With the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch garnering poor reviews despite the promise and hype around wearable tech, it served as a reminder that sometimes technology apparently ready to set the world on fire ends up flopping. The reasons for this market failure could be do to poor timing or just too much hype. Let’s take a look at some technologies that never really lived up to their promise.
The Galaxy Gear Hampered by Poor Reviews
The smartwatch and other wearable tech continues to generate a lot of buzz, with Google Glass and the rumored Apple iWatch making early adopters ripe with anticipation. Samsung beat everyone to the punch with the release of their Galaxy Gear smartwatch, and the initial reviews varied from poor to middling. Is this an indictment of the entire technology? Will Apple delay or even cancel releasing an iWatch?
One of the biggest issues with the Android-powered Galaxy Gear is that it only tethers with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. One would think that the company would have made more of an effort to make it compatible with their full line of Android devices, or at least more than one model. The reviewer for Wired actually got tired of wearing the device on his wrist the entire day.
That latter point really calls into question whether smartwatches will ever become a relevant part of mobile tech.
3D Television Never Really Took Off
Soon after HD television became commonplace in both homes and from content providers, 3D television appeared to be the next piece of home theater tech poised to dominate the market. Despite an increasing number of 3D capable television sets in homes, a lack of a dominant 3D standard and waning public interest in 3D video content appears to be killing the technology before it really got started.
The ESPN 3D network was shut down this past September because of a lack of public interest, and the BBC also suspended its 3D broadcasts in the summer due to a similar lack of viewership. Ultra HD looks to be taking 3D’s place as the next generation of video tech.
Sega Dreamcast Ruins Prospects for the Parent Company
Back when the video game industry was dominated by Nintendo, with the upstart Sony PlayStation making inroads into the market, Sega hoped to recapture the thunder of the Genesis with the first sixth generation video game system, the Dreamcast. The company’s previous platform, the Saturn, was widely considered a failure and allowed Sony to successfully move in on their turf with the PS One.
Despite positive reviews and a robust niche audience, the Dreamcast never become popular with the general gaming public, leading to Sega losing hundreds of millions of dollars in 1999 and 2000. Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s entry into the market with the Xbox sealed the Dreamcast’s fate and ended Sega’s existence as a video game hardware manufacturer. The company now only releases gaming software.
Pre-release technology hype rarely means a product will ultimately become successful. Timing, the fickle consumer market, and usability all are part of the final equation.