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10 Famous Tech Flameouts

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 07-19-2010 Print
Will Apple's iPhone 4 antenna dilemma's give it a spot in the pantheon of spectacularly flawed products? The device continues to sell briskly even with an antenna that causes it to lose signal when gripped in a certain way. Solutions have ranged from rubber bumpers to duct tape, all of which belie the device's design elegance. Yet, the sales pace of the iPhone 4 to the fanaticism of Apple's devoted customer base.
Anyone still thinking about picking up an iPhone 4 must be choosing to ignore the fact that it is already the subject of a class action suit, and that it could face a recall, and that the device recently got the thumbs down from Consumer Reports because of its antenna and reception issues. In honor of the troubled iPhone 4, our colleagues at Baseline created a list of 10 other famously doomed technology products. Some of these were deeply flawed, some were plain unlucky in terms of timing or competition, and many continue to have inexplicably devoted followers.

The contenders are listed by the dates they were introduced - starting with 1975's Sony Betamax video recorder. It's worth noting that some three decades later, the beloved TiVo digital video recorder came perilously close to the same fate as the Betamax, nearly undone by the cable industry's development of other similar devices. Here are a few others we would add to this rogue's gallery: Digital Audio Tape (b. 1987); Sony MiniDisc (b. 1992); and HD-DVD (b. 2002). We should point out that Apple appears twice on Baseline's list of !0 Famous Tech Flameouts, but Steve Jobs can take solace in Microsoft's three entries.

To view the full Baseline slideshow, click here: http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Business-Intelligence/iPhone-4-and-Famous-Tech-Flameouts-496769/?kc=BLBLBEMNL07192010STR1


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