January 08, 2023
While the 21st century oversaw exponential advancements in technology, this remarkable growth has also been marred by a great many failures.
Since the turn of the century, Silicon Valley has expanded beyond imagination and a plethora of so-called revolutionary products have been introduced. While some of these tech products have achieved phenomenal levels of success, others have been a complete and utter failure in the market.
From issues with functionality, design or just the marketing around the launch of the product, many underlying factors can render a product a failure. So, without further ado, let’s examine some of the most notable technological flops of the 21st century.
Google Glass was supposed to be a game-changer when it was revealed in April 2012. These glasses, powered by Android and controlled by motion and speech, were meant to act as a type of hands-free smartphone by providing access to a variety of apps and features.
And Google undoubtedly positioned these spectacles as a high-end piece of technology charging an astounding $1,500 a piece — a price tag far higher than even the newest iPhone at the time.
Despite the excitement, the creators never truly explained why the product would be worthwhile, and what it entailed. No clear declaration was made about the functionalities of Google Glasses or why it would be an improvement over smartphones.
Consequently, Google Glass vastly underperformed in terms of sales and more or less disappeared from the public eye in the coming years.
A “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table” – this is how Elon Musk envisioned Hyperloop when he disclosed the idea to the world in 2013. For months on, Musk had teased and tantalised the public about a “fifth mode of transportation”. To that end, The Boring Company was founded in 2016 by Elon Musk.
The first whitepaper presented an idea for a system that would use pressurised tubes to transport pods throughout the US at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. However, engineers pointed out severe structural flaws in the scheme and noted that expenditures had been grossly underestimated.
A multitude of similar kinds of Hyperloop firms have, to this day, been unable to develop even a single mile of fully-operational track, and Elon Musk has refocused his efforts on merely constructing tunnels for automobiles.
With the success of James Cameron’s Avatar in the backdrop, 3D TV was expected to offer a new level of immersion to the way people watched movies in their living rooms. However, the attempt to recreate that experience in the comfort of one’s own home has been a dismal failure and is a stark contrast to the prevalence of 3D movie screenings in commercial theatres.
Nobody wants to be seen lounging about on their sofa while wearing those ridiculous 3D spectacles. In addition, the screen sizes of most televisions are too small to display 3D materials and deliver a similar experience as in the theatre. By the latter part of the 2010s, the industry had given up on the idea and shifted its focus on high dynamic range (HDR) and other visual upgrades that do not need glasses.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Reviewers went wild in August 2016 when Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was first made available, praising its stunning good looks. That was back before the first mobile phone caught fire, along with Samsung’s reputation as a bonafide smartphone maker.
By September 1, there were reports of at least 35 phones catching fire for no apparent reason. Soon Samsung said that it would be delivering replacement handsets for the Note 7 and would also be initiating a recall of the product.
Soon after that, these replacement devices also quickly started catching fire, including at least one that occurred on an aircraft, which prompted the governments to prohibit all Note 7s from usage at airport security checkpoints.
In the end, the company was forced to recall all of the phones and put out a software upgrade that rendered existing smartphones worthless.
It almost sounds like something out of a fairy tale when you say things like “syphoning blood from young people and injecting it into elderly people.” However, beginning in the year 2016, a startup named Ambrosia began making claims that transfusing blood would help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, improve the condition of the skin, and increase sports performance.
Reportedly, Peter Thiel expressed interest in the opportunity. People were in line to pay Ambrosia, $8,000 per litre for blood from individuals who are less than 25 years old. However, in 2019, the company halted its operations in the face of a warning from the FBI.
There is no genuine evidence to support the assertions that young blood has any positive effects on a person’s health. Even essential blood transfusions may come with potentially life-threatening complications.
In 2002, Segway introduced its two-wheeled personal mobility vehicle called the Segway. During the unveiling of the device, the CEO of Segway predicted that it “will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” The well-known venture investor John Doerr predicted that Segway sales may reach $1 billion more quickly than any other firm in the history of the world.
Initially, it received a lot of positive attention right from the start, with millions of people finding its peculiar look and innovative technology to be highly intriguing.
When it came to real sales, however, Segway did not live up to expectations. Its expensive price was also a relatively big ask for a new client base, which made it difficult to acquire loyal consumers. Consequently, the company struggled to grow its customer base.
tech / gadgets / tech fails
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