Technology turkeys: Major fails of the last 20 years


For every iPhone and Netflix, there is a smartphone that catches fire or a gaming console riddled with problems from the moment it lands. This may be an era of great technological innovation, but success is far from a given in a landscape littered with failed crowdfunding campaigns and ill-conceived product ideas. As New Atlas celebrates it 20th birthday, let’s cast an eye over some of the more notable technology fails in recent times, a list featuring ambitious startups and big-names you mightn’t expect to put a foot wrong.

Imagining a world where the virtual and real worlds collide in an-awkward looking headset that everyday folks would somehow be okay wearing around, Google put years of development into its Google Glass consumer eyewear before putting it to bed in 2015 – something we admit our own Will Shanklin didn’t predict. And Google isn’t the only tech giant to put serious work into an ultimately doomed product, with police in Australia even issuing warnings against using Apple’s widely criticized Maps software when it launched.

Virtual reality is an area with massive potential, but despite promising signs and the best efforts from the likes of Oculus, mobile headsets for on-the-go VR have yet to materialize. Amazon’s first and last foray into smartphones met a similar fate, while more than a decade after 3D TVs first started landing on the shelves, viewers continue to consume their entertainment in two-dimensional flavors.

Check out some of the biggest technology fails in our time covering the space below.


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