Ten… technology fails

Ten… technology FAILS article shows you examples of tech that might have at the time revolutionized your life but you have now completely forgotten. Many products and entire categories of goods and services have been hailed as the Next Big Thing only to disappear with nothing but a handful of miserable early adopters to show they were ever there.

Some examples:

Push Technology: By the end of the 1990s, PointCast and many of its rivals were gone, though the notion of getting information updates, albeit through by pulling them over, was carried on by the developers of the RSS feed.

Was the Personal Digital Assistant a fail? It’s true that what we now call a smartphone is heir to the PDA and, if you count all the organisers that the likes of Palm, Sony and others sold in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the PDA, as a category, proved incredibly successful. But what about the PDA as originally conceived? Apple’s Newton was a flop and was out-paced by the more basic, cheaper Palm Pilot, which was never tried to be anything more than a digital diary and contacts list.

Even by the late 1990s, pundits were already predicting the death of the PC: the new Millennium would herald the ‘post-PC era’, they said. The idea was that most users would access the internet cheaply and easily through set-top boxes and TVs rather than pricey desktop or laptop computers. Attempts to build these so-called ‘information appliances’ invariably offered a sub-standard – as defined by the personal computer – experience. Instead, punters adopted the ever-cheaper PCs. We have had to wait another ten years for products that looked like they might supplant the traditional computer.


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