the track pad.

Marnie
Community Member
1 month ago

My sister-in-law always called it the "mouse turd".

Id row
Community Member
1 month ago

Did anyone actually use them?

danielw
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes.

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Aksa
Community Member
1 month ago

I loved it so much

BARBARA SIEGLE
Community Member
4 weeks ago

I LOVED the little red button. Can't stand touchpads, although I have managed to adapt to a mouse.

Mary Bricklin
Community Member
4 weeks ago

I rather liked those. Only saw one laptop with one though.

MikeMaxis
Community Member
4 weeks ago

A rubber what?

Thomas Turnbull
Community Member
1 month ago

Still there

Lynn Morello
Community Member
1 month ago

You learn something new every day.

4848532
Community Member
1 month ago

The obvious joke(s) aside, those touch pointers were impossible to control well.

~hUmMuS vIbEs~
Community Member
1 month ago

that was a mouse?! i've seen it on other laptops and i always wondered what it was...

Mae Mosse
Community Member
1 month ago

My dad got a separate mouse to use with his laptop as he couldn’t use that tiny button. You needed tiny fingers with no nails.

Manuel Antolín Baigorri
Community Member
1 month ago

My laptop, a Dell still has it, a bit limited and almost invisible but functional

Sarra R
Community Member
1 month ago

"Rubber cl!t" I'm screaming 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

Eric Forster
Community Member
1 month ago

My first Thinkpad one of those.

Veronica Vatter
Community Member
1 month ago

I HATED that thing

Thomas Es Thomas
Community Member
1 month ago

Yup. That was so you'd buy a mouse.

Smitin
Community Member
1 month ago

Mine still has it. Never used it once.

Sharon Ingram
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow. I never even thought of "rubber clit." Geez.

Logically Reasonable
Community Member
1 month ago

I never knew what that was for

Peter Curlett
Community Member
1 month ago

I loved this on my old laptop

Charles Roberts
Community Member
1 month ago

I wondered what that was for.

The_tattered_hippie
Community Member
1 month ago

I hated those

Handari Putro
Community Member
1 month ago

i'm still using it..

Handari Putro
Community Member
1 month ago

HEY I STILL USING IT :))

Alex Mont
Community Member
1 month ago

still do

Kristine Phillips
Community Member
1 month ago

looks like a gum drop

Shelli Aderman
Community Member
1 month ago

AWFUL!

Don't Look
Community Member
1 month ago

These were used by IBM primarily and they are now used on Lenovo. You know, the ones who bought out IBM.

Kris Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

Lenovo still puts these on their laptops....

Kris Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

Lenovo still puts them on the laptops.....

William Turley
Community Member
1 month ago

I could never find this.

Alex (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻
Community Member
1 month ago

What's it for again?

Chris Allan
Community Member
1 month ago

The soft cover of my mouse button tended to disappear within a few weeks of any new laptop purchase.

Bettie-Jean Neal
Community Member
1 month ago

My work ThinkPad still has one.

Hayley Rodgers
Community Member
1 month ago

The Lenovo thinkpads still have this. They look like they are 20 years old. They have not changed their Style

Debra Robinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Never saw these.

Jennifer Norton
Community Member
1 month ago

I have one on my laptop, it's black and doesn't do anything! My laptop is only three years old!

Chris Hardtke
Community Member
1 month ago

I could never find the one on my laptop. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Csaba Horvath
Community Member
1 month ago

Called trackpoint. And most of them are still having.

Paul Z.
Community Member
1 month ago

Some still have...

Johnny
Community Member
1 month ago

My Lenovo laptop still has it and I love it

Marky Mark
Community Member
1 month ago

I had one... though I never was able to find the G-spot port on my laptop.

Marco Conti
Community Member
1 month ago

I still have a modern laptop with this thing. When my trackpad software failed and my bluetooth went out, it was how I fixed the computer. Still useful.

João Morgado
Community Member
1 month ago

My Lenovo still has one

Julianne_thecatlover555
Community Member
1 month ago

OMG I REMEMBER NOW!!

John C
Community Member
1 month ago

I know this as a j-mouse, because on early/some models it was next to the J key

Willy Chan
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Its called a TrackPoint by IBM, on their Thinkpad laptops. It was also licensed to other companies like Toshiba, Dell etc. I used to work at IBM supporting their mobile products including their laptops in early 2000's. Their PC business has been sold off to Lenovo, I am using a work issued late model Thinkpad that still has the trackpoint.

Mark Johansen
Community Member
1 month ago

I have such a button on both my laptops. I think they're very handy. I always disable the touchpad, because it's too easy to accidentally bounce on the touchpad when typing and make the cursor go flying.

Son of Philosoraptor
Community Member
1 month ago

That's the funniest description of that I've ever heard. Never thought of it before. Now maybe I want to get one? LOL

Anna Rush
Community Member
1 month ago

Omg I always wondered what those were!

Elsker
Community Member
1 month ago

I heard these laptops are used widely on buildingsites, where people with gloves can't use the mousepad easily

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

not a very good way to learn about sex....ouch!

David Blake
Community Member
1 month ago

!o!.was it really called a clit?😂

Rasmus Berg
Community Member
1 month ago

No, it's called trackpoint.

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Michał Jastrzębski
Community Member
1 month ago

cyberclitty

David Brier
Community Member
1 month ago

You occasionally had to replace the CL!T.

Easily Excitable Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

I hated that thing! I learned to touch-type. Putting that button there was a nightmare.

Vance Neumann
Community Member
1 month ago

It's a calibrator for the mouse, not intended to be the actual mouse

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Nobody can deny that the pace at which technology changes is incredibly fast. So much so that some of us (e.g. me) get left behind, clinging to what’s familiar, safe, and doesn’t require us to feel like we’re already pensioners. (No shade on pensioners, though—most of the ones I know are better at adapting to new tech than I am!)

Ramona Pringle, the Director of the Creative Innovation Studio and Associate Professor at the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, told me all about the changes in tech during a previous interview with Bored Panda.

“We don’t know what the future holds, and anyone who says that they do is selling snake oil. But, there are certain things we can count on: we love stories, and we love to be part of something biggest than ourselves. Be it oral storytelling, books, blogs, movies, or video games, we’ve never lost our love of narrative,” Pringle told Bored Panda earlier.

#10

Portable DVD Players

Portable DVD Players

ldn_elek Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

I still have mine, it works fine. Handy when in hospital too

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#11

Watches That Lit Up Blue

Watches That Lit Up Blue

itslikesoulman Report

N G
Community Member
1 month ago

Wasn't this so you could check the time at night without frying your retinas? That luminescent blue still features on some gadgets for that reason

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#12

Netflix's DVD Service

Netflix's DVD Service

suburbanmen Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

A great save by netflix: they changed as tech did, which blockbuster refused to do/admit

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“Equally true, even when we can’t go into a concert hall or colosseum, we look for ways to be together, connected, and part of a communal experience. The tech might change, but these will continue to be the drivers of our entertainment experiences,” she said that entertainment and connectivity will most likely continue to drive changes in technology in the future.

According to Pringle, over the next decade, we should see big changes occurring in the entertainment tech industry. “Immersion and interactivity have long been goals for creators and media makers when it comes to how technology can influence entertainment,” she said.

#13

Those Backwards Seats In Station Wagons

Those Backwards Seats In Station Wagons

or_worse__EXPELLED Report

Bernd Herbert
Community Member
1 month ago

What do oyu mean by forgotten. If I'm not mistaken the Tesla Model S still has those

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#14

Movies On An iPod With A 2-Inch Screen

Movies On An iPod With A 2-Inch Screen

nowuzit Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

But it was so hi tech! Just before the iPhone kicked flip phones to the kerb

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#15

That Singing Fish

That Singing Fish

StevenBalthaser Report

Steve Barnett
Community Member
1 month ago

Sopranos, I always think of The Sopranos when I see this.

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“For the last decade, we’ve leaned into virtual reality because of how it enables both of these. We can step inside a world and have influence over it, and the story or experience that unfolds. I think one of the things we can expect moving forward is, in a sense, the opposite of virtual reality. Instead, more of an enhanced reality or fictional reality, wherein the entertainment isn’t in a headset, but instead, all around us,” Pringle highlighted what we might see start popping up with more frequency over the next few years.

#16

Cd Players That Held Multiple Cds At Once

Cd Players That Held Multiple Cds At Once

EXSUPERVILLAIN Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Had one and loved it.

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#17

CD Players With 45-Second Skip Protection

CD Players With 45-Second Skip Protection

Philips Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

So you had 45 seconds of song, then skip! Mine could play well if i didnt move or breathe

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#18

Old School PC Microphones

Old School PC Microphones

wanpakujozu Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

My current mike looks like one of those, but it's black and actually sounds good.

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“A decade ago, we didn’t talk to robots. Today, many of us do. Siri and Alexa are some of the more common bots, but we already interface with non-human characters regularly. As technology advances, including augmented reality and mixed reality, I think we can expect that entertainment will be something we can engage with off of the screen, but out in the world, with characters and stories we can engage with throughout the day, or throughout our houses,” the researcher said.

#19

Pagers Are Now Collecting Dust

Pagers Are Now Collecting Dust

Wikimedia Commons Report

Guy MacGregor
Community Member
1 month ago

Except if you are a nurse, a doctor, a fireman... Emergency worker

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#20

Thick Big Screen TVs Only Rich Kids Had

Thick Big Screen TVs Only Rich Kids Had

photobucket Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

That's not just coz of price it's coz crt tv screens had giant backs and weighed a ton, so u needed the big house to go with it

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#21

Car Phones

Car Phones

steverotter Report

Titas Burinskas
BoredPanda Staff
1 month ago

Who thought the name cartel would be a good idea?

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See Also on Bored Panda

How we engage with one another will also have a large impact on entertainment, according to Pringle. One example of this is the unexpected rise of e-sports. “Whoever would have thought that people would pay money to watch other people play games? Media that engages us and gives us something to gather around, be it together, or virtually, is something that will always appeal to us,” she said.

#22

Robot Dogs

Robot Dogs

PussyAnalBreath Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

My friend had one, I was so envious! I had a furby I saved up for: it glitched out after one day so they replaced it. Happened 3 times in a row then I gave up

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#23

Speakers That Attached To The Monitor

Speakers That Attached To The Monitor

Smeg98 Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
1 month ago

It's 2021 and I have that. Bought the monitor in 2010. Still works great.

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#24

A DVD Or VHS Player In A Car

A DVD Or VHS Player In A Car

photobucket Report

Autumn
Community Member
1 month ago

We had little tvs that velcroed to the seat but we never used them much cause my dad thought they distracted him from driving.

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We’re also likely to see “the ebb and flow” of experiences that focus on bringing people together offline, on-screen, and online. “In the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of interactive and immersive venues like the museum of ice cream or the Dr. Seuss experience,” Pringle told Bored Panda about how the divide between what we consider to be tech and not might get blurry. Especially in the field of entertainment.

#25

Digital Cable And Being Able To Watch A Ton Of Useless Channels

Digital Cable And Being Able To Watch A Ton Of Useless Channels

photobucket Report

Steve Barnett
Community Member
1 month ago

UK here. I'm so old that I grew up with just three channels. But in '82, we then got a fourth!

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#26

These iPhone Apps Where You Drank Fake Beer

These iPhone Apps Where You Drank Fake Beer

onmilwaukee Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

What was even the point for this?? Seemed cool at the time though...

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#27

Can I Interest You In A Sidekick II With Aol Messenger?

Can I Interest You In A Sidekick II With Aol Messenger?

TheConfusingWords Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 month ago

AOL- that is a blast from the past

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“These are places we can go, with friends and family, and have a shared experience. It feeds back into our online experiences because we can share photos or memories and these environments are designed to foster that. Certainly, as we find ourselves in a time of social distancing, we’re seeing new creative ways of “being together” even when we’re apart. So I think we can expect to see entertainment that helps us connect, be it online or off, and immerses us in an experience, story, or community.”

#28

Hit Clips

Hit Clips

marceling Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
1 month ago

Never seen this before!

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#29

A TV With A DVD Player In It

A TV With A DVD Player In It

ryuguy Report

Something
Community Member
1 month ago

Those still exist.

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#30

Paper Toss iPhone Game

Paper Toss iPhone Game

mrkowalscheme Report

Lu
Community Member
1 month ago

Loved it

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#31

Fake Lighter Phone Apps

Fake Lighter Phone Apps

play.google.com Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Very useful at rock concerts. You get all the fun without the risk of getting burned! lol

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See Also on Bored Panda
#32

Having The Option And The Ability To Update Your Facebook From A Text Message

Having The Option And The Ability To Update Your Facebook From A Text Message

SillyActuary Report

Keyy
Community Member
1 month ago

yuuuuup .. simpler times

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#33

The Original Ipod And The Million Buttons It Had

The Original Ipod And The Million Buttons It Had

RobertoSport Report

Bernd Herbert
Community Member
1 month ago

Million = 4 or 5?

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