Old is gold: as flip phones, vinyls and desktop PCs become hip again, 2015 could mark the year of retro-tech.
“We see a lot of people discovering retro-technologies – flip phones, we’ve got the BlackBerry Classic that just came out, people are buying vinyl albums again, the desktop PC is getting reinvented,” Bob O’Donnell, founder and chief analyst, Technalysis Research, told CNBC.
“It’s going to be interesting to see some of these old retro technologies make a play again in 2015,” he said.
As innovation in the form factor of tech devices slows, consumers are rediscovering old-school gadgets, said O’Donnell.
“If you look at tablets and smartphones, the two hottest categories we’ve had – what’s next? There’s this sense there’s not a whole lot more, yet people are always looking for something new. So they are rediscovering older stuff as new,” he said.
Vinyl records sales in the U.K. soared to an 18-year high this year, according to Official Chart Company. Sales in the country are on course to hit 1.2 million by year-end, up from 780,674 last year.
The humble flip phone, meanwhile, is making a comeback among celebrities and fashion icons. Celebrities including Rihanna and Vogue editor Anna Wintour have been photographed using their flip phones in the past few months.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if someone launched a new flip phone. Young hipsters are buying these things. Someone will want to tap into that,” said O’Donnell.
As for chunky desktop PCs, they too may be entering a new era.
Companies such as Dell and Hewlett Packard (HP) have been working to reinvent the desktop experience. In October, HP unveiled the Spout, a new all-in-one desktop computer featuring a built-in projector and 3D scanner.
Another tech theme for 2015, is the “dis-connected” home, says O’Donnell.
Despite a lot of chatter about “smart homes” this year, there is still very little integration between smart home devices.
“Everyone’s talking about a connected home, smart light bulbs, thermostats etc. The problem is all these solutions are independent of each other and each one requires its own app – that’s more disconnected than truly connected,” he said.
“The idea of walking in the door and everything happening automatically: we’re nowhere close to that.”