The development of wearable technology seems to have stopped at the smartwatch, and maybe that’s for the best. Snapchat launched its Spectacles, a pair of glasses that only uploaded footage directly to the app, back in 2017. With low functionality and a staggered launch across select vending machines, they were quickly forgotten and cost the company $40 million.
When was the last time you heard anybody say dongle? They made sense at the time: in the early 2010s before smart TVs became way cheaper, an external USB plugin to stream media made sense. Google, Amazon, and pretty much every other company released their own brand to moderate success. Alas, every smart TV now comes with a built-in app store, rendering such external devices pointless.
These were first released alongside the Segway in 1999, but in 2014 somebody had the idea to market the automatic scooter to Gen Z. This ensured that social media would be filled with viral videos of people riding these things into walls and knocking over grandma’s ashes. A brief craze, even if it proved to be a very funny time for us all.
The 2017 Bitcoin boom was worldwide news, a new commodity market to speculate on with people becoming millionaires overnight. From that grew a craze that would swallow the internet – not to mention many people’s life savings. Crypto and NFTs dominated marketing channels across TV and social media, but clearly didn’t have the mass appeal needed to survive.
Having seen a great deal of success competing against Apple’s early iPhones, Blackberry’s sales continued to rise until around 2011. Touchscreens weren’t as popular yet and BBM was fast and free for young people who still had to buy credit to text. Soon the increasing quality of Apple and Samsung’s products would push them out of the general public’s use.
Those who grew up in the 90s will fondly remember the emergence of flip phones, combining the freedom and utility of a cellphone with an easy tactile experience. Flipping it felt satisfying, and market veteran Samsung kicked off a small renaissance in foldable models. They didn’t quite iron out the kinks in time, the main being the literal crease a folding touchscreen leaves you with.
Launched in 2016, augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go allowed people to indulge their childhood fantasies while getting out in the sunshine. Its lifetime sales are currently over $4 billion, so it’s no surprise that every tech company started trying to implement AR as soon as it took off. No others enjoyed the same success, with even a similar Harry Potter game falling short.
3D has long been a marketing gimmick for cinema. The big screen and sound enhance the spectacle- making up for the fact that the three-dimensional effect is ultimately a little pointless. At home, the novelty wears off even more quickly. Consequently, the introduction of 3D TVs also failed to take off.
While Snapchat focused its marketing on the light social fun that came with their glasses, Google took a much more serious approach to their 2017 eyewear. Glass was expected to shake the foundations of the tech industry, but people’s apprehension to being stared recorded coupled with a high price point meant that it was pretty much dead on arrival.
Seeing the success of movie streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, the gaming industry began exploring how streaming tech might allow weaker systems to play newer games. Some companies, like Ouya and Stadia, put all their money into creating a dedicated streaming console. The craze didn’t last, however, as the tech was just not ready to work with most people’s internet quality.