Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Jul 2010 17:02 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Following up on the news a couple of weeks ago that Microsoft had killed the Kin, its first Windows Phone 7 device, after only a month on the market, we found a list of ten gadgets that, despite their promise, didn't make it in the marketplace. Some of these devices, such as the Modo, laid the groundwork for blockbuster products (iPod). Some, like the Audrey, developed a cult following once their failure made them affordable on eBay. Others just flat out failed (DataPlay). Are there any short-lived gadgets that didn't make the list? What about the CueCat?
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Here's a few
by fretinator on Tue 13th Jul 2010 18:29 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

1. The Fossil Wrist PDA - classic Palm-OS based watch. After all, who wouldn't want a palm on their wrist?

2. Timex DataLink watch - while we're on watches, what could be better than downloading to your watch by holding it up to the monitor? You get a free epilepsy screening with each purchase.

3. Tablet PC's - these wonders from Microsoft were great, as long as you had an A/C outlet nearby and a keyboard for any serious work.

4. WebTV - who wouldn't want a low-def, pluginless web? I don't think it ran Lynx, though.

5. Wal-mart low-end Linux PC's. It's great to run Linux on crappy hardware with no RAM!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Here's a few
by theTSF on Tue 13th Jul 2010 19:17 UTC in reply to "Here's a few"
theTSF Member since:
2005-09-27

Well that article is less about short lasting project but just a poke and laugh at the failing technologies.

Some of these products listed were sold for years.

I think the point of the article is to see a Microsoft Product Fail worse then the rests. Just so we can feel good that even the Mighty Microsoft sill makes mistakes.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Here's a few
by Karitku on Wed 14th Jul 2010 12:25 UTC in reply to "Here's a few"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12


3. Tablet PC's - these wonders from Microsoft were great, as long as you had an A/C outlet nearby and a keyboard for any serious work.

These never died I have HP Tablet PC TM2 I bought few months ago, probaply best laptop I had ever. Love using OneNote with stylus and watching movies in train with keyboard folded behind. Costs 1000 euros so about 200 more than similiar laptops but it's worth it.

Reply Score: 2

Kin
by Nelson on Tue 13th Jul 2010 19:59 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

Kin isn't a Windows Phone 7 device.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Kin
by ricegf on Wed 14th Jul 2010 15:43 UTC in reply to "Kin"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

No, it's not - the Kin was a "Windows" phone. So why does Microsoft push 5 different, incompatible operating systems called "Windows" in the mobile space? You know your branding strategy is a failure if even the trade rags can't keep it straight!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Kin
by Karitku on Wed 14th Jul 2010 18:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Kin"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

Because Windows so well know brand and very similiar what Linux means many people. It's actually called Umbrella branding, like Nivea brand(Nivea itself isn't company but a brand name that is used in many cosmetic products). Apple is doing same for i-brand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella_brand

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Kin
by Nelson on Wed 14th Jul 2010 20:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Kin"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

They're all based on the same Windows CE code base.

Here's the story:
In the beginning there was Windows Mobile, it was good, until it sucked after hardware and software in competitor products leapfrogged it.

Microsoft was busy toiling away on Windows Mobile 7 which was a new coat of paint ontop of Windows Mobile 6 while they were caught with their pants down by the iPhone, Android, etc.

The along came ZuneHD team, which was beginning to build a relatively modern codebase ontop of WinCE. Including a very fast and refreshing user experience.

Meanwhile Microsoft had aquired this thing called Danger, which owned the Sidekick OS with a lot of its usermode portions written in Java (and what I assume to be a non WinCE kernel underneath)

Becoming frustrated with the Sidekick OS, they decided to reboot what would be known as the Kin product using WinCE.

The ZuneHD is most likely nearing finalization around here.

Around the same time the Windows Mobile 7 team realized they had absolute garbage on their hands, and needed a fresh start as well. So they started from scratch using WinCE and taking cues from the ZuneHD (while remaining very different, and targeting different SoC chips Tegra for ZuneHD and Snapdragon for Windows Phone 7). So this became the modern day Windows Phone 7.

The Kin team sometime during all of this wanted to do some codesharing with the Windows Phone team, but probably due to both time restraints and internal company politics, the Windows Phone 7 team and the Kin team remained apart in terms of product development.

So the Kin incorporated a Tegra chip, slapped a lot of the work the ZuneHD team had with their WinCE stuff (if you notice, the Zune on the Kin is very much a carbon copy of the ZuneHD, while the WP7 Zune is a reimplementation of the ZuneHDish UI, it has subtle differences), and tacked their own work ontop of that (including writing phone features FROM SCRATCH because of internal company politics, and doing all the social networking stuff from scratch as well.)

Towards the end of the Kin cycle, most likely the WP7 team started to have some influence on their UI direction (you can see they have pseudo-panorama paradigms in some of their screens)

Around this time WP7 has implemented their own modern layer ontop of WinCE, optimizing for Snapdragons, implementing .NET CF, Silverlight, and XNA, along with ARMv7 optimizations, and reimplementing the Zune client, social networking services, etc.

Then WP7 was unveiled in March, and Kin a short while later.

The telling thing about this is how internal company politics destroyed a product roadmap, and doomed a product which had phenomenal potential and a great target audience (Did you know Samsung moved like 1 Million Bada units, their dumbphone OS, since it launched .. that coulda, shoulda, and ought to have been Kin).

So moving forward, Microsoft has axed the Kin, will most likely be axing the ZuneHD product line, or integrating something like the ZuneHD2 into WP7(Think iTouch and iPhone).

So through this whole long, frustrating process, Microsoft removed a lot of people, reorganized their Mobile and Entertainment divisions (effectively merging parts of them), and in the end, one mobile OS won the internal power struggle: Windows Phone 7.

Moving forward there is only WP7. Kin only even came to market because of contractual obligations with Verizon most likely.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by AnythingButVista
by AnythingButVista on Tue 13th Jul 2010 22:00 UTC
AnythingButVista
Member since:
2008-08-27

MiniSD memory cards
They were supposed to solve the "memory expansion on a portable size" problem for cell phones and other mobile devices. Someone wasn't psychic enough to predict MicroSD cards were coming and that these will end up taking over the mobile device storage market. Now the only use we have for MiniSD cards, is inside an SD adapter so they can be used as regular SD cards.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by AnythingButVista
by bnolsen on Wed 14th Jul 2010 00:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by AnythingButVista"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Nah...lots of gaming handhelds use mini-sd.
It's the smallest flash format that can be used with a spring loader. I honestly don't know of any mini-sd's that are manufactured anymore, you buy a mini-sd adapter with a microsd card.

Reply Score: 2

JonathanBThompson
Member since:
2006-05-26

Seems the mobile version of the site doesn't make the article visible, but one old one and a new one come to mind, and both are philosophically tied:

BeIA (Sony eVilla, did they even do any name research for english-speaking countries?) and it's more recent reincarnation, also with poor naming (though names can be ignored if something works well):

The Joo Joo
I owner how many eVillas were sold, as well as how many Joo Joos? Both purport to solve the same problem, and both were too expensive for their functionality being dedicated, and neither has done well at their claimed tasks.

Reply Score: 4

BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

I don't know anything about Joo Joo.

However, had BeIA be more along the line of what we now know as "netbook", its fate (and that of Be) might have been quite different.

Interestingly, BeIA being flash memory based (16 or 32 MB) could have been the "instant-on" internet gateway to the remote human interaction channels (e-mail, blog, FaceBook, Twitter) while allowing the more capable and versatile BeOS taking on the other stuff one does once in a while. There was a short blip about a Linux "instant-on" personality with a deeper Windows (or fuller Linux) personality a few weeks ago here in relation to HP becoming a "Linux Distributor".

Reply Score: 1

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

However, had BeIA be more along the line of what we now know as "netbook", its fate (and that of Be) might have been quite different.


BeIA was BeOS under the hood, By that I mean, you could quit the custom version of Opera 4 (aka Wagner) and it would boot to Tracker. It was fairly crippled for other reasons, but it *was* BeOS on a 32MB card (IIRC 32MB was the max image size the tools could create.)

Interestingly, BeIA being flash memory based (16 or 32 MB) could have been the "instant-on" internet gateway to the remote human interaction channels (e-mail, blog, FaceBook, Twitter)


I believe that was the ongoing "plan". However, BeIA was far from instant on. It took around a minute to boot from CF (I only ever had a unit with Compact Flash and a rig that booted from an IDE drive.) Caveat: Most of the versions I saw were BeIA 1.0 or prior, so 2.0 might have been better.

Reply Score: 1

Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

My old Dell laptop booted BeOS off a CF card in about 20+ seconds. Writes were slow with CF, and BeOS did write info out as it booted.

Haiku on the same card/laptop took about 15 seconds. I think it had better buffering.

It is important to note that CF comes in different speeds, the cheaper the card the slower the card. Most cards out there are 80x but I bought a 133x 8GB card, and only did not buy a 266x card because I could only afford the 4GB version.

Of-course not counting BIOS setup time Haiku boots in 10 seconds or less on my Intel SSD.

The base hardware matters as much as the software.

Reply Score: 2

henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

It is important to note that CF comes in different speeds, the cheaper the card the slower the card.


I think that is a slight understatement. CF only really became "speedy" well after BeOS had died. Back in the BeIA days, 8MB and 16MB cards were the norm and the speed of the card was s..l...o....w. But then again, generally is was faster than the DOC that was used in other devices at the time!

Also remember, the devices we were using were pre release engineering samples that were basically not production quality. I personally coded for a Dt300 web pad, and it was okay, but it had a 200Mhz Pentium clone processor (made by Nat Semi iirc.) and something like 256MB RAM. So the speed of CF, the fact it was booting from a compressed file system, the fact it had basically a slow processor and no RAM and more or less VGA level graphics, really didn't win it much speed.

My Webpad is long gone, but I do still have the SDK and device images. However, last time I attempted to boot BeIA it crashed and burned, which is really sad :-(

Reply Score: 1

Palm Foleo
by wakeupneo on Wed 14th Jul 2010 03:36 UTC
wakeupneo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Announced. Laughed at. Killed.

I think this might have had a chance if they'd made it so the Palm kinda slotted into the Foleo like a PCMCIA card, which then used the OS from the Palm to run it, rather than a completely separate 'companion'. Still, they quickly discovered the market wasn't interested so killing it prior to production was a lucky escape.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Palm Foleo
by Karitku on Wed 14th Jul 2010 12:28 UTC in reply to "Palm Foleo"
Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

Announced. Laughed at. Killed.

I think this might have had a chance if they'd made it so the Palm kinda slotted into the Foleo like a PCMCIA card, which then used the OS from the Palm to run it, rather than a completely separate 'companion'. Still, they quickly discovered the market wasn't interested so killing it prior to production was a lucky escape.

There is this type device for Windows Mobile phones. Never caught air, think they buried whole thing and company already.

Reply Score: 2

Sony Mylo COM-1
by johjeff on Wed 14th Jul 2010 05:39 UTC
johjeff
Member since:
2007-11-06

Piece of Crap. Made firmware updates for it for about 2 years then abandoned it. Sony's proprietary "Social Media" effort. At least you'd think they would open up the specs and code for it if they weren't going to continue supporting it. It was a linux based device after all.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Sony Mylo COM-1
by darknexus on Wed 14th Jul 2010 14:05 UTC in reply to "Sony Mylo COM-1"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Piece of Crap. Made firmware updates for it for about 2 years then abandoned it. Sony's proprietary "Social Media" effort. At least you'd think they would open up the specs and code for it if they weren't going to continue supporting it. It was a linux based device after all.

Remember, you are talking about Sony. The company that takes existing standards, changes the connector, then charges double the royalties and double the price for a cable as the original (think Firewire to iLink).

Reply Score: 2

Cube
by Eddyspeeder on Wed 14th Jul 2010 18:30 UTC
Eddyspeeder
Member since:
2006-05-10

The G4 Cube is still regarded by many as Apple's most memorable and breathtakingly designed system ever. If Apple were to issue a limited "Mac Mini: Cube edition" for all the fans, I think it would sell out in no-time. I'd like it much better than the metal cookie jar design.

Reply Score: 1