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7 Hyped Tech Products that Quickly Became Obsolete

Jun. 10 4:26 PM by Aaron_Koehn

Woe be the gadget-loving early adopter. Sure, you get to show off your cool new products to everyone, but is it worth spending much more to get a product when showier successors hit stores shortly afterward? The following seven products fell out of favor fast, either due to marketplace failure or a quickly-issued upgrade from its manufacturer.

7- Sony Sixaxis

Just before the release of Sony's heralded PlayStation 3, the company surprisingly announced it would be packaging a groundbreaking and distinctive controller with the system. This distinctive device turned out to be a motion sensing controller, which was hardly groundbreaking since Nintendo had already announced a similar device 8 months earlier, and which seemed somewhat desperate considering its sudden unveiling the day after Nintendo revealed its much more advanced Wii Remote. Presumably, Sony expected praise and handshakes after this groundbreaking controller was revealed, but what they got instead was a lot of negative gossip mixed with a dash of disappointment. "Why can't these "incredible" new controllers rumble like the old ones could? And why is the motion-sensing so piss-poor?" gamers initially grumbled. Eventually these grumbles became outcries and gaming enthusiasts the world over demanded a return of the rumble. Eventually Sony caved and the Sixaxis was replaced with a new controller that possessed the old fan-favorite feature which holds a special place in all of our hearts and pants: the rumble.

6 - Nintendo Game Boy Advance (original model)

It wasn't just awe and praise for the Game Boy Advance after its 2001 release. Some gamers complained of dark, hard-to-see screens and uncomfortable hand positioning. This prompted Nintendo to initiate the cogs of its video game-producing factory and create a similarly powerful system that now had a backlit screen and a smaller body. To some of the gamers who had bought the previous and now-inferior system, it felt like their beloved Mario had just walked up and thrown sewage in their face. Yet, to those gamers who hadn't gotten their paws on this technological marvel yet, they could now game on the go without having to squint their eyes or position themselves under strong light sources. A few years later Nintendo did it again when they released another Gameboy system entitled Game Boy Micro. However, Mario was unable to deliver any blows this time due to the majority of the Game Boy fan base having already moved on to the superior Nintendo DS.

5 - DIVX Players

The year was 1998 and a still-young DVD format was struggling to get a footing in the market. Apparently to some this seemed like the perfect time to introduce a confusing and inconvenient DVD rental service called DIVX. The DIVX was a special DVD player that cost more than a regular DVD player, but this higher price was justified by its ability to play disposable DVDs that could only be rented at Circuit City stores. These throwaway DVDs could then be repeatedly viewed for a 42-hour period before becoming unwatchable and literally trash. If you wished to view the DVD after that 42-hour window had closed, you had to pay another fee, which would allow further screenings, either permanently or for another rental period. Not surprisingly, this rental format did not catch on, and not surprisingly Circuit City ended up losing about $114 million on it. Consequently, the DIVX players ended up being just as disposable as the discs they played. The format used on the discs, however, still lives on to this day, allowing unlimited views of illegally-downloaded movies and TV shows. What a weird twist of fate, eh?

4 - HD-DVD

Like the now infamous Betamax/VHS battle of the late 70s, the HD-DVD recently fought it out with Blu-rRay in an attempt to be crowned the High Definition video king. Like Betamax, HD-DVD got trounced, albeit in a quicker fashion. After beating the Blu-ray to the market by about 3 months, the HD-DVD saw its sales slowly climb; however, its initially high price tag (around $950) quelled people's limited interest. Things seemed to pick up, though, when Microsoft decided to produce an HD-DVD add on for the Xbox360, causing many unfortunate gamers to embrace the upstart video format. Unfortunately, sales never reached the level many companies had hoped for and those same nearsighted gamers were left shaking their fists at the venerated Bill Gates when the format was discontinued in February of 2008. Blu-ray's victory celebration could not have been very lavish, however, since its sales have remained paltry and the public has remained apathetic.

3 - Apple EDGE iPhone

Remember on June 29, 2007, when the world was changed with Apple's release of the iPhone? And then remember a little under a year later when Apple announced that they would be releasing another, better, cheaper, iPhone and much of then world then laughed at the saps who purchased those "revolutionary" telephones? The new iPhone, called the iPhone 3G, will cost about a third of what the original device cost, only now it will work about twice as fast as the original, with better internet capabilities and internal GPS. This has caused many of the planet's techies to grow angry with balding men who wear black faux turtlenecks with blue jeans and who announce new, better, technology on a seemingly daily basis.

2 - Sega 32X

Those old, grizzled video gamers may recall a time when Sega seemed to release a new video game system almost every year. And for some time it seemed that the only way you could utilize the majority of these systems' mediocre power was by stacking and attaching them to your preexisting Sega systems. This Frankenstein-esque gaming machine consisted of the basic Sega Genesis, the Sega CD-Rom, and the Sega 32X. However, the massive console compilation was somewhat rare to behold and it was usually only witnessed by children whose parents had deep pockets. Alas, of those 3 systems, the 32X was the least successful and shortest lived, boasting only slightly improved graphics and a paltry lineup of compatible games. Also, Sega released its Saturn system shortly after the 32X, which many heralded as the true next-gen gaming machine, essentially ending what few, if any, called the 32X's dominance.

1 - Microsoft Windows ME

What do you get when you take Windows 98, make it crappier and more unreliable, and then raise the price? You get Windows ME, the inane PC operating system that was the intended successor to that ole workhorse called Windows 98. From the get go, the ME was the subject of criticism, with users complaining that it frequently froze and crashed, and as a result it gained the slighting and questionably clever moniker, "Windows Mistake Edition." Its tenure as the PC's operating system was also pretty short lived because a little over a year after its release, Microsoft put out the more popular Windows XP, and kicked the ME to the curb. In ME's defense, it did introduce the now-standard system restore function, yet naysayers will probably point out that it often would restore viruses and ended up being more hassle than it was worth. However, those same naysayers have made Bill Gates a very rich man, so who's getting the last laugh?


I think in about half a year from now vista will be on this list as people are apathetic enough about it now... and windows 7 looks like an other nail in the coffin.


Referring to Windows ME:

System restore was an undocumented feature of Windows 98 SE, but you had to log into windows Safe Mode, Command Prompt Only. The command to type was "regedit /restore".

I don't quite remember which file, but you could edit its settings for restore points and set when to make points, what files to include, and such. Windows ME simply made it more accessible to users.


Nice research, John Smith. DivX and DIVX have absolutely nothing to do with each other.


Don't forget that after the GBA debacle, Nintendo did it yet again when it released the clunky, uncomfortable Nintendo DS, only to follow it up with the sleeker, more stylish, easier to handle DS Lite soon thereafter. My guess is enough people fell for the double-dipping the first time that they figured it was worth doing it again.


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