"Brilliant ideas don't always lead to brilliant results - we saw that with Betamax. But such technofail isn't just confined to the annals of time - it's still with us, eating away at the ideas that should have worked but just fell away.
So after an office discussion about HD DVD, the Sinclair C5 and Nokia Ngage we decided it was time to celebrate a bunch of great but lesser known tech flops. A couple might supposedly still be alive, but they might as well be dead. Fine on paper, but already falling towards failure, just like the rest.
1. Wireless USB
Someday wireless peripherals may become a reality. It's a good way to get rid of some cable clutter around your desk and promote the use of even more USB gadgets. But Wireless USB has been simply too expensive to be a success. Oh, and USB cables require no drivers, no training and are ten-a-penny - they are so ubiquitous you can find them for sale at airports. Only a few companies – including the beleaguered Belkin, who fought a firestorm of criticism over the paid-for reviews scam – have released any products that actually work. Wireless USB's chance has already passed, and it'll take a second version with some extra perk - such as a speed boost - as well as universal out-of-the-box support for any derivative version to succeed.
2. Speaking to your PC
We should all be talking to our computers by now, dictating memos and getting into arguments over world politics with them. Microphone technology is advanced enough for clear voice detection, and technology such as the car-based Microsoft Sync prove that speech recognition can work. The problem is that the processing required for really accurate speech recognition - not just guessing at the word, but always getting it right - would require several data centres to interpret and then convert the spoken words. No one has signed up to take on that challenge, not even TellMe, the company that powers Sync.
3. Fold-away keyboards
Here's a brilliant idea that should work, except for the pesky problem of ergonomics. A roll-up or fold-away keyboard would allow you to bring only a mini-notebook on trips and skip the laptop. Unfortunately, to type fast on a keyboard, your fingers must be positioned for the most comfort, able to move freely across well spaced and raised keys. A roll-up or fabric keyboard might be highly portable and makes sense for those who want to type longer documents or emails on a smartphone or on an airplane in a cramped space, but the form factor is just not good enough." (Continued via TechRadar UK) [Ergonomics Resources]