Perhaps the greatest tragedy in tech are the heaps of gadgets tossed on the metaphorical funeral pyre too early. Maybe it was poor marketing, an unfounded lack of support, or simply bad timing that did them in, but whatever the case, they died much too soon.
Last week, I asked what were some great gadgets and technologies that went the way of the dinosaur before they were able to live up to their full potential. Many answered with some forward-thinking hardware and others with gadgets that were more a refinement on an already existing platform. In a few cases, bits and pieces of these machines have trickled into other products and services, but all of these gadgets share their fate in extinction.
The Commodore Amiga
At a time when Macs were unexpandable, single tasking, monochromatic boxes and PC's were dominated by the command line, the Amiga introduced an expandable computer with dedicated graphics and audio coprocessors that was able to display color graphics, had stereo audio, a built-in command line on top of a windows-based GUI, and preemptive multitasking.
I owned a Compaq iPAQ in the early 2000's and then upgraded to an HP iPAQ around 2004, they were nifty little machines! They ran very smoothly and could do pretty much everything your PC could. I definitely remember these running better and being more functional than the first smartphones that came out. Not to mention the battery life, which was amazing!
Sega Game Gear
Other than crushing 6 AA batteries every three hours. It was a solid handheld. And it was in color.
If we're going to be mentioning the Game Gear on this list, then it's hard to imagine that Atari's little handheld wouldn't get a place somewhere, since it sported the first color LCD before Sega would release the Game Gear the next year (even then the Lynx was cheaper with better battery life in comparison). It was ultimately crushed by the Nintendo competition, and that's actually a shame. This device was a neat little guy.
The Newton! It was a PDA before palm and a tablet before the iPad. It was never recognized for its genius.
To be fair I don't really care about the hardware, although my 2nd Gen 120 is still running just fine. But I still like the software better than anything running on iOS. It's easy to navigate and it's handling of music and podcasts is pretty much as good as you could want. I'd really like it if Microsoft would just open source the player software, so I could do something like run it on a Raspberry, then I could do something like integrate it into a dashboard system.
via Charles Engasser
The Zune may not have been so much forward-thinking as it was just late to the game, but as many of you pointed out, the idea that the iPod was a superior alternative to the misunderstood Zune has been historically overestimated.
I also felt compelled to include it because you were all very passionate about this one.
I had a ReplayTV DVR, and loved it. I was always befuddled by the fact that TiVo grabbed most of the market share (and eventually forced it out of business), because the ReplayTV seemed so much more powerful, and even more user-friendly than the TiVo.
Does anyone remember the 3DO console? It was a wicked little device! Dragons Lair ( Stunning ) and many other titles that were almost like playing the movies. It was out only a very short time, with maybe 20-30 total titles. Crazy!
Sony Mini Disc
Loved my minidisc players. Had a couple of them in the 1990's. So nearly a hit, but ended up as just a transition product between CDs and MP3 players, which they ultimately couldn't compete with on size or storage.
One of my all-time favorite gaming systems. I still have mine and happily pull it out to play. It was superior to most other systems at the time, had built in network connectivity, and I had mine chipped so I could enjoy Japanese games, which were massively better than the US games- some of which made full use of the Visual Memory Units (and even had mini games for them)- I absolutely loved this system. It did indeed die before its time, and I always felt the Xbox was its offspring in many respects. But the Xbox was never my Dreamcast.
Google Glass (Maybe)
I sincerely doubt the Glass was ever meant as anything other than a thorough proof of concept. It'll be back in another form, and soon. Whether this is positive is up to the individual.
Wearable computing is undoubtedly in our future, but Google Glass (at least in its current form) isn't it. Whether we'll be looking hack at this awkward AR headset as the grandfather of much more capable tech remains to be seen.
Have any more suggestions that didn't make the list? What are other great tech Nostradamuses that we dismissed despite their genius?