Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) recently announced that it’s halting production of the Inspiron Mini computer, marking its exit from the netbook PC business. From 2007 to 2009, netbooks proved to be big business for Dell. A couple of years back, market analysts projected that various manufacturers would ship 139 million netbooks in 2013. Dell plans to instead shift focus to production of Intel‘s (NASDAQ:INTC) new ultrabook PCs.
How things change. Here at the end of 2011, research firms like Gartner who track the global PC business expect 2011 sales growth to slow from 2010, with the market growing just 3.8%. The group was expecting the PC business to ship a total of 400 million units this year; now it’s projecting just 364 million. Forget netbooks. The proliferation of devices like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android-based smartphones and Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad tablet are flat-out choking the PC market.
So netbooks look down and out. What’s next on the chopping block? Here’s a look at three other technologies — once profit-driving engines of the tech industry — that are going to fade into obscurity in 2012:
Apple iPod Classic
The iPod has had a good run during the past 10 years. From scrappy oddball to zeitgeist-defining phenomenon, the original iPod is as responsible for Apple’s rise over the past decade as the iPhone and iPad have been. This was the device that started it all.
Now called the iPod Classic, it has been two years since Apple released a new model, and the line has been all but replaced by the iPhone-like iPod Touch. With the increasing prominence of flash memory and cloud storage for music and movies and the rising cost of the hard drives used in the devices, it looks like the market finally has moved on from the iPod Classic. Apple will continue to make to make iPods in 2012, but expect the Classic to finally ride off into the sunset.