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Top 10 Biggest Tech Flops

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Ian Astraquillo New is not always better and these products are proof of that. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Biggest Tech Flops. For this list, we're looking at gadgets and gizmos that failed to garner consumer attention or demand, and, as a result, became a commodity fail for the brands that designed them. Special thanks to our user mattwatchmojo for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Biggest Tech Flops


New is not always better and these products are proof of that. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 biggest tech flops.

For this list, we’re looking at gadgets and gizmos that failed to garner consumer attention or demand, and, as a result, became a commodity fail for the brands that designed them. We’re also including software and services as part of this list, provided that they fall within the tech sphere.

#10: Joojoo (2010)
Fusion Garage

As they’d suffered massive negative press after a fallout with initial co-developer Michael Arrington, Fusion Garage and their JooJoo tablet were brand blunders long before entering the touchscreen tournament. When finally released after several delays, the JooJoo was universally panned for its criminal lag, five-hour battery life, and un-creative interface. Further criticized was its failure in portability, with the final dimension specs being nearly three-quarters of an inch thick and twelve-and-a-half inches wide, and weighing nearly two-and-a-half pounds. As a result, the JooJoo’s failure ultimately gave Fusion Garage their own short battery life when the company filed for bankruptcy over a year-and-a-half later.

#9: Sinclair C5 (1985)
Sinclair Vehicles

Marketed as a one-person “electrically assisted pedal cycle,” this now-retro looking tricycle takes the shape of a pod straight out of an ‘80s film’s vision for the future. Designed with portability and space-friendliness in mind, the Sinclair C5 was advertised as an alternative to cars and bikes. However, in the end, the C5 was impractical for consumers due to its low speed range, shoddy weather endurance, and awkward control scheme. This led to poor reviews and even poorer sales, and finally a cease in production less than seven months after its launch. It then notoriously became known as “one of the great marketing bombs of postwar British industry.” Ouch.

#8: Palm Foleo (2007)
Palm, Inc.

Designed to be what would’ve been the market’s first netbook device, Palm’s simple, slick, and ultra-convenient laptop was a complete failure at launch. Announced in 2007, this Linux-based subnotebook was built to serve as a companion for Palm Treo users, featuring the same e-mail, organizer, and web-browsing software the phones were noted for. A little over three months after its announcement, the Foleo ceased further development following a multitude of negative reviews from critics and a drastic decline in the company’s revenue in the face of the smartphone wars. Meanwhile, in 2009, the Treo was replaced by the Palm Pre, which, despite initial promising sales, eventually led to Palm’s acquisition by HP.

#7: Betamax [aka Beta] (1975-2002)
Sony

Long before the DVD slayed LaserDisc and Blu-Ray crushed HD-DVD, there was the first home video format war: Betamax vs. VHS. Introduced in the U.S. six months after its release in Japan, Betamax involved a six-inch-wide videocassette that was much smaller and lighter than its VHS counterpart. Initially, it drew attention with the console’s home recording capabilities. Still, despite Betamax’s superior image quality and smoother console engineering, it was ultimately VHS that was crowned as the victor by consumers, mainly for its superior playing speeds and longer running times.

#6: Fire Phone (2014-15)
Amazon.com

Following the astonishing success of their Kindle Fire e-book readers and Fire tablets, Amazon looked to further expand their Android-based Fire OS family by setting its eyes on the cell phone market. Announced as an AT&T-exclusive in mid-2014, Amazon’s take on the smartphone came with several neat innovations, including the "Dynamic Perspective" feature for apps and games and "Firefly" - a text, sound, image, and object recognition tool. Nevertheless, the Fire Phone was met with underwhelming reception and sales. Thus, it was quickly dropped by retailers and even pulled off of Amazon’s own store the following year. Not so hot for a device with fire in its name.

#5: Apple Maps (2012-)
Apple Inc.

Released in September 2012, Apple’s take on mapping services was immediately made the default navigation system for all their existing devices. Shortly thereafter, users complained about what was already perceived as a Google Maps knock-off, the biggest criticisms being slow speeds, inaccurate traffic data, and, oh yeah, just incorrect directions. As seemingly trivial as these errors may seem, they eventually reached the point that numerous governments began to warn users of their potentially fatal inaccuracies. One major case saw several users stranded in a high-temperature Australian park forty miles from their intended destination, while Ireland’s Ministry of Defense had to warn consumers that a non-existent airport was showing near Dublin in the service. So, huge FAIL.

#4: Blockbuster Total Access (2006-14)
Blockbuster LLC

Created in response to the then-rising media empire that is Netflix, Blockbuster Total Access was built with convenience in mind. Carbon-copying Netflix’s DVD-by-mail strategy, Total Access also permitted subscribers to return their rentals to a brick-and-mortar location in exchange for new titles in or out of their queue. However, despite surpassing its subscriber quota, the program quickly failed because most independently owned Blockbuster franchises declined to honor the service. One major franchisee even took the company to court, alleging that Total Access breached contract terms. Throw in a patent infringement lawsuit from Netflix and you’ve got quite the product-fail drama worthy of a film adaptation.

#3: Phillips CD-i (1991-98)
Royal Philips Electronics N.V.

Most of us remember Apple’s video game console fail - The Pippin, and, who can forget Nintendo’s dreadful attempt to pass off the Virtual Boy as a quote-unquote portable console? However, the biggest out-of-character product-fail is none other than Phillips with their Compact Disc Interactive. Has anyone even heard of this? Panned for its graphics, game titles, and controls at the time, it has been consistently ranked as one of the worst gaming systems ever to be put on the market. Intended to, ahem, compete with fourth gen giants like Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, the CD-i was ultimately a commercial failure that caused Phillips to lose over a billion US dollars.

#2: Zune (2006-12)
Microsoft

Even the world’s largest computer company isn’t safe from the occasional ouchie, what with its track record of flops that includes the Spot Watch and the Kin. But who can forget the Zune? Despite impressive reviews from critics and users, Zune’s entrance into commerce came at a time when its primary competitor, guess which one, had already established a borderline-monopolized foothold in the market. This, coupled with inferior marketing strategies, mediocre software support, and a lack of innovation, sent the Zune straight to flopsville, with the devices pulled from production in 2012 and the remaining services retired in 2015.

Before we unveil our #1 pick, let’s have a look at a few honorable, or, in this case, dishonorable mentions:
OQO Model 01 (2004)
OQO, Inc.
Wireless Display [aka WiDi] (2010-)
Intel
N-Gage (2003-05)
Nokia
Apple Watch (2015-)
Apple Inc.

#1: Google Glass (2013)
Google

So far, we’ve covered tablets, laptops and gaming consoles, but who would’ve ever thought that eyewear would find its way onto this list, and from Google no less? Though certainly an innovative and dandy device, the Google Glass prototype was ultimately a failure for its not-so wallet-friendly price tag, lack of special features, and the legislative actions it sparked due to privacy and safety concerns. Moreover, the product failed to impress most users, with many calling the device more of an intricate eyesore than a convenience. Google announced they’d cease production of the prototype in early 2015 – and though the company plans on continuing to develop it – as of early 2016, Google Glass is one of the fastest product flops ever to be released, tech or otherwise.

Do you agree with our list? Which tech flop do you think bombed the worst? For more flashy Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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