There seem to be two big ongoing trends in consumer technology today, and someone would say that’s a paradox. On one side, gadgets are getting slimmer and more foldable and easier to conceal; bezels are gone and new smartphone and tablets and smartwatches aren’t really bigger than their display, while TVs disappear on the walls like chameleons blend into the background; smart homes are managed by voices that are echoes from some invisible data centre we don’t even know where it’s located. Technology is becoming more and more invisible day after day. The extreme representation of this ongoing phenomenon in the last few years have been documents and music and movies, disappearing from physical storage supports and migrating – or is that a transmigration? – to the digital clouds. Google Drive and iCloud took the place of keychain usb sticks and hard drives.
At the same time, we crave for cult tech items, retrofuturist ones maybe more than any other. Golden Age Nokia phones, 20th century gaming consoles, even turning tables and tape players seem to be back for good. They replicate old technology with contemporary solutions packed in nostalgic design. Everybody can play games of the original PlayStation even on their smartphones, just installing the right software emulator. Nonetheless, the PlayStation Classic, which comes with a bunch of preloaded games and is almost identical to the original one, is one of the most popular gadgets of the year. While technology disappears, icons repeat themselves stronger than any functionality need.