3 of the Biggest Gadget Fails of All Time

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If you’re like me, then you don’t just like cool gadgets in your life: you love them. Yes, you can imagine living without certain staples — like maybe a TV or a coffee machine. But woe to anyone or anything that dares to deprive you of your beloved gadgets. Woe I say! However…

It’s also true that not all gadgets are worth loving. In fact, some were deserving of disdain and derision. Why “were” instead of “are”? Because these gadgets were so notoriously bad, that they took a pretty straight line from launch to failure (without passing GO and collecting $200).

And so, settle back, kick off your shoes, loosen your collar (and any other piece of your wardrobe that you wish), if you have a digital sign from the Landmark Sign Company change it to “closed for emergency repairs” so you won’t bothered by customers, and let’s take a stroll down bad memory lane as we glance — or make that wince — at the 3 of the biggest gadget failures of all time:

  1. The Segwey

The biggest problem with the Segwey wasn’t its insane price position ($5,000), or even the fact that injury and accidents were a matter of if rather than when. Some gadget lovers have plenty of cash, and danger is hardly a deterrent. No, what doomed the Segwey was that it was impossible — utterly, completely, wholly impossible — to ride one without looking like a “futuristic dork” who escaped from an EPCOT Center pavilion.

  1. Hoverboards

Remember what I just said about gadget lovers not being afraid of danger? Well, there’s a difference between fearless and reckless — and hoverboards, despite being the gadget that we all dreamed about when we were kids trudging our way to school — were (and still are) unsafe at any speed. Just ask an emergency room doctor, or a personal injury lawyer.

  1. Zune

If your only awareness of Microsoft’s ill-fated “iPod killer” Zune is the mockery it received on the Simpsons about five years ago, then consider yourself fortunate: because those of us who lived through Zune are still shaking our heads. Not because the gadget itself was horrific; because it wasn’t; at least not by circa 2006 standards. Rather, it’s because someone — somehow — in the hallowed halls of the stately Microsoft campus decided that you could only play tracks three times within 72 hours after downloading them. And if you wanted to enjoy the Zune-to-Zune sharing feature, both users had to be near each other.

The Final Word

While the so-called free market isn’t all free nor entirely a market, we must admit that it does tend to do a pretty good job of making sure that good gadgets stay on the landscape, and bad gadgets head quickly for the exits so they can be retired or re-tooled (the Segway is still around, and Inspector Gadget-like engineers are busy trying to figure out how to keep hoverboards from turning into fireboards). As the old saying goes, the customer is never wrong — and gadget makers ignore our collective power at their peril!