Just fresh from Black Friday, it’s been a huge few weeks for gadgets, gizmos, tech and toys. All shapes and sizes, purpose and price. We know the successes, the blockbusters and the must-haves, but let’s spare a thought for those forgotten souls of the tech world, the biggest gadget flops of the last decade or so.
This was a gadget that had the unenviable characteristic of being recognised as a flop from pretty much the first moment of its existence. Pioneering mobile phone developer Nokia decided it was time to enter the handheld market by creating a terrible portable gaming console that doubled as a terrible phone. How terrible? Well, you could only speak into the thing if you placed it on its side. From this was born the only redeeming feature of the entire debacle, the wonderfully hateful website, Side Talkin’, which plays tribute to just how stupid its owners looked.
Sometimes you look at a product, like the N-Gage and you think, what were they thinking? Other times, you look at one, like the Zune, and you think “ah they were thinking of the iPod”. Derivative without ever being nearly as good as its prettier cousin, the Zune range hung on from 2006 until 2012, by which time its dreams of killing the iPod had been thoroughly smashed.
An example of a product that seemed to misunderstand the benefits of its own technology, Twitter’s Peek was a little-known portable device designed for using Twitter, but seemingly by someone who’d never used the service, or outright hated it. Even looking at its cramped screen and fiddly controls makes you wonder why on Earth they thought it would work. Well, it didn’t.
MSN Smart Watch
Going back a little further, this is the rare item on this list that actually does seem like quite an achievement. A smart watch a decade before such a thing became chic, and a wearable with applications the iPhone and its imitators hadn’t developed as many as five years later. The Smart Watch genuinely appears to have been that thing all flops like to pretend: not bad, just early. Sure, its clunky design and shoddy display seem ancient now, but its applications were nifty and it had news, email, weather and instant messaging when those same functions were a long way from being established on mobile phones. If you don’t believe us, check out this charmingly sedate video extolling its charms below.