Technology is constantly evolving. Today’s big thing is tomorrow’s old news. But every once in a while, a new device comes along with hopes of changing everything — only to fall flat on its face.
Some devices and concepts are made with the best intentions, but perhaps they either were introduced at the wrong time or needed to spend more time in development. Others are awesome and revolutionary, regardless of sales or lifespan.
We decided to wind back the digital clock and take a look at some of our favorite examples of technology that promised to change the world, but never followed through.
The death of 3-D television finally appears to be upon us. Brands such as Vizio and Samsung have discontinued 3-D TV production in recent years, and now Sony and LG are dropping support of the technology, according to CNET. While 3-D viewing still is popular in movie theaters, it never felt realistic to expect people to wear 3-D glasses at home, especially while in the company of others.
Few devices in history have generated as much pre-release buzz as the Segway. Released in 2001, the two-wheeled self-balancing mobility device — code-named “It” prior to launch — hasn’t changed human transportation to the extent that many people thought it could.
To be fair, the Segway hasn’t been a total failure, as various tourism and local-government agencies have found great uses for the device. But although the Segway is quite fun to ride, its approximate $5,000 price tag has made it tough to catch on with the average consumer.
If Segway was meant to change the way we travel through the world, Google Glass was meant to change the way we interact with it. Basically a smartphone in glasses format, Google Glass launched in 2013 and couldn’t even make it out of 2015. Doomed by a $1,500 price tag for a gadget that still was in its beta stage, Google Glass was an incomplete product which was marketed as nearly perfect.
Like so many portable music players, MiniDisc was eviscerated by Apple’s iPod. Sony unveiled the technology in the early 1990s, and shipped the final MiniDisc player in 2011, according to The Guardian.
The benefits were real: reduced skipping, personal recording and greater storage. The problem was that the iPod offered zero skipping and more storage, and no one ever really cared about being able to record on the go. But with music-streaming apps available on all smartphones, the iPod’s end also could be nigh.
It’s hard to remember high-definition movies ever being available on a format other than Blu-Ray, but there was such a time. Toshiba’s HD DVD was the first HD player to hit the market, launching in 2005. Plagued by poor support from Hollywood studios and a marketing campaign that paled in comparison to Sony’s flashier Blu-Ray, Toshiba abandoned the HD DVD Format in 2008.
But much like the iPod, it will be interesting to see if Blu-Ray falls victim to streaming apps.
Thumbnail photo via Segway New Zealand