Top 10 Technology Flops of 2010

By Susan J. Campbell December 29, 2010

It’s been a great year for technology innovations. Social networking has reached beyond the consumer sect into the business world, and the iPad changed the PC industry forever. Apple and Google continue to battle it out in the market and the courtroom, and Facebook wants to revolutionize messaging.

While it seems that giants like Microsoft, Apple and even Google have the golden touch, they have not been without their flops. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the worst for 2010, according to CNN estimations, and a few of our own.

Google Wave

While we all love anything Google, we did not love the Google Wave. This technology platform technically debuted in 2009, yet its messaging and collaboration tool (the main juice) didn’t go public until May of 2010. This lapse resulted in a “too little, too late” scenario as the excitement had already subsided and consumers didn’t know what to do with Wave. The project was killed by Google three short months later.

Nexus One

Another Google endeavor, the Nexus One fell very short of living up to its Android expectations. The open platform operating system truly soared in 2010, but the Google phone designed specifically to run Android flopped in the market. There are some who argue that it was Google’s “online only” distribution plan that doomed the phone as users reported that they liked it.

Hacking on Gawker Media Sites

There is nothing that speaks failure louder than successful hackers. In early December, Gawker Media sites were breached, and access to user names and passwords for roughly 1.3 million users to sites such as Gizmodo, Jezebel, Kotaku and Lifehacker were compromised.

iPhone Antenna Issues

Lovingly referred to as “Antennagate,” the connection issues users experienced with the iPhone 4 gained much attention throughout the market. Apple’s hugely successful launch of the iPhone 4 was hampered by the “Grip of Death.” Users covered part of the antenna in a band around the phone’s edge and caused connection problems. Apple at first denied the problem, then claimed it was a software issue. The company then admitted – in an off-handed sort of way – that the problem may exist and offered free cases. The issue ended when Apple decided it was no longer a problem and stopped offering any resolution.

3D TV

Nothing says fun like sitting in front of your television with uncomfortable glasses on to catch the latest in 3D action. While 3D TV was all the buzz at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the sets did very little in the market over 2010. Part of the problem could be the $4,000 price tag in a market with very little 3D channels to support the technology. This could possible change in the next few years, and if prices on the sets come down, we could see more adoption.

Facebook Privacy

Facebook and privacy have not always gone hand-in-hand in 2010. The company experienced more than its fair share of privacy bugs that created a few enemies in the process. Private chat conversations were made visible to Facebook friends, user preferences and names were shared with third-parties, and Facebook launched the “Open Graph.” These activities were enough to inspire the “Quit Facebook Day,” although most members stayed put. The reaction was enough to spark a change at Facebook and better privacy rules emerged.

Microsoft Kin

If you haven’t heard of the Kin, you are not alone. Microsoft launched the Kin One and Kin Two, which were both designed to be a fun, social smartphone just for kids. The premise was impressive, but the result was a light version of the iPhone with a data plan that was too pricey for target users.

Google Buzz

Is there still hope for Google Buzz? This platform was designed to be Google’s entry into the social networking realm as the Internet and search giant couldn’t stand to be outpaced by Facebook. Google got off on the wrong foot with its lazy approach to privacy and the fix seemed just an afterthought. Google is likely to push Google Me instead and Google Buzz may have to just rest in peace.

Content Farms

The Web serves as a great place to find the information you need for any purpose, but you want to find value-driven information, not profit-driven information. Click-bait junk has been a key focus in 2010, and reputable sites are competing with other sites simply cranking out content for the sake of link-clicking. Demand Media is one such content farm and, according to the Wall Street Journal, has yet to make a profit.

Apple iTune’s Ping

Apple really wants to shine in the social networking space, but has so far failed in its attempts to make a dent. Ping is the company’s answer to social networking – in a music sort of way. The problem is the platform is lacking; it won’t interface with Facebook and it seems to function only to push you to purchase more music. Until it actually delivers a value to the user, it isn’t likely to catch on, and so far – it hasn’t.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TechZone360 and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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