Vapourware: The tech that never was

Join us on our adventure through failed technology, stopping at alternatives to the World Wide Web, digital information that's stored on ordinary paper, early DRM and some gaming non-classics

Vapourware may sound like a technical term to describe the gradual corrosion of a kettle, but today we're using it to describe a product announced by a company with great fanfare, hoohah and occasionally hullaballoo -- but that never materialises.

Continual delays, setbacks and excuses are the calling cards of a product that becomes vapourware. Windows Vista ran the risk of joining the club, and the terrific multiplayer first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 was in production for almost a decade before it was released in 2007. Devoted TF fans feared it would become a distinguished entrant in the who's who of vapourware. You might say Google Mail is in the running, having been in beta since 2004.

But vapourware can be anything from technical concepts to physical objects, and we've picked what we think are the defining, most iconic moments in the history of products that fail to become anything more than financial black holes. Welcome to Vapourware are you now? 2008. -Nate Lanxon

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