Tech Flops (Part 1)

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While it’s important to grow and look towards the future, it’s sometimes helpful to take a step back and review the past, so that mistakes can be avoided. This is a brief summary of the top product and idea flops in regards to technology, and why they didn’t make the cut.


QR Codes

What went wrong?
QR Codes were a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, used for storing URLs or other information. They enabled anyone who owned a smartphone with a camera to take a photo and be directed to the QR code’s stored URL.
Some QR codes wound up in spots without WiFi or network, like planes or metro stations, which rendered the code completely useless since QR codes required a connection to link you to the destination. On the business end, manufacturers felt it was unnecessary to use QR codes since many apps already existed that enabled the consumer to scan UPC codes for more information about their product. While the QR codes were a failure, they still linger around today in dark alley ways and urban cities, linking to dead links and unsupported web pages. Who knows, maybe one or two will stick around and someone in 100 years will be just as confused as we are today about them. 


netbook is a lightweight low-power portable computer that has less processing power than a laptop but is suitable for creating documents, running a Web browser and connecting to WiFi.
What went wrong?
While netbooks were cost effective for both the manufactures and the consumers, the cheap part was quickly eliminated with early models running Linux being quickly replaced by more advanced netbooks that ran Windows. This ultimately increased the cost to the manufacturers. This change was caused by Apple putting a portable computer out into the market, what we know today as tablets. The craze for tablets escalated to today, and since they couldn’t compare in price, convenience, or power, netbooks were left in the dust.


The Zune was a portable digital media player made by Microsoft to compete against the ever popular iPod line from Apple. The first version that was released in 2006 was thicker than the ipod classics, and was comparable to a deck of cards.
What went wrong?
Do some searching about Zune online, and you’ll see that they still have a few diehard fans. Unfortunately, Zune was made to be a music player, that’s all. At the same time, iPod was dominating the muse player market, and changes were being implemented to make the players support video, and games. Zune released a video capable music player, but it was too late as consumers were already switching to the all-in-one electronics, smartphones.

The 2nd part is here.

photo credit: via photopin cc