We all love gadgets and technology, but there are products that belong in the bargain bin of Epic Fail and not in our pockets. In no particular order, here are our failing favorites.
- Gizmondo – No, not the tech blog that was naughty at CES 2008. Take 1 part portable gaming console, add 1 part GPS and add a splash of 2.5G mobile data service. Stir in a crazy, Swedish executive that crashed a $1,000,000 Ferrari in Malibu while drunk and you’ve got a tall, tasty epic fail.
- The Phantom – Ah, the Phantom. Winner of many yearly vaporware awards, this console was supposed to play PC games and receive content over the internet. The developers would sometimes show up at E3 or announce a release date only to have it pushed back. Currently, Phantom Entertainment is releasing peripherals and hopes to develop a Steam-like digital delivery system. We doubt it.
- The N-Gage – Nokia’s gaming phone that spawned the Side Talkin’ internet meme. The first installment of the device rocked some terrible design flaws, the most notable of which, was forcing users to remove the battery to change the game. We just don’t see the need to combine a handheld gaming console and a phone if it takes a huge hit to game quality. Also, we don’t know anyone who owns one.
- Segway – This device is pretty cool even if it makes you look like a dork and it almost escaped our list solely due to Gob from Arrested Development riding one, but this thing defined “over-hyped”. Before ITs release they kept telling us it would completely revolutionize travel. Guess what? It didn’t. Not even close. The things aren’t even legal for sidewalk use in a lot of place. Toss in some recall problems and the fact that President Bush took a spill on one and check out this epic failure.
- DIVX Disc Rental Service – No, not DivX, the video codec, but the Circuit City video rental venture that had fail written all over it. Epically. The idea was to release $4 DIVX discs that could only be played in DIVX/DVD drives and were only viewable for 48 hours after the first viewing. Watching it after that period would cost extra money. Terrible.
- MP3 Players That Aren’t the iPod – The iPod at one point accounted for 90% of the hard drive based market and 70% of the entire market for MP3 players. Other companies need to innovate to take Apple off the throne, but Apple just keeps raising the bar and its competitors keep playing catch up.
- Apple Newton – Apple tried to invent the PDA and failed. Although the product would later lead to the Palm Pilot from an ex-Apple employee, the Newton was expensive, large, and its handwriting recognition software was laughably bad. That’ll teach you to innovate before the iPod, Apple.
- Windows Me – Released between Windows 2000 and XP, Millennium Edition (worst name ever) was an exercise in frustration. The release was basically not needed with 98SE still running just fine and XP only a year away. Changes to the DOS architecture made running certain programs that relied on DOS access impossible. Window Me is a definite epic fail, but even more of an epic fail is that Microsoft supported it until 2006.
Agree? Disagree? Did we miss any? Did any of you saps actually buy any of these? Let us know and be criticized for your epic consumer failure!