Unfortunately more often than not, over hyped technology fails to deliver on their promises. There might be no market for them, the design may have been flawed, or simply they were just too far ahead of their time.
Here are some of the worst examples of gadgets that just didn’t cut the mustard…….
We all have a list of household chores to do from washing up to hovering and dusting. In my opinion the worst of all household chores is ironing, I’d rather see a concert performed by Jedward than stand behind an ironing board for hours on end. Released in February 2004 the Dressman can iron t-shirts or shirts in seconds and straight from the washing machine.
Has the Siemans Dressman come to save me from my ironing hell? In short, No…and here’s why. The Dressman costs over £1000 and is limited to only ironing t-shirts or shirts. You still have to iron your pants the good old fashioned way, and I’m sure we could all spend £1000 a bit more wisely!
The CueCat was a cat-shaped barcode reading device that “claimed” to unlock the potential of the internet back in the late 1990’s. After plugging the CueCat into a USB port the user could open a link to any website by simply scanning a barcode. Sounds pretty good so far but unfortunately the CueCat device struck controversy because of the privacy concerns of over 140,000 CueCat users, when their personal information was made easily available online!
In 2005 a liquidator offered 2 million CueCat’s for $0.30, which are now being used in libraries or being sold off on eBay. Even though the CueCat received the dubious distinction as one of “The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time” from PC World Magazine, the technology is now being used in iPhone, Android and Blackberry smart phones.
TV Wrist Watch
Another big gadget failure to hit the market was the TV Wrist Watch. We Brits spend a staggering 4 hours a day glued to the box, yet surprisingly the TV Wrist Watch failed to take off. The average size of a TV in Britain is between 32-37inches, but squinting to watch our favourite TV programmes on a 1.5” screen didn’t really appeal to many people, which might explain why this didn’t take off.
These days, smartphones like the iPhone, satisfy most people’s mobile viewing….although if you’re interested in buying a TV Wrist Watch they are still readily available for around £130.
The Sinclair C5 was an electric powered vehicle that came out in the 1980’s. The Sinclair C5 boasted speeds of 15mph, had no gears, open to the elements and was considered a safety risk on busy roads (can you imagine being stuck behind one in rush hour traffic??). In the end only 12,000 units were sold at £399 each. Sir Clive Sinclair, the inventor, made a huge loss as he personally raised £12 million to finance the vehicle from various sources.
Not put off by past failure, Sir Clive is at it again, bringing out the X1 in July for just £595, I wonder if he has learnt from his previous mistakes, although only time will tell whether his new Gem will be condemed to history!
The Amstrad emailer was launched back in 2000 as a telephone that had limited internet access. Lord Sugar then CEO of Amstrad, actually thought the emailer would be the next big thing, but the public didn’t agree. The “pay as you use” system made checking email expensive at around 12p per email and advertising constantly appeared on the LCD screen, hardly comparable to web browsing on a PC. Despite over whelming evidence in 2001 that this emailer was not going to be a success, Lord Sugar planned for expansion…. Unfortunately the expansion didn’t last, as all models of the emailer have now been discontinued. Famous for his catchphrase “you’re fired” Lord Sugar should have fired this gadget off a long time ago, before making huge losses.
RITI the coffee printer
For those of you that enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning then this is the one for you. Apparently this printer can turn your old coffee grounds into a sustainable ink cartridge for your printer. Although the printer uses recycling as a selling angle, I have a hunch that this gadget is going to end up being recycled into something more useful, like a giant door stop or oversized paper weight!
The quality of the print isn’t up to a high standard, not to mention, all of the printouts will be a nice brown colour that smell of coffee. I can imagine changing the ink cartridges being a messy task too!
Recycling is the “in” thing at the moment, and most if not all printer manufacturers have their own recycling scheme. For example HP have their own scheme called Planet Partners, so does this printer offer anything different to the printer market? Or as Nescafe might say, is the RITI coffee printer “simply the best”?
So there you have it, the gadgets that just didn’t cut the mustard! Maybe you’ve come across other similar, wonderous devices that were cast into the depths of time? As history will always prove….I’m sure these won’t be the last!