Ah 2011, what a great year for tech except for the stuff that sucked. So, here we are with the Top 5 disappointing technologies of 2011. Tech that only a fanboy could love. Let’s get started.
Number 5 – Electric Cars
From the Chevy Volt’s missed sales targets and some shrill safety headlines to the Nissan Leaf’s slowing sales, this was the year that EV’s hit …and bounced off. Much of the blames belongs to a flood of cheap, fuel efficient 4 cylinder gas and diesel cars that people actually understand. EV’s may still have their day in the sun, but it won’t be on a calendar that has 2011 written on it.
Number 4 – iCloud
Give Apple credit for moving the concept of cloud to the mainstream, but iCloud is an odd bird in that cloud, almost a cynically tweaked situation to sell devices. And too often all you hear the same two comments from iOS5 users: Either a disinterested, I haven’t set it up, or mystified, I don’t get it. I guess it will be a slow burn like iTunes was initially, but for 2011 it goes on this list.
Number 3 – Chromebooks
This idea looked so visionary when it came out: A radical refresh of the portable computer that relied on a browser running over Linux, with the web and apps replacing stale, bloaty software and those always full hard drives. But so far the early models do too little too poorly and in the process make a tacit argument for a new device in between our tablets and notebooks. That’s the subdivision of tech none of us were looking to move into.
Number 2 – 3D TV
OK, haven’t we given 3D long enough. The glasses. The proprietary. The not much to watch. The who cares. Sure, 3D TV sales grew a lot in 2011 but that’s because more TV’s came with it built in, whether you want it or not. At the very least, the 3D TV biz has to move to cheap, passive, universal glasses in 2012. In the meantime you can worry less about this tech in 2012 — as I suspect a lot of TV makers will do.
Number 1 – Motorola Xoom
So,the #1 tech dud of 2011 was the Xoom .. and the Touchpad and the Playbook — basically all the big non-iPad tablets that combined will be lucky to match a 10th of iPad sales. Motorola’s Xoom launched at an insulting $899 — $70 above the top iPad! The Playbook was the first tablet without integrated email from blackberry when infact they are all about e-mail — that’s clever. And HP’s TouchPad fiasco was enough to help derail the entire company.
As we wrap 2011, the conventional wisdom in that the high end of the tablet market is Apple’s to lose and Android has to be happy with small, cheap end of the market.