Five biggest Tech ‘flops’ in 2010

Posted on December 07, 2010 by .

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Some other gadgets which proved popular in 2010.

Some other gadgets which proved popular in 2010.

These are not the top five biggest technology flops this year. But they certainly did not live up the expectations they promised when they were unveiled earlier this year. We’ll work our way from the bottom up.

5. Apple iPad

Well this is the pick that we’re probably going to take the most flak over, but it deserves to be on the list and here’s why: The iPad has been a mega-hit, there’s no denying that. With over 7 million of them were sold in its first six months on the market, it has changed the computing industry more than any single product has in the past decade.

But, the iPad has been hyped to the point that too many people are thinking of it as full laptop replacement. Well, unfortunately it is not. While the iPad has definitely devoured the lower end of the laptop market, especially netbooks, you have to keep in mind that most of those buyers are looking for a second, more portable machine. In business, the iPad is a great fit for consultants and field workers who are not sitting behind desks but are out interacting with customers, and also for executives who spend all day in meetings. However, it’s still not that great for people who need to sit down and efficiently plow through a lot of work. And that’s a lot of people!

4. Microsoft Kinect

Bill Gates was talking about this product for years, even long before it even had a name. When Nintendo Wii came out, Gates said the real innovation would be when you could play a tennis video game while holding your own racket instead of a game controller. To Microsoft’s credit, the company has almost entirely brought that vision to life with Microsoft Kinect, a new add-on for Xbox 360 which is already flying off the shelves this festive season.

The Kinect is a pretty cool experience (when it works) as it allows you to jump into a video game to play football, kick soccer balls and run obstacle courses right in the middle of your living room, without breaking anything. It’s great exercise and it’s quite accurate at the best of times. It doesn’t work too well in rooms with direct sunlight though and the facial recognition feature is absolutely awful. Plus the navigating menus with the gesture interface is annoyingly slow.

The Kinect is a very cool innovation, but it’s very gimmicky and raw, and it doesn’t work as well as the commercials say.

3. Samsung Galaxy Tab

The most innovative thing about the Galaxy Tab is that Samsung was the first vendor to finally bring an Android tablet to the mass market. We’ve been hearing all year that an army of Android tablets would be invading in waves. It never happened, mainly because Google never released a tablet version of Android and threw cold water on the early vendors that attempted to do their own Android tablet adaptations.

Samsung took its successful Galaxy S line of Android smartphones and kicked it up a notch into a 7-inch Android tablet, and voilà, out popped the Galaxy Tab. While Samsung did an excellent job with the hardware, the software leaves a lot to be desired and the product is badly overpriced. The Galaxy Tab has been portrayed as the iPad’s first real competitor, but I’d recommend waiting until the price drops, or until Google releases the official tablet version of Android, and the other big vendors release their Android tablets in the first half of 2011.

2. Google TV

Google TV is disappointing, to say the least. If Google focused on bringing Android apps to the flatscreen instead of trying to webify the television experience, this product may have worked. It has been said that apps in Google TV will transform entertainment by essentially lowering the bar on creating a TV “channel,” and not just an old school cable channel but a fully multimedia-enabled interactive channel.

That’s still possible, but it would require a strategy change. What the Google has attempted to do with this product is marry Web video with traditional cable/satellite all controlled by one box that you can use to search for the content you want. Unfortunately, the user experience is confusing and tedious. If you really want Web pages and Web video clips on your TV, just hook up a PC or a Mac for goodness sake. If you want fast content from the Internet (podcasts, Netflix streaming, Hulu Plus, etc.) delivered in a TV-like experience, get a Roku box, it’s a third of the price of Google TV.

1. 3DTV

This is an even bigger gimmick than Microsoft Kinect. The craze started at the CES 2010 earlier this year and carried all the way through to this holiday season. The TV vendors told the world that the next big step in television is 3DTV and that you can have it today by buying their new premium TVs and polarized glasses. The problem is that neither the tech press nor the public is buying it.

In January, it was obvious that TV vendors saw 3DTV as “the next big thing” to keep people buying new TVs and to get early adapters to replace their newly-purchased flat panels with 3D models. The tech press sniffed this out right away at CES 2010 and panned the idea, knowing that buyers don’t want to replace the new TVs they’ve just purchased in recent years and even fewer will want to wear 3D glasses in their own living rooms. But, vendors are still trying to ram 3DTVs down consumers throats with big displays at Best Buy, Costco, and other retailers this holiday season.

Which other gadgets do you think should make the list. Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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