This year has seen / will see a number of big tech launches and reveals including Samsung’s Gear and curved OLED TVs, Firefox’s OS, Apple’s iPad Mini and iPhone 5C/S, Leap Motion, Microsoft’s XBOX One and Surface Pro, Cadillac’s Super Cruise, Sony’s PS4 and 4K streaming service, Nokia’s 41 MP Lumia camera phone and Valve’s Steam Machine and Steam OS.
Will all of them succeed? Well time will tell, but it got me thinking about some of the other big hyped of products of the past that failed to catch our imaginations (and our wallets). I found this infographic which Mashable first published at the end of 2011.
Here are the 14 tech flops that made the list:
- Zip Drive
- HD DVD
- Sony Rolly
- Swath Internet Time
- Palm Foleo
- Internet Currency
- The Tablet PC
- Smart Appliance
- Mobile ESPN
- Nokia N-Gage
The fate of each of these tech products was ultimately doomed but they all have different levels of success and I’d argue maybe a little harsh to call some of them out right flops.
In some cases the competition was too much (HD DVD) and others were just badly conceived ideas. But a few of those failed products are really victims of timing. They were just ahead of their time.
Without a starting point there is no progress. We have to get through the flops to get to the refined versions and without version 1, we would never get to that version 50 that revolutionises the world.
The N-Gage was a noble effort but failed in part down to its awkward design (taking the battery put to swap games – no thanks!) but mobile gaming has grown so much now that console makers are panicking on how to compete. The Gizmodo boasted a lot of the functionality that most mobile devices now offer as standard.
Smart Appliances I’d argue are also on their way back. With a unified OS in Android there is more consistency and controlling appliances remotely is starting to become easier and more integrated in our lives.
The Tablet PC – well I don’t have to even elaborate! Tablets rule the word! DIVX’s draconian rental system is now much more elegantly delivered by the many streaming services out there (though the name still lives on thanks to internet pirates!)
Internet currency – well you could say that Bit Coin is it successor.
Without Laserdisc we would have no DVD and HD DVD was a good idea but just couldn’t compete against Sony’s industry muscle.
And the Zip Drive which I remember fondly from my university days is now well and truly consigned to the scrap heap. Especially once cheap solid state USB sticks & memory cards took over. And even they are falling out of favour thanks to cloud storage.
I guess it’s easy to get excited about new tech but it takes more than raw specs to make a hit product.
And also its a reminder to not dismiss entirely some of the more out-there products or newer tech “fails” – you never know one day they might make a comeback in a more sophisticated form and take over our lives!
What do you think of 2013 new tech? Will any of them join these other flops?
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