Every year, we're promised beautiful, useful, innovative gadgets that will supposedly make our lives better. Then something goes wrong and we don't get them. Humph.
When the Nexus Q was announced back at Google I/O in June, it seemed like Google had thought the concept all the way through because the weird media streaming orb was instantly available for pre-order. Too bad nothing about this thing makes sense. $300 is too expensive for a media streamer not to mention that an odd hub designed exclusively for Google Play and YouTube content is a gadget very few people want or need. After shipping a few pre-order units, Google delayed the remaining shipments indefinitely and never billed those that did ship. We still don't know when the Nexus Q might be available. Hopefully never.
Seriously, Belkin, get it together. First announced all the way back in 2011, the awesome I/O dock that would give Apple's Thunderbolt port a reason for existence does not itself exist yet. The Thunderbolt Express Dock got a $300 price tag in early 2012, but it never showed up even after a redesign and price increase. Now Belkin is saying the Thunderbolt dock will arrive in first quarter 2013. Surrrrre it will.
At CES 2012, we were blown away by the OLED TVs Samsung and LG showed us. And these weren't just CES concepts, we were told we'd be able to buy them in 2012. These gorgeous televisions were knockouts worthy of the world and their time had finally come. We reported that despite high-price points LG would push OLED TVs out into the market to try to jumpstart mass production. But neither Samsung nor LG ever got back to us with pricing details because these details don't yet exist yet.
Should we be surprised? As the largest manufacturer of OLED screens, Samsung has been showing off TVs for nearly a decade without shipping any. In fairness, OLED screens are mostly used on phones. Scaling production of those minuscule screens up to the point where you've got the 55-inch OLED TV Samsung announced last year must be daunting. But the heat is on now, because back in June Sony and Panasonic started working together to bring the cost of producing OLED TVs down with the goal of shipping units in 2013. We'll believe it when we see it.
Polaroid, the grandaddy of instant-cameras, has tried a lot of new things to keep the business going since the demise of film. While a Polaroid digital camera that runs Android might not sound that weird in light of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, at the time we weren't sure it was something we would ever want. In the end, the Polaroid SC1630 never showed up, but the company just confirmed rumors that it will launch an interchangeable-lens Android camera at CES.
The Vizio Tablet M was an unexpected surprise at CES last year. Out of nowhere, Vizio designed a 10-inch tablet that might even be worthy of premium pricing we were promised. But even though we were able to play with the Tablet M at CES, the landing page on Vizio's website still reads "coming soon." Of all the runaway promises on this list, we're probably saddest about the Tablet M. This year Vizio proved that it could design beautiful products that could compete with everybody else on functionality. Its all-in-one PC was gorgeous enough to be called an iMac clone and its inexpensive set-top-box did an admirable job of making Google TV something you might actually want to use. Here's hoping Vizio got caught up with its other beauties and that the Tablet M is on deck for a glorious launch.
From a design point of view alone, the Striva TAP earbud wireless streaming system could be hugely transformative. Weightless music without wires. Awesome, except you can't buy it because the Striva TAP has been delayed several times. We're told that all engineering problems have been resolved and that Striva TAP is "finished," and Koss says it'll ship within two weeks, which is confusing because it's still listed out of stock.
Behringer iNuke BOOM had vapor written all over it from the very beginning. We should have known better than to get all excited about a car-sized, 10,000-Watt iPod dock. It's totally awesome, but it's also totally absurd and unnecessary. Not to mention that the $3000 price tag makes it completely unaffordable. The iNuke's little sibling, the reasonably proportioned iNuke BOOM Junior, went on sale this Fall, but word is the big BOOM will probably never see the light of day. We've heard rumors that it might be retooled as a wireless speaker, which makes a little more sense. But only slightly more.