From combustible smartphones to failed IPO’s, every year thousands of new technological products are launched in the market. Out of all these tech inventions, only some find success. Most of them ultimately fail for several reasons like they are ahead of their time, marketing gone wrong, not enough customer discovery or it is just a bad innovation. Even big companies like Google, Apple and Samsung have gotten it wrong recently and in the past. Some of these products in this list are even known as the most successful failures as have paved the way for future innovations and taught us about a particular technology and its target audience.
We have listed below ten of our top technology innovations that were the biggest failure in the last few decades and we can tell you right now they will surprise you.
The PalmPilot Professional and PalmPilot Personal were the 2nd generation Palm PDA devices that were produced by Palm Inc and launched in 1997. They tracked contacts, events, to-do lists and notes that were all synced to a desktop. It was a computer with specialized applications and could fit in your shirt pocket because of its small size. While it sold millions of units in the year of its launch, it was never able to establish into a mobile phone empire, which is one of the biggest catastrophes in the tech world. Palm was later acquired by HP in 2010 and produce was stopped in 2011.
Now most of could not even imagine seeing a name like BlackBerry in this list. However, it is one of the ten worst technology innovation in recent times not because of the product, but because it could not keep up with the world. For years, BlackBerry was one of the most used smartphones, with its internet connectivity, BBM services, emailing and more features. In only 2011, BlackBerry sold more than 55 million handsets. However, its downfall was its inability to go with the flow. When it failed to adopt touch full screen like other android and apple phones and sticked with its traditional keyboard, it declined, only selling about 4 million phones in 2016.
Electric cars are one of the biggest trends in the world right now and rightfully so. They are an important step in shifting towards renewable energy and decreasing our carbon footprint. While most of us associate Elon Musk’s Tesla to electric cars, it was in fact General Motors, a Detroit company that first put electric cars on the road between 1996 and 1999. Only 2500 GM EV-1 card were made and instead of selling them directly to the customers, they were leased to them. However, ultimately it was decided by GM that the market was too niche and scrapped the entire program. As we all know now, there was always a market for electric vehicles, GM was just too early. They are now planning to re-enter the market with their Chevy Bolt.
Magic Leap’s AR Glasses
Augmented reality is another one of those trends that promised a lot but failed to deliver at the end. There was always something amiss, be it the product, its pricing or the market. The same scenario repeated with Magic Leap. Founded by Rony Abovitz, an Israeli entrepreneur, Magic Leap’s AR Glasses were hyped to be the next big thing in the tech world. The company promised to bring augmented reality to the masses with features that were only seen in sci-fi movies. Finally, when it launched in 2019, the reality was far from expected. These glasses were priced between $2000 and $3000, which made them too expensive for most customers. As a result, only 6000 pieces were sold, which was very disappointing for a company whose investors were JP Morgan and Google.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Everybody knows about the tragedy of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Its failure stunned everyone and for a good reason. The smartphone was well received by critics and customers after its launch in 2016. It was highly praised for its huge screen and advanced technologies. However, only a year after its launch, when the batteries of the phone started combusting spontaneously, the company had to recall it. Samsung suffered from an estimated loss of $17 billion.
Microsoft Windows 8
There is something wrong with the operating system of Microsoft. It seems that every other windows OS that the company comes up with is a failure. One of the biggest failures was Microsoft Windows 8. Despite having the largest market capitalization on the planet, they cannot seem to get it right with their operating systems. Windows 8 was launched in 2012 and was instantly hated by everyone as it removed the iconic start button. While the colorful, tile-driven interface worked well for tablets and laptops, it failed to convince the desktop users.
When e-cigarettes came in the market, they were marketed as an alternative for various tobacco products. It was also claimed that e-cigarettes will help people quit smoking. However, studies show that non-smoking teenagers who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking actual cigarettes in less than a year. This means that instead of helping in combating smoking, it is in fact promoting it, especially among adolescents. This is the main reason why it is banned in more than 27 countries like India, Singapore, Brazil and Australia.
In simple words, CRISPR technology is a tool for editing genes. Scientists can very easily modify genome function and alter DNA sequences. Practically, with the help of CRISPR technology, researches can correct genetic defects, treat and prevent the spread of viruses and diseases. Almost 2 years ago, a Chinese biophysicist He Jiankui used the CRISPR technology and modified human embryos, made them HIV resistant, which resulted in the birth of twin girls Lulu and Nana. There were many concerns regarding the technology and this specific application. It is not considered safe. There were many plenty of studies that said that CRISPR may cause cells in the body to lose their cancer fighting ability and cause more damage to the genes. That is why this technology is so high in the list of failed inventions till date.
Despite being one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Google has failed to have much success when it comes to social media, computing skills and other technological products like Google Glasses. In fact, they were one of the most hyped products of the decade and just like others, failed to deliver. Not many people were comfortable walking around a room with a camera on, touching their cranium. The high price of $1500 was also a factor of its failure. However, the biggest reason came out to be privacy. Anybody could make a video and record private information while someone was using the glasses, which lead to many theatres and restaurants banning them inside. All these were small issues that led to the downfall of this innovation.
Everyone has heard of a Segway. They were quite a rage after their launch in 2002. People liked the idea of having their own personal scooter that they could. While it was meant to revolutionize the transportation system, it just became a toy used for fun by teenagers. Another factor was the price of the product. Retailing from anywhere between $3000 to $7000, it failed to draw the masses. The company believed they would be one of the most inspiring success stories in the world. However, they only sold about 30000 units in roughly 6 years.