The world’s worst gadget fails

Amazon Echo, the iPhone, our PS4 – there are some gadgets many of us simply can’t live without. But for every gadget that becomes a bestseller, there are those that missed the mark entirely. In this blog post we take a look at some of the world’s worst gadget fails. Perhaps you were (un)lucky enough to own any of these?

Gadgets we’d rather forget

Chances are you remember many of these gadget fails – while others most of us would probably rather forget. Where did it all go so wrong?

  • Sinclair C5
    Designed by Sir Clive Sinclair and released in 1985, the Sinclair C5 is deserving of top place on our list of the world’s worst gadget fails. This battery-powered trike, which could be driven on the roads by anybody aged 14 and up (no license, insurance or tax needed) was released in January 1985 and out of production by August the same year. Little wonder really, with its lack of weatherproofing, top speed of just 15mph and inability to handle any terrain that wasn’t entirely flat!
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy
    Virtual reality gaming isn’t a new invention. Before the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Nintendo released its Virtual Boy – the first home VR device for gaming. By far the ugliest contender for the VR crown, the Virtual Boy was hampered by a number of flaws on its release in 1995. Firstly, it wasn’t portable, meaning it had to sit on a tabletop or the floor while gamers wrestled with the awkward headset. At a cost of $179, and with a clunky headset renowned for giving gamers eye strain and headaches, it’s easy to see why Nintendo pulled the plug after selling just 770,000 of these 32-bit consoles. 
  • Bandai Pippin Atmark
    Here’s one you might not remember: Apple’s games console. Based on the Apple Mac platform and licensed by Bandai, there was every reason for the Bandai Pippin to be a success on its release in 1996. Billed as a games console that could also browse the web or be used for educational purposes, the eye-watering $599 price tag may have had a lot to do with its failure. Only 100,000 of them were ever sold.
  • NCR’s Microwave Bank
    Is it a microwave? Or is it online banking? Surprisingly, this microwave which allowed you to surf the net, pay bills and send emails while cooking your dinner was named ‘Technology Innovation of the Year’ in 1998. It seems hard to believe now, but at the time, a device incorporating a touch screen and voice recognition meant top-of-the-range tech. Not to mention it made a pretty good microwave meal too!
  • Google Glass
    It might seem unfair to pop Google Glass on our list of gadget fails, but it definitely qualifies! On its release in 2013-2014, Google Glass was certainly innovative for its time – a pair of glasses with a tiny screen that let you connect to the web, use navigation, check the weather and even discreetly take photos. But privacy concerns quickly led to the device coining the term ‘Glasshole’ and Google Glass was consigned to history before it even went on sale to the public. With a price tag of $1,500 a pair and abysmal battery life, perhaps that’s a good thing!
  • Sony WF-SP700N Wireless Earbuds
    While the 90s undoubtedly spawned some of the most memorable gadget flops of all time, 2018 wasn’t immune either! The release of Sony’s WF-SP700N sports earbuds left wearers expecting comfort and decent battery life disappointed. Sony failed on both these fronts with their uncomfortable, oblong-shaped wireless earbuds that were hard to fit and boasted a mere three hours of battery life – barely enough time to listen to your favourite podcasts on your commute to and from work.

Learning from gadget fails

While there are some failed gadgets we genuinely hope never resurface, we can learn a lot about software and hardware integration from the gadget fails of the past. But if you’re unsure where to start when it comes to software for your business, gadget or app, don’t hesitate to seek expert help.