Feeds

Ten technology FAILS

Tech that might have revolutionised your life but you have now completely forgotten

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Nokia's N-Gage, Palm's Foleo, Motorola's Atrix, Apple's Newton MessagePad, HD DVD, Sony's Rolly, Sony's Mylo, Philips' CD-i, Commodore's CD-TV, IBM's PCJr, the Camputer's Lynx, Gizmondo, the Phantom, Atari's Jaguar, MySpace, Beenz - behind every iPad there are dozens and dozens of technology products that aspired to greatness but were successful only in their distinct lack of commercial success.

Some were simply beaten by better rivals, others were just released too early or too late, still more were just plain wrong. Not all were specific products - 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.

Here, then, are some of our favourite tech fails - products, technologies, concepts and trends - from the past 30-odd years.

BOB Household Manager

In 1995, Microsoft replaced Windows 3’s rather rubbish GUI with a - for the time - snazzier interface and called it Windows 95. And then it decided that menus, windows, and icons for applications and, now, documents wasn’t what ordinary folk wanted at all. So it released BOB, a new UI for Windows that placed apps and services in a cartoon house. Like the original Mac desktop, there was a kind of logic to it - put the virtual things into a context users would understand from real life - but at least the Apple UI didn’t require a cartoon dog and a cartoon paperclip to show folk around. It was, you won’t be surprised to learn, a complete flop. BOB was killed off, though the dog survived as Windows XP’s search mascot.

Microsoft Bob

Information Appliances

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, a time when World+Dog, particularly the non-techie part, would access the internet cheaply and easily through set-top boxes and TVs rather than pricey desktop or laptop computers. Of course, back then most homes didn’t have digital television let alone home broadband and wireless networks. Consumer internet usage was in its infancy.

Sony eVilla

iAppliances eventually ended up looking like PCs - as this Sony eVilla shows

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 now coming in from Far Eastern manufacturers, and we’d have to wait another ten years for products that looked like they might supplant the traditional computer.

New hybrid storage solutions

Next page: OpenDoc

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.