If you live on the bleeding edge of technology, you’re bound to get burned buying “the next big thing” at least once in your life. If you’re like me, however, you sit atop a pile of useless gadgets that once proclaimed to be game-changers and revolutionary in the tech industry. Look under your bed, in your closet or in your garage, and you’ll probably find some of these tech failures gathering dust.
It was a toss up at first, but Sony’s Blu-Ray emerged victorious in the hi definition DVD format wars a few years back. For months it remained uncertain who would prevail, as both sides pumped out hardware and media that supported their respective format. HD DVD had several months head start, but Toshiba’s player didn’t have a new gaming console to back it, and when Universal and Paramount ended their exclusivity with HD DVD, the format quickly died and Toshiba announced it would cease production, leaving thousands of people with HD DVD hardware and nothing to watch on it.
Remember the 3DO console in the 1990’s, or the Atari Jaguar and the Sega Saturn? All were promising gaming systems that never took off. While Sega sold nearly 10 million units, they inexplicably announced they were folding up shop, leaving millions of users with nothing to play. These consoles had a fan base, but simply couldn’t compete with Nintendo and Sony in the console market.
Aside from Windows ME, there hasn’t been a more despised Microsoft Operating System than Windows Vista, which left millions of users compelled to downgrade to Windows XP. Vista paved the way for Windows 7, arguably the best version of Windows to date. Those of us that couldn’t wait to buy and install the new OS were left shocked and embarrassed to be running Vista.
Imagine looking at a person, while talking to them on the phone. Amazingly, some of these units are still being sold, but it was a consumer fad that never really took off. There were never enough of these units in households, but it was an interesting idea, and just when it seemed like the idea might get some traction, along comes the iPhone, Skype and other Internet devices to squash the concept.
Music from space. Themed channels with fewer commercials. XM and Sirius battled for years for satellite radio supremacy until it seemed both companies would fail. The XM / Sirius merger in 2007 and automobile manufacturers agreeing to install the Sirius receiver in cars allow satellite radio to remain on life support a little while longer. Satellite radio is still somewhat popular, but with companies like Pandora and Spotify providing similar service for free, it’s only a matter of time before satellite radio comes crashing to Earth.
HP Touchpad, the iPad killer. Geez. HP dropped the Touchpad after only two months and lowered the price of the tablet to $100 in order to get rid of the remaining tablets. This all went down during HP’s identity crisis where the company a month later issued a report saving they were also shutting down their PC division. HP later came to their senses and said the PC division was alive and well. The HP Touchpad, however, remained dead.
If you’re stuck with technology that never took, don’t be ashamed. It’s people like us that influence companies to innovate and aspire to create new products for us to consume. Without us, there would be no smartphones. Without us, there would be no tablet computers. We inspire these companies because they realize they can, at the very least, sell their product to the frenzied masses of tech junkies waiting for their next fix. It still hurts, though, deep in that cold place in your gut where regret and resentment resides. But that’s okay, we have each other.
Are you a tech junkie stuck with obsolete gadgets? If so, let us know.