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The Biggest Tech Product Flops of the 2010s

The closing decade offered a wealth of game-changing generation to our lives. But along side it got here some in reality horrible flops.

By Eric Griffith

In america, 20 % of small companies can’t make it a 12 months, part are useless in five years, and a complete 70 % can’t make it previous a decade, in step with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Success is even more difficult if that industry is all about one specific product—particularly if that product is tech-related.

Look at corporations like Juicero, which couldn’t release a wise juicer even with $120 million. Or Pono, a virtual media participant and tune download provider for audiophiles that Neil Young couldn’t moderately make occur. Crowdfunding has many stories of impressive failure too, just like the Zano Drone, which earned $3 million on Kickstarter however couldn’t in fact… fly.

Even massive names reminiscent of Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon—the so-called Frightful Five of tech—have their justifiable share of shameful screwups within the product house.

That’s what we’re right here to replicate on: 10 years of tech product failure. Not the small ones like the ones above, however the services you got here to like, or sought after to like, or can’t perceive why they didn’t get any love. Some are nice concepts that by no means went anyplace. Some had been extremely fallacious merchandise that by no means must have made it previous prototyping. A couple of are wonderful vaporware-products rumored, promised, and even assured, however that by no means got here to be.

Apple AirPower Wireless Charging Mat

Apple’s excellent at handing over top of the range merchandise as a rule. But every now and then it over-promises, because it did with the AirPower in 2021. This was once meant to be without equal wi-fi charger mat for Apple merchandise, tough sufficient to price an iPhone X, Apple Watch, and AirPods concurrently. It took any other 18 months or so earlier than the much-delayed, destined-to-be-overpriced mat was once cancelled as a result of it will “no longer succeed in our excessive requirements,” in step with Apple.

Amazon Fire Phone

While you’ll be able to be expecting an entire separate tale from us at the primary smartphone screw ups of the previous decade, there are a pair which can be simply so unhealthy they should be integrated right here. Amazon’s first and best foray into the gap was once 2021’s Fire Phone. It was once greater than a telephone — with 3-D features, it was once some way for Amazon that can assist you showroom the arena, and thus build up its personal retail gross sales. Which some discovered offensive at excellent, particularly in a $650 instrument that labored best with AT&T. Amazon, by no means one to shy clear of pulling a loser off the shelf, killed the handset off in not up to a 12 months after taking a $170 million hit.

Coolest Cooler

Once probably the most funded Kickstarter venture in historical past (as of 2021), the Coolest Cooler — a cooler filled with devices together with a blender, wi-fi speaker, and USB for charging units — became out to be mediocre at excellent. By 2021, Coolest was once out of cash and couldn’t send all its orders, a saga that persisted thru 2021. Coolest nonetheless has it on the market on its web site for $399.99, although.

Facebook Home and More

We may dedicate any other whole tale to Facebook screwups within the 2010s. From the Cambridge Analytica privateness scandal to doubtlessly messing up democracy itself in america, the record is going on and on. But let’s focal point at the unhealthy merchandise/services and products it attempted to foist on us prior to now 10 years.

Trending Section: A option to get other folks speaking concerning the information, the Trending phase met its dying in 2021 after accusations that its human editors had been ignoring conservative information assets.

Facebook Home: Rather than create a real telephone, Facebook opted as an alternative to unencumber a consumer interface for Android telephones that put Facebook entrance and heart. Unfortunately, it was once additionally an enormous safety possibility.

Facebook Deals: For four months, Facebook attempted to tackle Groupon, however in spite of having billions of customers, nonetheless couldn’t pull it off.

Facebook Email: Remember how in 2021 this unified inbox was once meant to be a Gmail killer? Since it died in 2021, no one else recollects both.

Facebook Places: Another standalone app, this one looking to outdo Foursquare. The continual of the check-in ultimately migrated over to common Facebook posts.

Notify: From November 2021 to June 2021, you might want to get real-time information from a standalone app from Facebook, however no one troubled.

Facebook Gifts: Want to do your looking for presents best on Facebook? That may have labored from 2021 to 2021.

Are there extra? Sure, however those are miserable sufficient.

Google Fiber

Gigabit fiber enlargement is pricey, even for tech giants. Google Fiber, which like Google itself is a department of dad or mum corporate Alphabet, was once all about fiber to the house (FttH) and introduced with some fanfare in 2021 within the Kansas City metro space. It has received awards — quite a lot of from PCMag and its readers — for its pace and customer support. But FttH it sounds as if isn’t a large cash maker. Despite opening up in a couple of new towns thru 2021, Google put a halt on additional fiber enlargement in 2021. If you’ve were given it, revel in it, as a result of no one else goes to get it. (The similar factor came about to Verizon Fios the last decade prior; it ceased enlargement to new towns in 2021.)

Google Glass

The cyborg backlash began with Google Glass, an optical HUD that you might want to use with glasses or with out, so the entire information you’d normally see on a telephone may drift in entrance of your eyes. After promoting a prototype for $1,500 in 2021, Glass went out to most people the following 12 months. But technical boundaries and privateness issues doomed the dorky high-specs, and via 2021, the first-generation of Glass was once not on the market. Google has since moved directly to offering Glass as an “Enterprise Edition” for companies at $999 a pop, however the remainder of the arena doesn’t care.

Photo via Tobias Hase image alliance by means of Getty Images

Google Social Efforts (Buzz thru +)

Google’s competition with Facebook predates the previous decade, however actually took off with the release of Google Buzz in 2021, an try to carry some web-based social networking to Android and iOS customers. Google killed it in October 2021, so it might be aware of Google+.

What a waste of sources. Despite the try to graft this unfastened social device onto exact helpful and in style Google homes like Blogger, Gmail, and YouTube, Google+ by no means stuck on. Worse, because the provider was once heading into the sundown, it was once published {that a} computer virus in G+ in early 2021 uncovered 500,000 profiles, and Google attempted to stay it hush-hush. Then any other computer virus got here alongside that driven up the timetable to kill the provider from August 2021 to April. Google+ for the endeavor lives on, however the client model joins Friendster and MySpace within the corridor of failed social networks.

Photo Credit: Emmanual Dunard AFP by means of Getty Images

Google TV

The first try at interactive TV via Google was once Google TV in October 2021. Available first from Logitech and Sony, the Android-based {hardware} built-in with the Chrome browser to make an overlay that are meant to have made TV extra energetic for audience. But it wasn’t what passive TV sought after, particularly no longer in this type of clunky interface. By 2021, Android TV had taken over to continual virtual video streaming for sensible TVs and media hubs.

Joe Britt, former engineering director at Google, introduces the Nexus Q. By Kim Kulish Corbis by means of Getty Images

Google Nexus Q

Google attempted to get into the media hub sport as early as 2021 with the Nexus Q, a peculiar little Magic 8-Ball-size factor you hooked as much as a TV to movement YouTube and different Google homes. But it didn’t paintings with services and products reminiscent of Netflix or comprise any native garage, which made it lovely restricted for $300. Google stopped promoting it via January 2021, and the Chromecast got here alongside to erase the Q from reminiscence.

GoPro Karma

GoPro is synonymous with motion cameras, however it had a coarse few years thank you partially to a foray into drones. The Karma labored with GoPro’s Hero4 and Hero5 cameras, however it was once hardly ever a best-in-class drone — some fell out of the sky when the battery compartment door opened. After that, it had best 15 mins of flying time. GoPro neatly killed the $800 Karma in early 2021.

JooJoo Tablet

Imagine it’s 2008. Everyone thinks Apple has one thing massive deliberate within the pill house, however who is aware of? So Mike Arrington, founding father of TechCrunch, comes to a decision to tackle Apple with a $200 pill referred to as the CrunchPad, which makes use of an open-source OS to stay prices low. He groups with Singapore-based Fusion Garage, which quickly comes to a decision it doesn’t want Arrington, who sues. The CrunchPad is useless.

Fusion Garage, then again, releases it beneath the call JooJoo with a pre-sale in December 2009…for $499. In January 2021, the iPad is in spite of everything introduced, crushing pastime within the JooJoo. A couple of of them even shipped to consumers, however it shouldn’t have troubled. Our 1.5 big name assessment stated it was once “overpriced, doesn’t do very a lot, and doesn’t do anything else in particular properly.” By November 2021, the JooJoo was once discontinued, and Fusion Garage (in spite of looking to promote any other pill referred to as Grid 10) adopted it into the ether no longer lengthy after.

Lytro

Light box images, championed via the Lytro, was once tech that might mean you can take a shot then focal point at the matter later. Lytro’s tech was once interesting however no longer in particular well-executed. In our 2021 assessment of the Lytro Light Field Camera (pictured), we discovered that “its symbol high quality and ergonomics are deficient, making the digicam little greater than an overpriced toy.” Two years later, the $1,600 Lytro Illum didn’t fare significantly better; “its symbol high quality is disappointing and its worth sky excessive,” we concluded. Despite a pivot into VR video seize, the corporate close down in early 2021. It shuttered its internet hosting services and products on the similar time, so no one can proportion Lytro pictures anymore. Those we had in our critiques on the time are all damaged hyperlinks.

Photo via Will Ireland T3 Magazine Future by means of Getty Images

Microsoft Kinect

This one flopped two times within the closing decade. The authentic, referred to as Project Natal throughout its construction, debuted in November 2021 at the Xbox 360, turning your frame into the sport’s controller. It even got here to Windows itself in 2021 and was once pressured upon the 1st consumers of the Xbox One. By 2021, Kinect was once bought one after the other and was once on its option to being a marketplace failure. Microsoft stopped making them in 2021, however they nonetheless flip up in bizarre puts.

MoviePass

Everyone sought after MoviePass to paintings. While it was once based in 2021, it exploded into the general public awareness in 2021 with a plan that might mean you can see as many motion pictures as you sought after for best $10 a month. It was once a doomed industry type, after all, as a result of that worth is nuts, particularly when looking to provider an fast inflow of 2 million subscribers. After quite a few more and more irritating adjustments to its industry type over the following couple of months, plus going to conflict with big-name cinema chains like AMC, MoviePass in spite of everything kicked the popcorn bucket in September 2021 with a one-day understand. Copycats abound, however none will ever have a worth as loopy excellent as MoviePass as soon as had.

Ouya Video Game Console

Ouya was once going to modify video video games. It made a large $8.6 million as a Kickstarter in 2021, with the promise of being an Android-based console. It went on sale that 12 months or even supported media apps reminiscent of Twitch on the time. But then it by no means bought, as it wasn’t nice at its one activity: taking part in video games. Our two-star assessment stated it was once an “ungainly mess of a client product that calls for extra paintings than it’s price to get probably the most out of it.” By 2021, the corporate belongings were bought to Razer, which to its credit score persisted to fortify Ouya customers till June 2021.

Path

Launching a social community post-Facebook is like swimming upstream with out legs. Path attempted in 2021, hoping to be the social community for simply you and your 50 closest pals, with chat and photo-sharing in the end changing into extra of a public magazine house (as a result of we would have liked any other LiveJournal?). It had privateness issues (it was once fined $800,000 via the FTC for storing information from underage customers), and was once ultimately bought to a South Korean corporate, which killed it useless in 2021.

Photo credit score: Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP Getty Images

Sony PlayStation Vita

Mobile gaming is the entire rage, however now best Nintendo competes towards smartphones for players’ affections. As of this 12 months, the Sony PlayStation Vita ceased manufacturing after virtually a decade of looking to catch on. As our analyst Will Greenwald put it, “It was once a nice device, forward of its time, and it didn’t have the Nintendo sport record or pedigree that the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and 3DS had. It ultimately simply turned into this puzzling hand-held best lovers and Japanophiles dug.”

Qwikster

Qwikster by no means existed as anything else instead of a lesson in massive corporations coping with public backlash. In September 2021, Netflix determined it will ruin itself into two services and products, one for streaming video and the opposite—Qwikster—for renting DVDs by means of mail, plus video video games. Supposedly 800,000 other folks left Netflix in a huff over the transfer (and the price will increase Netflix had deliberate). So Qwikster by no means came about, and lately you’ll be able to nonetheless log in with best one Netflix account to movement motion pictures and hire DVDs and Blu-rays. But Netflix by no means did upload video video games and continues to regularly build up costs. So who actually received right here?

PlayBook picture via Will Ireland T3 Magazine Future by means of Getty Images

BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10

Research In Motion owned the cellular house within the first decade of the brand new millennium. But via 2021, it was once attempting desperately to stick related. The PlayBook pill was once RIM’s solution to the iPad and Kindle Fire. But it simply couldn’t compete as a result of BlackBerry didn’t have the apps; 1000’s of devices shipped to outlets and not left the cabinets, in spite of some massive worth cuts. RIM — via then renamed BlackBerry Ltd. — killed the instrument via mid-2021.

It additionally shipped BlackBerry 10 that 12 months, a cellular working device it was hoping would give iOS and Android a run. It even had 100,000 apps — together with 28,000 Android apps that it sounds as if ran like they had been on dial-up — however it was once little need. BlackBerry 10 ran on a couple of telephones, the closing one being the BlackBerry Leap in 2021, however it couldn’t carry again the heyday of the “CrackBerry.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

The Galaxy Note 7 was once a good looking telephone…till it began exploding. Pants wallet had been scorched, other folks woke up to smoking smartphones on their evening stands, and plane passengers had been spooked via malfunctioning phablets. Samsung issued a recall, however ultimately threw within the towel totally and blamed inaccurate batteries. But whilst the Note 7 will move down as an enormous crisis, the botched rollout didn’t kill the Note emblem; the Note 8, 9, and 10 have since arrived with out incident.

Samsung NX1

Samsung performed within the virtual digicam marketplace with its NX device, offered in 2021. Mirrorless tech was once in its infancy then, however the device’s efficiency ramped up temporarily. The flagship NX1, from 2021, introduced a BSI CMOS sensor and 4K video — tech that might take a while to make it to different programs.

The NX300 adopted in 2021, placing the NX1 toolset in a extra inexpensive package deal. But the digicam device struggled to realize traction out there. Samsung did the entirety it might call to mind — together with gimmicky occasions the place photographers may change an outdated — even damaged — SLR for a unfastened NX1, however it didn’t paintings.

Samsung unceremoniously killed the device later that 12 months. It’s a disgrace, since the cameras had been forward in their time. — Jim Fisher, lead analyst for virtual cameras

Secret

The Secret app was once meant as a spot to show your inner-most secrets and techniques. You know, again earlier than other folks remembered there was once this type of factor as privateness (because of Facebook’s scandals). One drawback: the anonymity that Secret allowed made other folks act like jerks. Enough in order that a complete nation (Brazil) banned the app. It didn’t are compatible with the rest founder’s imaginative and prescient, so after just a few years life and a meteoric upward thrust, the preferred app close down in 2021.

Steam Machines

Steam proved to be a well-liked option to distribute PC video games, so Steam-based {hardware} looked like a herbal evolution. But in spite of an early appearing of Steam Machines in 2021 — which producers may make with the Linux-based Steam OS tool — they didn’t send for over a 12 months. And once they did arrive, even from massive names in gaming like Alienware (above), they didn’t promote. Perhaps as a result of Steam put itself in festival with its personal (now-discontinued) Steam Link set-top field for TVs. By 2021, Steam itself got rid of the Steam Machines web page from its nav bar, in spite of claiming the Machines are nonetheless a factor.

Tizen working on a Samsung Z910F telephone and SM-R380 Smartwatch on the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco June 3, 2021; Josh Edelson, AFP Getty Images

Tizen

Samsung sponsored this Linux offshoot for cellular units from the get-go, hoping to forge a brand new OS that might use HTML5 apps to make smartphone customers glad. Getting it on their telephones would have supposed controlling the cash that normally is going to Google whilst you license Android for a telephone. But Tizen by no means took off, no longer in telephones, smartwatches, or drugs. In reality, the one good fortune Tizen has observed is in sensible TVs, the place it is living lately in about 21 % of them. So it’s no longer a failure or flop in that regard — because it nonetheless exists. It’s merely a ways from the place it began on small monitors.

Vine

This is much less a tech flop than this can be a case of tragic mismanagement via the corporate that received it. Vine was once an fast hit when introduced in 2021, proscribing shared movies to just 6 seconds lengthy and forcing creators to be extremely inventive. Twitter purchased it and couldn’t determine methods to earn money off the provider — money-making no longer being Twitter’s specialty — so it close down in 2021. Vine’s co-founder stated he’d release a form of Vine 2.0 via 2021, however monetary and prison hurdles killed that earlier than it was once even born. Maybe his newest venture, Byte (Vine 3.0?), will ultimately develop into to be had, however with TikTok taking up short-form video, who’s going to care?

Photo credit score: Joe Klamar AFP GettyImages

Nintendo Wii U

The Wii U was once the successor to the unique Wii, supposed to take at the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. It moved clear of movement keep watch over towards dual-screen play, however it introduced in 2021 with only a few video games and was once sluggish to look any traction. Nintendo admitted defeat as early as 2021, and gave it a mercy killing in 2021, a few months earlier than the Nintendo Switch debuted — a tool that progressed at the Wii United statesconcepts and sport play in virtually each means.

Windows 8 + Windows RT + Windows Phone

With the reminiscence of Vista fading, Microsoft was once driving excessive at the good fortune of Windows 7 when it introduced the ill-advised Windows 8 in 2021. Changes to the OS — tiles, ugh — and makes an attempt to make it extra mobile-friendly all despatched customers right into a rage. A 12 months later, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft was once strolling again numerous the interface “improvements” to be extra like Windows 7 once more. When Windows 10 got here alongside as a unfastened substitute, and was once welcomed with open palms via 8-haters and enthusiasts alike.

Windows RT was once a cripple-ware model of Windows 8, made only for drugs and laptops with lower-power chips to economize. It was once crippled in that it best would run apps from the Windows Store — an Apple-esque transfer at which conventional PC customers chafed. Thankfully, when Microsoft moved the Surface line of {hardware} to the excessive finish, it killed off the low-end RT OS.

Microsoft’s different massive OS failure got here in three levels throughout the closing decade, with Windows Phone 7, Phone 8, and in spite of everything Windows 10 Mobile. Maybe any person in the market appreciated having their desktop OS gotten smaller right down to a telephone display screen, however clearly no longer sufficient. Microsoft in spite of everything killed the closing vestiges of its experiments with cellular in overdue 2021. Bill Gates blames the feds.

iCar thought symbol courtesy of dressmaker Meni Tsirbas, @MeniIssues on YouTube

Honorable Mention: Apple’s Project Titan

It’s a for the reason that Apple’s been having a look into battery-powered, self-driving cars for a very long time. Its self reliant automobile crew even has a reputation, Project Titan, and has been in life since 2021. In 2021, the crowd had 27 automobiles registered for street checking out. However, it not too long ago laid off 200 other folks and shifted different workforce round. Yet it additionally purchased Drive.AI, a tech for synthetic intelligence in self-driving cars. Could a automotive nonetheless release from the Cupertino loop via 2023 or so? Or license tech out to others to make this type of automotive? Check again once more in 10 years.

Originally printed at https://www.pcmag.com on November 15, 2021.


The Biggest Tech Product Flops of the 2010s was once at the beginning printed in PC Magazine on Medium, the place individuals are proceeding the dialog via highlighting and responding to this tale.