Bye-bye analog: Several gadgets that will no longer respond

Maybe you're a thrifty sort. Maybe you disdain the culture's love of all that is new and shiny. Or maybe you're just an early adapter (Like Gordon Gekko here on the right) who for some reason never upgraded. In other words, maybe you're one of the few Americans who still uses an analog cellphone.

Well start saving for your Blackberry now, my friends. Your days are numbered. As of February 2008, carriers will no longer be required to support old analog technology, and many will drop it altogether. Although carriers estimate that less than 1% of cell phone users actually still have an analog device, that's still upwards of a million people.

Carriers that still support analog are Verizon Wireless, Alltel and AT&T.
Other gadgets that will be affected by the switch-over: Car communication systems. These include cars made in 2003 and before which use General Motor's Onstar system. This seriously screws a lot of GM customers, who won't be able to service their analog OnStar systems after the switch. Some models are eligable for upgrades, others aren't. To find out if yours is (keep your fingers crossed), click here.

Annoyed? You aren't the only one. Class action lawsuits, consolidated in federal court in Detroit, are seeking compensation for the lowered value of the more than 500,000 affected cars with OnStar plus about 200,000 with other systems.

If you have a home alarm system installed that predates 2006, you may be in for an analog surprise as well. Burglar and fire alarms that use the analog network as a sole or backup link between you and the alarm system will be affected by the switch-over. According to an AP story, generally only homes with no wired phone service have used analog wireless services, but given how many people have cut their landline connections in lieu of cell phones, that number may be larger than expected. Alarm systems using digital wireless links became available in 2006.

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