The technology industry should be proud of its many recent successes—continued advancements in smartphones, the rise of tablets and powerful apps, the honing of cloud computing, etc. There’s lots of great technologies we’re all glad exist. But for every success, there are many failures. The biggest flops actually tend to be pretty funny—a bunch of hype, then a launch to little fanfare, and a follow-up of embarrassment. Need some examples? CNN deftly assembled 10 notable tech fails from the past year. We break them down here, for your convenience. Enjoy.
1. Three-dimensional television. It was supposed to be the next living room revolution, but it stuck like scotch tape to a waterfall. At well over twice the cost of any good regular television, and the requirement to wear the goofy glasses, and the limited content available, this ship sunk. It may still yet succeed, but probably not before 2012, when technologies for it are refined and the content library expands.
2. Microsoft Kin. Need we say more? The three-month lifespan of these awful phones speaks volumes. Here’s hoping to better success with the Windows 7 Phone.
3. Nexus One. Another phone fail, the underwhelming fanfare that greeted Google’s own device led to disappointment and the eventual pull of the product. However, third-party devices running Android are seeing success.
4. iPhone 4’s “Antennagate.” Continuing with phones, this device was launched to extreme fanfare—and a big glitch. A “death grip,” AKA a perfectly normal grip, could seriously reduce reception due to a change in the placement of the phone’s antenna. Media hounded Apple relentlessly over the issue, and Apple conceded by offering hundreds of thousands of free cases and bumpers (duct tape works too). For such a seemingly massive failure, the iPhone 4 sold million after million and was never fixed, because CEO Steve Jobs insisted it was never broken.
5. Google Buzz. There was a lot of buzz around Google Buzz, but Google’s service evaporated into the abyss of irrelevance—the social networking attempt simply didn’t pan out. However, Google may have considered it an experiment more than anything and will likely continue tapping into the social networking space.
6. Facebook privacy. What’s new? Facebook is founded on utter openness; the very concept of this implies constant security concerns. 2010 perhaps drew the most controversy and questions from media and users alike, but that didn’t stop the social network from continuing its rapid growth—30,000 people left the site during Quit Facebook Day, but 30,000,000 joined the month after.
7. The Gawker hack. Gawker Media sites were breached earlier this month. Hackers say they got access to usernames and passwords for well over one million users various sites. Common passwords were published; “123456,” “password,” “12345” and “qwerty” among them. Really, people? How 1995. You deserve to be hacked.
8. Digg relaunch. Digg V4, as it was dubbed, launched and failed. Traffic plummeted, everyone questioned what the hell Digg thought it was doing, and the site never recovered. Ouch. Think twice before you launch.
9. iTunes Ping. Like Microsoft’s Bing, you think, “What the hell is that?” I always tell people to Google Bing. As for Ping? Who cares. This Apple iTunes musical “social network” is less impressive than the original Apple TV—and that’s saying something.
10. Content farms. Some succeed, some fail. Either way, these profit-minded, sneaky little bastards junk up the internet with their overflow of low quality link-bait. CNN doesn’t convincingly declare this a 2010 failure, probably because it’s not—but it has always been, and will always be, looked down upon by most.
What was your favourite tech fail of 2010?