These products had promise and shine, but ultimately, they made us sad. These were the 10 biggest letdowns of the year.
The DudsCNET 100: The disappointments
These products had promise and shine, but ultimately, they just bummed us out. These were the 10 biggest letdowns of the year.
Sure, 3D TVs are selling OK because the feature is built into so many TVs. But here's the thing: not a whole lot of people are actually watching 3D in their homes.
For starters, there continues to be a dearth of 3D content. And then the experience itself leaves something to be desired. New passive 3D displays cut resolution in half and competing active displays still have picture glitches. And oh, the whole glasses thing and poor off-axis viewing aren't helping things either.
The DudsAh, the Veer, HP's tiniest WebOS phone. So cute and puny, it proved that sometimes smaller can be too small. And light as it was, its low adoption rate was a serious drag on the WebOS platform.
The Duds"It took Google an entire year to deliver a major update to the first round of Google TV products, and it has not been worth the wait."
That's how CNET writer Matthew Moskovciak's review of Google TV 2.0 started. It ended with: "With all the bugs and limitations we ran into in just half a day, it's hard to imagine this update being anything other than a disappointment for Google TV early adopters. While we still think Google TV has some merit as a concept, the implementation needs a ton of work to compare with other streaming-media boxes like the Roku 2 XS, Apple TV, and PlayStation 3."
Somewhere in between there were some positives about an improved, snazzier interface and the addition of the Android Market and apps. But the bottom line was Google TV, even wrapped in all its new Honeycomb goodness, wasn't ready for prime time. Bummer.
The DudsHere's the pitch: a sub-$500 notebook computer that's attractively styled and powers on when opened, giving users immediate access to the Web and Google's cloud services. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it wasn't.
The DudsThe tablet market exploded this year. Unfortunately, most of the products that tried to compete with the iPad fell flat. The PlayBook had no game and no one wanted to touch the TouchPad--at least until HP practically started giving it away at $99 (16GB) and $149 (32GB).
The DudsLet's make this clear: the 1 J1, Nikon's much-anticipated mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC), isn't bad. Not at all. But it committed the mortal sin of not living up to the hype--or just not doing anything better than the competition. That hurts.
The DudsWhen Steve Jobs introduced Apple's iTunes Match back in June it sounded really good. For $24.99, you'd be able to store all your music up in the cloud (even stuff you didn't purchase from Apple) and have access to it from any of your Apple devices.
Well, theory and practice haven't quite matched up yet (excuse the pun) as iTunes Match has proved more arduous to set up than most people thought (the scan and match process is very slow). And we keep running into people who say they're just not using it after signing up. Another problem: those with extra-large music libraries need not apply (the limit is 25,000 songs).
The DudsSteve Jobs touted iCloud as something that "just works." He was right. What he didn't mention is the fact that users have little control over it and end up quickly racking up the gigabytes and paying more for the cloud than they probably should.
To put it bluntly: iCloud, while a potentially great feature, is downright confusing to the average person. "Confusing" isn't a word you normally associate with Apple. Thus, the disappointment.
The DudsYou may remember the iPhone 4S from our 2011 winners lists. So this must be a mistake, right?
Actually, no. As great as the iPhone 4S is, it still feels like 2010's iPhone 4 with a slight makeover--a faster processor, a better camera, a 64GB option, and a voice-recognition hussy named Siri who's sometimes useful but easily ignored.
Think back to all the hype. Where's the larger screen? The 4G LTE wireless? The radical teardrop design? In short, where's the iPhone 5?
So, yeah--great phone. But we can't lie: we expected more. Maybe next year.