My 10 year old Sony Memory stick died in my camera last year. So I went out to find another Sony Memory stick (remember they were the size of a stick of gum?). Nada! Luckily eBay had some micro SD adapters.
I haven't heard of CueCat but it appears to be just an extra object that I would find a hassle also. Now smartphones put all these packages into one including barcode scanning.
I wouldn't mind a Segway for entertainment with my $100 battery-powered scooter but it was too expensive.
EVs: The simplicity of an EV will always be there. Once the battery barrier is broken, EVs will roar because of extremely low maintenance costs including a simple single speed engine that has near full torque from 0-10Krppm. An example of more technology barriers was the flat screen TV advertised in the 70's that I was waiting for; or the video phone call in the 60's.
@jonnk, the "not living up to the hype" thing is just that, & the article's well-named. For example, look at the Segway. BEFORE it was introduced, there was this buzz that something was soon to be announced that was supposed to "revolutionize transportation," implying that this would rapidly make our cars and truck obsolete. It would have changed our entire society and refitted our cities and encouraged people to live differently -- aaaand we got a scooter. Yeah, not quite living up to the hype. Sure, we see them in places, but it hardly changed everybody's lives. Speech recognition, same story: "our computers can understand us, we won't need keyboards and displays and they can be wearable and ...." on and on. Aaaand we got robocalls and automated helplessdesks. Most of this stuff died a deserved death, some of it is still around, but none of it changed the world as promised.
Okay, I'll confess to buying a Zune. At the time I just didn't want to go Apple. Those Apple fanboys with the blank look in their eyes and the open wallets, frankly, scared me.
Zune had one major failing: You could not access the device as an external drive. You were forced to use the Zune software. Even today, nobody has come up with a clean way to do that. Zune software was one of those applications that needed to 'organize' your whole collection. In those days, everything wanted to organize your media, we didn't need one more.
I got the Zune for the larger screen and the ability to play videos. Since, it has been replaced (for that use) by an Amazon Kindle.
Great point garysxt, the death of the 8 bit micro has been predicted over and over again, but I still have customers using millions of 8051 cores. Not too long ago I was working on a video board and I couldn't decide what micro to use for fetching images and passing them around, so I ran a benchmark with a superfast 8051 core against a comparable Arm.
The 8051 was faster in that application and cheaper too.
Do not forget the Kodak disc camera. I think that was supposed to be a great innovation that flopped. Can you even find film for these anymore? And to think Kodak could of cornered the market on the digital camera and passed.
Missing from the list was WORM (Write Once Read Many) one of the early optical drives. Niche markets (health care) used it for medical records in the 1970's, since one of the features was the fact that information didn't degrade. Lack of a standard also derailed the technology.
I wouldn't call these inventions. They are products or product concepts incorporating a variety of "inventions" or "innovations". You may view some of them as not living up to hype, but in reality some are predecessors to products that did go on to great sucess. Looks like the Microsoft Table PC is an early version of the IPad, for example.
There are others, I would argue are in-fact successful today. It all depends on what you were expecting. There is definitely a market segment of people who get their groceries delivered by a "Webvan" type service. Its not large, but there is definitely a niche including disabled and elderly where the value is greater than the cost. Speech recognition technology is present in many telephone answering schemes where you can either press a number or say a word. It also appears to be making some headway into automobiles for hands free operation.
There also needs to be a sense of history. Electric cars are a work in progress. It is in the category of a major step that takes decades to evolve. Technological and market barriers need to be, and may well be eventually overcome. The Segway is another example of that.
You may go to "As Seen on TV" for better examples of inventions that don't live up to the hype.
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