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Tech Fails we all Thought Would Succeed | SignalWire

Tech Fails we all Thought Would Succeed

This year, Samsung is finally releasing the foldable phones we’ve all heard so much hype about…but will it be a success? Only time will tell. In the past we’ve seen a lot of new and crazy tech being hyped up…but only some were well received. Sometimes the tech simply doesn’t work and other times it’s just not worth the money. While we wait to see where on the scale the foldable phone falls, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the technology that we all thought would revolutionize the industry but ended up being left in the past.


  • Hoverboards were the “it” Christmas gift of 2015 that quickly went down in flames…literally. Who doesn’t love a good house fire during the holidays? While the glorified Segway-meets-toy was initially well received, this new mode of transportation was quickly stopped in its tracks when it was discovered that many of them would randomly burst into flames because the dinky batteries weren’t strong enough to power their engines. As an added bonus, they could catch flame at any time, even if they weren’t in use. This led to Hoverboards being banned on public streets, schools, airports and airplanes, college campuses and all other places that these toys are actually useful. It turns out, only the knock offs were bursting into flames but even the more reliable name brands continue to take the fall.

3D printing

  • While 3D printing is popular in the industrial setting, we were promised that it would revolutionize the average consumer’s life. It hasn’t. It was predicted that these machines would be in every person’s home and used to print household items, eliminating the need to go to the store. The 3D printer has two main issues: the average consumer doesn’t want to put in the effort to figure out how to work it, and it simply isn’t that useful. While hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and craftsmen could all use this tech, most people don’t have a practical need to 3D print anything. In 2019, it’s much faster to Amazon Prime what you need than to 3D print it.

You can read more about how far we’ve gone with 3D printing here

Galaxy Note 7

  • Hoverboards aren’t the only technology to catch heat…get it? The Galaxy Note 7 is a great example of tech that everyone was expecting to be a success and then suddenly wasn’t. Initially the smart phone was received very well, sporting wonderful reviews. That is until the battery defects struck. The Note 7 didn’t care where you were. The car? a plane? At work? It would catch fire without warning. Samsung quickly replaced the exploding phones for customers…but tragically the replacements caught fire as well which lead to all production of the phone being halted in October 2016. This fiasco cost the company $17 billion in sales and a ban from airplanes. Consumers were quick to forgive because the Note 8 went on to receive the most preorders in the product line’s history.


  • Oh Google+, you tried so hard to get people to like you. Don’t feel too bad about this tech fail because Google’s profits are upwards of $110.8 billion a year so they can handle a little bit of rejection. When Google launched their social media platform back in 2011, everyone assumed it would blow up because it was made by Google. They impressively reached 400 million users after one year…however these numbers were a false reflection of their success. The trick is that Google would force anyone who used one of their many many products to register a Google+ account, so their numbers were inflated. While the platform had 2.2 billion users by 2015, only 4-7 million were active on the network. While the social media platform did have some things going for it, like the introduction of friend circles, the platform just wasn’t as aesthetic or interesting as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The biggest fail of all is that they refused to accept their lack of success for as long as possible. FINALLY they have given up and will be shutting the entire platform down in April of 2019. My condolences to all two of the Google+ users reading this.


  • A lot of people love their smartwatches so this isn’t an epic fail, but it is a fail none the less because the popularity of wearable tech is not nearly as high as anticipated. Since their inauguration in 2014, smartwatches have struggled to find a solid place in the market. They’ve bopped around from marketing the product as necessary technology to branding it as a fashion accessory. Many brands have already tapped out as they watch their sales drop, while Apple, as usual, seems to be prevailing. The average consumer can’t justify the purchase because they don’t see a practical need for it, especially when the tech doesn’t do anything that a smartphone can’t already do. The next phase of the smartwatch is to make them objectively better, making them smaller and the batteries last longer, but if that doesn’t work they’ll probably be phased out and laid to rest next to Google+.

You can read more about the trends in smartwatches here.


  • If lying to investors, customers, and the WORLD isn’t a fail then I don’t know what is. Theranos promised to completely replace the uncomfortable process of a standard blood test with the simple prick of a finger. People immediately loved this idea because nobody enjoys being stabbed with a needle. Theranos’ Edison machine gained instant traction as it managed to raise over $400 million in funding. However it was soon discovered that only 15 out of 240 tests the company offered were conducted on the Edison Machine it was pitching, and to top it all off the lab results were not always accurate. After this discovery, two years worth of blood tests were voided and the company now faces both civil and federal investigations. Not only did founder Elizabeth Holmes fraud investors, she also put lives in danger with her faulty technology. To learn more about this story, check out the documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood” on HBO.

Google Glass

  • Google Glass was exciting for about five minutes because it matched the picture of the future we had 20 years ago. The sad truth is that it’s not as exciting as we thought it would be. The first preorders were taken in 2012 and the project was officially shut down in 2015, making this endeavor only 3 years old before it was abandoned. There are a few reasons why this project failed, so we’ll make a list.
    1. First of all, these glasses were $1,500. That’s a lot of money to risk on a brand new piece of technology that might not even work. This is especially unappealing when I think about how often I lose my regular glasses.
    2. Second of all, they look terrible. Google tried to remedy this by having models in Vogue magazine sport the tech…but it failed to sway the opinion of the public. They’re especially unattractive when you find out that the glasses make you go crosseyed when you look at the screen.
    3. The tech requires you to say “ok Google” to the air while you’re walking around in public…and most people did not love that idea.
    4. Safety concerns arose about having the tech so close the the head.
    5. Privacy concerns were raised with the camera either being hacked or discreetly used to take pictures and videos of people without permission.
    6. People were confused whether or not the product was officially released or still in beta mode because the marketing was confusing.
    7. There was not any demand for this product. The two main functions of Google Glass were to take pictures easily and to have a constant newsfeed of information and alerts in front of your face at all times. Consumers don’t need either of these things. And while we love having information available to us at all times, we can just use our smart phones, we don’t literally need it in front of our face all day long.