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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The biggest technology flops in history

Apple Newton 
Bad products, good products that had bad luck and everything in between. Matthew Sparkes looks at the biggest technology flops of all time. First up is Apple's earliest foray into mobile computing.
Long before the iPhone or the iPad were on the scene, in the late 80s, Apple launched the Newton PDA. In total the project cost Apple $100m but this was never rewarded with strong sales. In the end the project was cut, to be revived in spirit - if not hardware or software - when the iPhone and iPad emerged many years later.


Sega's Dreamcast was released in Europe in 1999, ahead of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox that it was going head-to-head with. But the might of Sony's marketing machine meant that it never made much headway. Even several price cuts didn't help. It was eventually cancelled and Sega has never made another console to this day.


Prior to the launch of the Segway all that the public knew was the codename, Ginger, and that Steve Jobs thought it was "as big a deal as the PC". When a self- balancing, two-wheeled vehicle was released it was met with curious interest, until people realised how expensive they were. Regulatory issues proved to be another nail in the coffin. In the UK they're unlawful to use anywhere except private property: you can't take them on the pavements or the roads. Today they're used for sightseeing tours and little else.

Sinclair C5 

Long before the Segway came the Sinclair C5, designed as a revolutionary new vehicle for a congested island. However, it's low top speed, short range, lack of weather protection and low height which proved intimidating in traffic, meant that it was received rather poorly when it launched in 1985.

Apple Maps

Apple developed its own map service to rival Google Maps, and tightly bound it into iOS. If you click on an address on your iPhone it's now Apple Maps which opens up. But it was plagued with problems at launch. There were unmarked roads and buildings were incorrectly labelled. Tim Cook took the drastic step in 2012 of suggesting on the Apple website that customers use another product while the software was improved. The manager in charge of the project was eventually removed from his position by the company.

Windows Vista

 Vista was Microsoft's attempt to give Windows a total facelift. It wasn't received well. PC World rated it as the biggest disappointment of 2007. There were problems with privacy, performance and security. It was also criticised for being too expensive, costing around £100 in the UK

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