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4 Tech ‘Fads’ That Passed the Test of Time

Do you sometimes look at recent tech additions to the consumer market and think they will never catch on? Do you wonder why some seemingly revolutionary products like Google Glass don’t become as popular as analysts expected?

It is always a gamble when introducing new technology to the already huge market as to whether things will be momentarily popular then disappear from the zeitgeist, or simply won’t capture people’s attention at all. However, sometimes something that has all the markings of a trendy fad that will quickly burn out actually makes it and becomes a part of our lives for more than just a season. Here are four things that many people thought were fleeting fads when they were first released, but which we have come to embrace today:


When Twitter first began to gain traction, it had many advocates saying it was the future of communication and broadcasting, but equally a lot of people who didn’t understand the point of it. Many people believed that once users got bored of reading the tweets of celebrities and posting their own brief musings, all that would be left would be an endless stream of banality – promotional tweets from businesses, and stuff about what people were eating.

However, Twitter has become so ingrained in how we view the internet these days, that it is rare to see a news program or sports coverage without Twitter interaction, and tweets regularly become part of the news in and of themselves. Even concepts that were first introduced by Twitter, like the hashtag, have made their way out of the platform and become used in other places like on Facebook and Instagram. What is also interesting is that Twitter has changed very little in terms of functionality since its inception, unlike Facebook. It still offers only a very limited number of actions and a strict character limit – the only recent change being that private messages are no longer subject to character limits.


Electronic cigarettes have been around for years now, and although some people still write them off as a hipster fad, it does appear that they are here to stay. When they were first made available they could only be purchased online from a small number of vendors, but now it is possible to buy them in all kinds of stores and the range of e-liquids that can be used with them is astonishing. The word ‘vaping’ has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and e-cigs have been seen in the hands of major celebrities like Johnny Depp and Katy Perry.


Tablets always looked cool, but when they were first introduced with the first gen Apple iPad in 2010, many people questioned how beneficial they actually were – would it not just be like carrying around a giant iPhone that didn’t function as a phone? Now of course, tablets are ubiquitous, with all the main tech brands producing their own versions, and businesses finding lots of innovative ways to make use of them. Rather than an oversized phone, tablets can be viewed as ultra portable computers, yet the fact they use the same OS, touch screen interfaces and apps as phones make them incredibly user friendly and flexible compared to netbooks, which in comparison just feel like underpowered laptops.

Video Games You Control with Your Body

When the first Nintendo Wii came out, it definitely seemed like a gamble by the Japanese console giants. After all, could playing sports games by moving your arms around really be fun for more than ten minutes? And were the claims you could get fitter while gaming justified? The Wii was a big seller but was always regarded as a one off ‘freak’ console rather than the future of gaming, until Microsoft released the first Kinect for the Xbox 360. By removing controllers from the equation altogether and adding voice control, the Kinect was designed not just for playing games in a more physical way, but also for navigating the other features of the console. While there is still a smaller market for Kinect games than regular Xbox games, the Kinect is still going strong with the new generation for the Xbox One making healthy sales. Several years on, there are also still a lot of people who advocate the use of Kinect and Wii games for fitness and weight loss.

These are just four fairly recent tech developments that made it to the mainstream after some initial doubts.

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