New technology by definition helps humans achieve their goals without much sweat, cussing and/or poking wooden sticks to dying crops.
So, tech makes life easier, right? WRONG!
Some gadgets embody such genius within that we still don’t know their purpose in solving real-world problems, if there’s any to begin with.
This is a story of those gadgets.
The Amstrad E-mailer
Okay, got to admit, this one’s not too shabby if you find yourself to be an ATM who churns money right out of thin air. The E-M@iler started good (as all things do), and allowed users to check for e-mail through its clunky LCD that was strapped on a wired telephone machine.
So, where’s the wrong?
Basically, its business ‘pay as you use’ model was expensive beyond comprehension. Surfing Internet and checking e-mail was restricted to one spot in the house, and the darn thing used a premium-line number that sucked the juice out of all carbon based life-forms upon contact.
Also, the service was plain preposterous, and the hardware unnecessary bulky that reportedly lead Amstrad CEO at the time Bob Watkins to fire himself, as far as rumor goes.
This hybrid was put together in the labs of Xbernaut, and should’ve been a wearable PC of some sorts. Only problem was, when put on it looked like a hobo trying to salvage whatever he could for the upcoming Skynet apocalypse.
Back in 2002, this abomination was supposed to be a wearable $1500 PC that runs on the now largely forgotten Windows CE. Instead, it became a close approximation of what the Borg would’ve looked like if the collective filed for bankruptcy. Did we mention the lack of a monitor, keyboard and disk drive?
The hardware didn’t start so bad after all: it was 2007, right after the iPhone launch and we can stop there. However, the Pocketsurfer2 promised some decent stuff – its creators were hoping to solve several problems (back then, wireless wasn’t a thing and the mobile internet market wasn’t fully formed yet) by offering a contract-free plan with a single one-off payment.
The business model needed certain number of users in order for Internet connectivity to work free as promised and sadly enough – it didn’t happen.
On top of it, the device started falling apart while replacements to users were being made. So, it was a phone that couldn’t phone people, an Internet device that offered little of the full experience and an overall badly timed product.
It was sadly – utterly useless.
Sony Vaio Mouse Talk
A classic example of the could/should quandary, this gadget promised to solve two problems: mouse clicking and doing VoIP calls simultaneously.
Users were to use both features – if it weren’t for the slight inconvenience that it was physically impossible to ‘click’ on your desktop and make Internet calls in the same time with the same piece of hardware. Well, technically you could, by turning your ear into a mouse pad, or lean your head downwards and use the mouse by sounds alone.
Whatever this thing was, it sure isn’t anymore.
King of Key
This serves both as a mediocre joke with a bad punchline, and as the most pointless snake oil ever to hit shelves. It was a $100 ‘upgrade’ for Apple Powerbook G3’s home button – golden with a diamond in its middle – and promised to bring luck to whoever decided this was a good ‘gadget’ to be had.
Unfortunately, it turned out it wasn’t really golden and it wasn’t really holding diamonds. And the company behind it? MyGate went bankrupt two years later – apparently the luck effects turned out as real as the gold on the button itself.
Bonus: Electronic Bubble Wrap
And we can stop here.
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