Watch 18 Failed Tech Products From Five Decades in Action

We are constantly being bombarded with new tech products. They can’t all be successes. We’ve found 18 products that never really took off. In some cases, they were brilliant for their time, while in other cases, they were just godawful. One of the products even spawned a new invective – the glasshole. Another product hasn’t failed yet, but we’re pretty sure it will.

Esbjörn Guwallius |

Google Glass (2012–2015)

What was Google Glass? Smart, camera-equipped glasses from Google. Why did they fail? Privacy concerns, since a user could secretly record video. “Glasshole” was used to derogatorily describe certain Google Glass users.

Google Glass (2012–2015)

What was Google Glass?

Smart, camera-equipped glasses from Google.

Why did they fail?

Privacy concerns, since a user could secretly record video. “Glasshole” was used to derogatorily describe certain Google Glass users.

LaserDisc (1978–2001)

What was LaserDisc? First commercial optical disc storage medium for home entertainment. Why did it fail? While it was superior in audio and video quality compared to VHS and Betamax tapes, the LaserDisc format never took off due … Read full text

LaserDisc (1978–2001)

What was LaserDisc?

First commercial optical disc storage medium for home entertainment.

Why did it fail?

While it was superior in audio and video quality compared to VHS and Betamax tapes, the LaserDisc format never took off due to high prices and the inability to record onto the discs. The movie “Tokyo Raiders” was the last to be released on LaserDisc in 2001. The last LaserDisc player was manufactured by Pioneer in 2009.

GM EV-1 (1996–1999)

What was GM EV-1? An electric car manufactured by General Motors in the mid to late 1990s. Why did it fail? GM believed electric cars were “an unprofitable niche” and scrapped the project after just three years. The move was contr… Read full text

GM EV-1 (1996–1999)

What was GM EV-1?

An electric car manufactured by General Motors in the mid to late 1990s.

Why did it fail?

GM believed electric cars were “an unprofitable niche” and scrapped the project after just three years. The move was controversial with electric car enthusiasts and environmental groups.

Coolest Cooler (2015–2019)

What was the Coolest Cooler? A portable cooler with many functions, including a Bluetooth speaker, a blender, a bottle opener, a USB charger, LED lamps, cup holders, plates, a knife, a corkscrew, and a cutting board. It launched o… Read full text

Coolest Cooler (2015–2019)

What was the Coolest Cooler?

A portable cooler with many functions, including a Bluetooth speaker, a blender, a bottle opener, a USB charger, LED lamps, cup holders, plates, a knife, a corkscrew, and a cutting board. It launched on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.

Why did it fail?

The company ran out of funding and couldn’t deliver coolers to an estimated 20,000 of their Kickstarter backers.

Motorola ROKR E1 (2006)

What was Motorola ROKR E1? Dubbed the iTunes phone, it was the first mobile phone to feature Apple’s iTunes music player. Why did it fail? The memory maxed out at 1GB, which only allowed for up 100 songs to be stored on the phone…. Read full text

Motorola ROKR E1 (2006)

What was Motorola ROKR E1?

Dubbed the iTunes phone, it was the first mobile phone to feature Apple’s iTunes music player.

Why did it fail?

The memory maxed out at 1GB, which only allowed for up 100 songs to be stored on the phone. Transferring music to the phone was also painfully slow.

Flammable Hoverboards (2015–2016)

What were “flammable hoverboards”? Self-balancing scooters of lesser quality. Why did they fail? Some of them went up in flames while being ridden or charging. In February 2016, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission decided th… Read full text

Flammable Hoverboards (2015–2016)

What were “flammable hoverboards”?

Self-balancing scooters of lesser quality.

Why did they fail?

Some of them went up in flames while being ridden or charging. In February 2016, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission decided that hoverboards were unsafe.

Snapchat Spectacles (2016–?)

What were (Snapchat) Spectacles? Camera glasses from the company Snap. Why did they fail? Critics said they were too expensive, and the quality of the video recordings was poor. Snap continued to release two more versions of their… Read full text

Snapchat Spectacles (2016–?)

What were (Snapchat) Spectacles?

Camera glasses from the company Snap.

Why did they fail?

Critics said they were too expensive, and the quality of the video recordings was poor. Snap continued to release two more versions of their camera glasses in 2018 and 2019.

Apple Newton MessagePad (1993–1997)

What was the MessagePad? It was an early PDA from Apple, which ran the Newton OS. Why did it fail? The handwriting recognition (which was a prominent feature) was initially poor and ridiculed in an episode of The Simpsons. Althoug… Read full text

Apple Newton MessagePad (1993–1997)

What was the MessagePad?

It was an early PDA from Apple, which ran the Newton OS.

Why did it fail?

The handwriting recognition (which was a prominent feature) was initially poor and ridiculed in an episode of The Simpsons. Although handwriting recognition became better in later versions of the software, the Newton is often seen as a failed tech product.

Sony Betamax (1975–2002)

What was Betamax? A consumer videocassette format introduced by Sony in 1975. Why did it fail? It lost the videotape format war to VHS. Despite declining usage, Betamax recorders continued to be sold until 2002, and cassettes were… Read full text

Sony Betamax (1975–2002)

What was Betamax?

A consumer videocassette format introduced by Sony in 1975.

Why did it fail?

It lost the videotape format war to VHS. Despite declining usage, Betamax recorders continued to be sold until 2002, and cassettes were sold until 2016. The professional version Betacam (released in 1982) was much more successful and was the de-facto standard in the TV industry for many years.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (2016)

What was Samsung Galaxy Note 7? A smartphone from Samsung, released in August 2016 and recalled two months later. Why did it fail? The phones’ batteries could malfunction and generate excessive heat, which made some of them eventu… Read full text

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (2016)

What was Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

A smartphone from Samsung, released in August 2016 and recalled two months later.

Why did it fail?

The phones’ batteries could malfunction and generate excessive heat, which made some of them eventually catch fire.

Juicero (2013–2017)

What was Juicero? The Juicero juicer was a Wi-Fi-connected gadget that squeezed the juice out of single-serving packets of pre-juiced fruits and vegetables. Juice packets were sold by the Juicero company as a subscription. Why did… Read full text

Juicero (2013–2017)

What was Juicero?

The Juicero juicer was a Wi-Fi-connected gadget that squeezed the juice out of single-serving packets of pre-juiced fruits and vegetables. Juice packets were sold by the Juicero company as a subscription.

Why did it fail?

Journalists and customers discovered that the juice packets could be squeezed by hand just as easily, rendering the expensive machine useless.

Apple QuickTake Camera (1994–1997)

What was Apple QuickTake? A digital camera, and one of the first digital camera lines marketed to consumers. Why did it fail? It was expensive (the first model, QuickTake 100, retailed for US$749), there was no LCD viewfinder, and… Read full text

Apple QuickTake Camera (1994–1997)

What was Apple QuickTake?

A digital camera, and one of the first digital camera lines marketed to consumers.

Why did it fail?

It was expensive (the first model, QuickTake 100, retailed for US$749), there was no LCD viewfinder, and the camera could only store eight images in high quality (640×480 resolution).

Microsoft Zune (2006–2012)

What was Microsoft Zune? An MP3 music player released by Microsoft, in an attempt to grab market share from Apple’s iPod. Why did it fail? It joined the party too late, and some also blame the device’s design and brown color.

Microsoft Zune (2006–2012)

What was Microsoft Zune?

An MP3 music player released by Microsoft, in an attempt to grab market share from Apple’s iPod.

Why did it fail?

It joined the party too late, and some also blame the device’s design and brown color.

Twitter Peek (2009)

What was TwitterPeek? A handheld device that only could do Twitter. Users could send and receive tweets using the device. Why did it fail? It could only do one thing – and it required a monthly subscription. It was called one of t… Read full text

Twitter Peek (2009)

What was TwitterPeek?

A handheld device that only could do Twitter. Users could send and receive tweets using the device.

Why did it fail?

It could only do one thing – and it required a monthly subscription. It was called one of the worst gadgets of the decade.

Facebook Phone / HTC First (2013)

What was the Facebook phone / HTC First? It was an Android smartphone that came preloaded with Facebook’s user interface, Facebook Home. Why did it fail? Users didn’t like the “always-on-Facebook interface,” and the device sold po… Read full text

Facebook Phone / HTC First (2013)

What was the Facebook phone / HTC First?

It was an Android smartphone that came preloaded with Facebook’s user interface, Facebook Home.

Why did it fail?

Users didn’t like the “always-on-Facebook interface,” and the device sold poorly. Just 15,000 units were purchased in its first month on the market.

Apple Bandai Pippin (1996–1997)

What was the Apple Bandai Pippin? A gaming console and home entertainment system developed by Apple. Why did it fail? Very few games and applications were released for the Pippin, and sales were less than lackluster.

Apple Bandai Pippin (1996–1997)

What was the Apple Bandai Pippin?

A gaming console and home entertainment system developed by Apple.

Why did it fail?

Very few games and applications were released for the Pippin, and sales were less than lackluster.

Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019)

What was (the first) Samsung Galaxy Fold? A foldable smartphone from Samsung. Why did it fail? The screen could crack around the display hinge after the device had been used for a few days.

Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019)

What was (the first) Samsung Galaxy Fold?

A foldable smartphone from Samsung.

Why did it fail?

The screen could crack around the display hinge after the device had been used for a few days.

Ray-Ban Stories / Facebook Glasses (2021–?)

What are Ray-Ban Stories? Smart sunglasses released by Facebook and Ray-Ban. Why will they fail? The glasses carry a high price tag and can only record video clips up to 30 seconds long. Then there are the same privacy concerns as… Read full text

Ray-Ban Stories / Facebook Glasses (2021–?)

What are Ray-Ban Stories?

Smart sunglasses released by Facebook and Ray-Ban.

Why will they fail?

The glasses carry a high price tag and can only record video clips up to 30 seconds long. Then there are the same privacy concerns as with Google Glass. Ray-Ban Stories has a LED that shines when you take a picture or record a video, but that can get unnoticed, as you can see in the video.

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