10 Notorious Tech Flops That Had been Truly Method Forward of Their Time

Given the flood of new technical products that we launched in a given year, not all are destined for success. Whether it's a good idea that was poorly implemented, a great product that was too expensive, a niche item that no audience could reach, or just a futuristic idea that was way ahead of its time, here are 10 tech Flops that could not adhere to their landing.

Noble technical failures, we welcome you!

AT&T Picturephone (1970)

There was a time when the idea of ​​a videophone seemed as futuristic and impossible as teleportation and flying cars. One of the companies that tried to change that? AT & T, with its Picturephone service, was launched commercially on June 30, 1970.

For a bargain price of just $ 160 a month (around $ 1,000 at today's prices) plus 25 cents per minute after a “free” half hour, users could call one of the hundreds of other picture phones that were scattered throughout the United States . This was not exactly true, although services such as Skype and FaceTime show that AT&T has definitely been thinking in the right direction.

Polaroid Polavision (1977)

Imagine that you could instantly transfer the photography developed by Polaroid to moving images. That doesn't sound too spectacular at a time when entire films were made on smartphones, but it certainly sounded quite impressive in 1977.

Polavision included a camera, film, and film viewer that you can use to quickly develop and view your film. The problem was that the films contained no sound, only ran for 2.5 minutes each, and required incredibly bright light to film due to the slow film speed. Most people chose Super 8 cameras at short notice – although that required sending your films out for development. Later, both were replaced by VHS tapes and the arrival of the camcorder.

LaserDisc (1978)

If you think DVD is the first disc-based home video format, you have to think again! LaserDiscs was introduced in 1978 and offered VHS tapes a much better picture and sound quality. They were pioneers of the kind of film extras that later became an important part of DVD and Blu-ray presentations.

Unfortunately, the discs themselves were easily damaged, the expensive LaserDisc players could be excessively loud, and there was no way to record TV programs with them. They finally stuttered out in the 1990s.

Power Glove (1989)

It seems unimaginable that a product called "Power Glove" could ever have been a commercial failure, but somehow it was. It was introduced by Mattel in 1989 as an NES accessory and gave users a new way to interact with various gestures with Nintendo games.

Although it became a cult hit, it couldn't be sold at the time – and like some of the technologies on this list, it didn't work quite as well as advertised. However, it is fairly clear that this is the same concept that was later more successfully adopted for technologies such as Wiimote from Nintendo, PS Move and Motion Controller for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Apple's Newton MessagePad (1993)

The portable Newton MessagePad, a line of personal data assistants (PDAs), should be Apple's next big success after the Macintosh. When the first-generation $ 699 device arrived in 1993, it had handwriting recognition that instantly recognized 10,000 words. Some impressive A.I. Meeting scheduling features, infrared technology to “transfer” data to other devices, and more.

Unfortunately, it never really prevailed. Though Apple has launched a number of new models that are getting better, the MessagePad is considered to be one of the biggest flops in Apple's history due to a combination of an earlier negative press and a lack of easy internet connection.

After all, an expensive Apple mobile device? What nut would think that could be a hit?

Virtual boy (1995)

The Virtual Boy was a painful topic for Nintendo and the company's first foray into VR where the ball was missed in many ways. For starters, the initial price of the headset at Nintendo was around $ 180 (now around $ 300). This is a considerable sum for a mobile gaming experience, especially if a player looking for a setup without a console can buy a Game Boy for far less money.

Even after spending almost $ 25 million on marketing and lowering the price, Nintendo couldn't save the young Virtual Boy. Additional complaints ranged from uncomfortable headgear to primitive graphics to a number of health effects including nausea and headache. The product would bite the dust less than a year later. While the headset lives on in the annals of forgotten hardware, Nintendo's misstep was a crucial step in the world of VR technology, with hardware and software that are revolutionizing tech companies to this day.

Sony Glasstron (1996)

The Sony Glasstron cost $ 900 (today $ 1,350) and was a head-mounted display that promised to reproduce "the viewing experience of a 52-inch TV at 6.5 feet". Inside there were two 0.55-inch LCD screens with a resolution of 180,000 pixels each.

Put on a pair of earphones with stereo speakers, eat popcorn and – from your point of view – it was like sitting in a real movie theater. From the perspective of everyone else, you looked like an idiot. Oh, and it probably made you a little sick, too.

Regardless, it is the ancestor of today's more successful generation of VR headsets.

WebTV and MSN TV (1996)

From the nostalgic sounds of dial-up sound to Usenet newsgroups to the fact that we have ever thought that MIDI theme grinding is good quality for a website, there is a lot about the early days of the Internet on that we look back with rose. tinted glasses. Something no one likes to remember? Try using television as a temporary monitor to access the Internet.

While it sounded cool and high-tech, clumsy control interfaces and the generally terrible resolution of the TVs of the 90s meant that this was more of a frustrating exercise than anything else. The most notable attempt at an Internet-connected set-top box was WebTV, which enabled television-based email and Internet surfing through a wireless keyboard.

It was later renamed from Microsoft to MSN TV, but could not prevail among customers. Smart TVs are of course almost everywhere today.

Sega Dreamcast (1998)

It still hurts us physically that the Dreamcast is not only seen as a commercial flop, but also ended the glory days of video games where Sega was a manufacturer of brilliant hardware, rather than a publisher bringing out below-average Sonic the Hedgehog games.

The Dreamcast may have marked the end of an era in some ways, but was incredibly forward-looking in other ways. The biggest problem: there is a modem in every console that allows players from all over the world to play against each other, participate in leaderboards, chat or download content. And all back in the exhilarating days of 1998!

HD DVD (2006)

Do you remember when you could choose between HD DVD and Blu-ray? Probably not because the format war was rather short-lived. HD DVD offered the full resolution of 1080p, up to 30 GB disc storage as well as extras such as interactive menus and various complementary materials. Players can be purchased from Toshiba and other brands at prices ranging from $ 500 to $ 800. If you have an Xbox 360, you can also purchase an external HD DVD reader for around $ 200.

After Warner Bros. announced that it would not be supporting Blu-ray until early 2008, other major entertainment companies and top-notch big box retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart followed. Blu-ray discs were able to reach a larger storage capacity (up to 50 GB per disc), and those on the market for a gaming system could purchase a Playstation 3, a new console with an integrated Blu-ray player. Backed by the support of the world's leading entertainment companies, Blu-ray was the way to go when investing in HD. HD DVD and its related hardware and content manufacturers terminated it in early 2008.

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