2014 has been a year filled with fantastic technological leaps. From intelligent mini-game controllers for smartphones, to intelligent music players that create a personalized mix of songs based on your mood, the last year had it all, and we only expect that 2015 will be at least as good as the previous year. However, 2014 wasn’t all peaches-and-cream when it comes to technology and gadgets. Some products, rightfully considered flops, where downright ludicrous, and the most infamous of them were the main cause that lead to their manufacturer’s financial bankruptcy.
Some would say that it is not right to revel in the misfortunes of others or to snicker at someone’s silliness, but it is something that must be done. Here is a recap of some of the most pointless and disappointing gadgets of 2014:
- Samsung Gear S
The South Korean technology giant has impressed us over the years with amazing products, from cutting edge TVs and mobile phones, to excellent audio systems and small gadgets. But as all empires have their ups and downs, so does Samsung, at least with the Gear S. As everyone knows, 2014 was the year of smart watches and every manufacturer wanted to awe the public with their latest creations. While almost every manufacturer somehow managed to impress the public and the competition, the Samsung Gear S never attracted anyone’s attention.
Although the Samsung Gear devices were well received by the market, the Gear S is not one of them. Gear S wanted to be an ultra smart watch that could also be used as a full-fledged smartphone, and almost no one wants that, at least from a watch. It only ended up being an oversized watch, or a shrunken Galaxy S5 that you had to wear on your wrist. The chunky gadget also looks too heavy on the wrist, it is difficult to use, and you cannot install apps or get notifications easily. To put it simply, Samsung Gear S wanted to grow too much, and it just doesn’t work that way.
- ZTE Sprint LivePro
Complex devices and gadgets that can do anything you want are always popular. However, when it comes to these multifunction products, there is a fine line between a quality product that combines two or three related tasks and a senseless array of unconnected features. The first type of multifunction products includes printers and faxes, while the latter category includes weird gadgets, like the ZTE Sprint LivePro, an uninspired blend of a mobile hotspot, media player and projector, all jammed together in a small box.
Advertised as an ideal product for the traveling journalist or freelancer, the ZTE Sprint LivePro failed to impress even the most tech-savvy users. A maximum native resolution of just 854 x 480 meant that watching a movie was simply out of the question, especially when taking into account the 90 minutes battery life. Also, the noisy cooling fan could drown any sound effect, except maybe the Looney Tunes. The steep price of more than $300 never helped either, making many customers overlook it in exchange for better devices.
- Microsoft Band
Sports gadgets have a loyal customer base, and many manufacturers want to take a piece of this profitable pie. As a consequence, in 2014 the market was flooded with wristbands and fitness trackers that could please any sports enthusiast. In this highly competitive market, Microsoft Band was meant to be a fresh gadget that could mix the fitness tracking software with additional gimmicks, such as ultraviolet lights, GPS, and notifications. All these worked great, but came at a cost: customers complained that the Microsoft Band was simply too uncomfortable to wear. The sturdy, inflexible loop made joggers and athletes feel like being under house arrest for hours on end.
The writer, Flaviu Mircea, is an avid tech blogger who takes time every year to highlight the best (and worst) of the preceding year. However, he makes his evaluation based on practicality, and recognizes sometimes maligned technology is actually very useful. An example is faxing and its high-tech successor online faxing, and those needing a good online fax service are advised to compare services online at FindAFax.com. You can learn more about Flaviu on Google+.