Blasted Into the Past – Technology That Failed to Take Off

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The Apple Watch was released last week to a mixed reception. Many hailed the watch as an innovative technological breakthrough that will set a trend which will see tech companies focus on creating smart watches for the foreseeable future. However, many have been critical of the move, claiming the watch offers little practical application beyond what the iPhone can already do. As discussed by watch merchants Chrono24, only time will tell how long the Apple Watch will last due to its apparent lack of useful offerings. As a result, we decided to look at some of the "high-tech” devices which fell somewhat short of obtaining a status of relevance as they scrambled to find a place in our hearts during the 21st century tech-boom.

Nokia N-Gage

A poor pun is never a good starting point for product, thus the Nokia N-Gage was thrown in at the deep end without a lifering. But its problems didn’t stop there, as the gaming/phone device was rendered useless as it looked a little silly as a phone (it was mockingly referred to as a ‘taco’ due to its bizarre shape), and it didn’t really work as a gaming device either. The buttons were phone buttons, which didn’t translate well as gaming buttons. Nokia’s biggest mistake was trying to incorporate a phone capability into a gaming machine - rather than the other way round. It cost considerably more than a Nintendo Game Boy (its competition) and only had a few titles available. It quickly went out of production, and eventually ended up here on our list.

Nintendo Virtual Boy

In 1995 Nintendo released what it claimed to be the world’s first portable gaming station, which would "immerse gamers in a world of their own” offering a "truly 3D experience”. Possibly the biggest eyesore to come out of Japan since Takeshi’s Castle, the system wasn’t particularly user friendly. It required the user to put on goggles, which needed to be pressed down….while both hands were on the controller. The system ate AA batteries at a rate Augustus Gloop would be impressed with, and was soon chucked into the redundant tech pile only a year after its release. Nevertheless, most of Nintendo’s older, classic games are given a new life and are converting to modern platforms.

Microsoft Mira

The Mira Wireless touchscreen was intended to be mounted on the walls of its wealthy users, (costing $999 apiece), as remote devices would link to their computers. It looked awful, and didn’t really offer much practical value, which didn’t stand it in particularly good stead. It was announced in early 2002 without attracting much excitement, then released in early 2002 attracting even less excitement before being discontinued in December 2003, having never made much of an impact.

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