The decade's 30 biggest tech flops
After nearly 10 years of working at CNET, Executive Editor David Carnoy looks back at the most hyped tech products that didn't pan out as planned--or just flat out bombed.
Update: After reader feedback, we've added five additional products. Thanks for all the comments.
Here we are just days away from closing out the first decade of the 21st century, which means a lot of publications are in look-back mode, taking stock of all the good--and bad--things that happened over the last 10 years.
Before we get to the list, let's get the parameters straight. This isn't a list of all the most spectacular tech failures. I chose to exclude dot-coms, corporate debacles (AOL-Time Warner), search engines (i.e., Cuil), and assorted other Web 2.0 flame outs (I'll let Webware handle that). No, this is a roundup of gear, the stuff that turns on and off, the stuff I've been covering for almost 10 years at CNET (yes, I started in 2000).
It's also important to define just what a flop is. In my book it's simply something that was really hyped but didn't live up to its promise or expectations. And while the word "flop" has a negative connotation, we here at CNET have a lot admiration for the designers, engineers, and everybody else who put their heart and soul into bringing these products and technologies to the world. Some of them didn't deserve their fates. They were ahead of their time or just marketed poorly. Whatever the case, we appreciate the vision, risk taking, and hard work that went into creating these things.
But enough sentimentality (I meant it, really). Let's get to the biggest tech flops of the decade. If you disagree with any of them or have more to suggest, please post a comment. If we missed any clear candidates, we'll modify the list.
Click on any image to start the slideshow. (Note: The list is in chronological order).