This is the time of year I like to look back and see if there are any lessons from the past that financial technologists can apply to the future. So as we stare headlong into 2018, I decided to rewind a decade and look at four hot consumer gadgets from 2008. What can they tell us about the coming year?

iPhone 3G

Believe it or not, 10 years ago, 3G was exciting. One article I read referred to the 3G network as “sensationally quick.” Today when my iPhone cuts back to 3G, I’m tempted to fast-pitch it against the nearest concrete wall. Interestingly, this is the only gadget I discuss here that survived in some iteration to live another day, or another decade, as the case may be.

Archos 605

Remember when the market was flooded with MP3 players trying to compete with the iPod. Sporting a massive 30GB of storage and Wi-Fi capabilities, the Archos 605 was considered among the best of the best. Today, I’m not even sure anyone still sells MP3 players. For that matter, I don’t know whether Apple still sells iPods.

Replaced by: iPhone and Android smartphones.

Blackberry Curve

Ooh, those sexy curves. Ooh, that full QWERTY keyboard. Full QWERTY keyboard? WTF? That seemed like a good idea for about 15 minutes. Why waste all that real estate on a keyboard when it could be used for the display? Needless to say, the Blackberry Curve quickly lost its allure – and its market share.

Replaced by: iPhone and Android smartphones.

Tom Tom Go 720

I remember thinking how badass is was to be able to print out turn-by-turn directions from MapQuest. So imagine my delight when portable GPS units first appeared on the market. I bought one, and you probably bought one, too. Then before my GPS could say “recalculating route,” it got swallowed by my smartphone. Now the portable GPS has gone the way of the MP3 player, right into the “do they still make those” heap.

Replaced by: iPhone and Android smartphones.

What’s the lesson in all of this for 2018? If it can get stuffed into a smartphone, it’ll get stuffed into a smartphone. That’s especially important for financial technologists. So far, mobile financial apps have been focused mostly on transactional services. Now it’s time for mobile financial technology to take the next step.

This coming year, look for mobile apps and add-ons that deliver financial education, coaching, planning and a wide range of other tools that will empower members beyond simple transactions. Then in 2028, you can check back here and see whether I was full of baloney.

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