5 Products That Can’t Be Killed

5 Products That Can’t Be Killed

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Everything old is new again. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to discard aging technology for the hot new thing, breaking up is hard to do. Electric cars may never replace gas-burners in our affections. McDonald's can tempt us with new salad varieties, when all we want is the return of the McRib. Apple can banish wonky Flash plug-ins from its iOS, but public demand found a way to bring it back, HTML 5 be damned.

Apple has long led the way on tough-love innovation that discards old technology for new, incensing users and threatening industries. First Apple stopped shipping computers with floppy-disk drives. Then it shut the door on the FireWire transfer standard, just as it did for SCSI, the serial port and the desktop BUS. Big deal.

But walking away from Adobe's Flash -- which powers most video and animation on the Web -- was, indeed, a big deal. User and developer protests forced Apple to reconsider and allow some Flash development for its devices, with the first to act on the move being a company called Skyfire Labs. It released a $2.99 mobile Flash-translating Web browser called Skyfire on the App Store on Wednesday. Demand for the app essentially crashed Skyfire servers within hours. The company had to cancel sales.

From a statement by Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck: "Skyfire has historically generated high demand for its browser products but nothing like this ... we were blown away by the demand and sales."

Newsflash! New doesn't always mean better, as numerous products with Rasputin-like staying power prove.


Nearly 30 years after gaining global status as a must-have gizmo, Sony announced last month that it was retiring its Walkman -- a cassette tape-based music player that has long collected dust behind more popular MP3 players such as the Apple iPod.

But while mix tapes may have gone to that great technological dust heap, vinyl recordings continue to thrive -- relatively speaking.

Although LPs, introduced 72 years ago, no longer command even a fraction of the sales for which they once accounted, they and the turntables to play them have defied extinction.

Two particular audiences can take credit for the death row reprieve: audiophiles and DJs. For the former, vinyl albums are still considered the best of the mainstream audio formats, producing a resonating depth that comparably tinny MP3s, compressed for minimal file size, can't match and CDs don't try to. The latter group, the DJs, gravitates to the round plastic slabs in their pursuit of deep bass and the ability to scratch tracks.

Thanks to such bands as the Beastie Boys, Spoon, U2, Radiohead and Pearl Jam, an even more diverse consumer base is dropping the needle, gobbling up albums at independent retailers.

According to Nielsen SoundScan, last year's sales for vinyl recordings, 2.5 million units, represented a rise of 33%. Impressive, perhaps, but even more so when you factor in an 89% spike between 2007 and 2008.