Failure is a huge part of overall success. As engineers, you understand that. As consumers, you sometimes buy it too.
Remember Betamax? We all do. Sony lost to Panasonic VHS in a hard-fought battle over VCR tape formats in the 1970s.
Remember eight-track tape? Of course you do.
A lot of these technologies started out with hopes as high as their marketing budgets only to crash and burn. It's interesting, too, that some of the biggest consumer electronics powerhouses have experienced the biggest failures.
More recently, in the mobile space, there recently introduced products are starting to evince signs of turkey-down: Microsoft's Zune mp3 player; Blackberry's PlayBook tablet; and the Dell Streak, to mention just three.
What do you consider the greatest electronics turkeys of all time (and they don't have to be consumer applications)?
What have you learned from observing those design and market failures or actually purchasing and learning from them?
Thanksgiving is just weeks away and we're on the hunt for big turkeys!
(1) TI's magnetic Bubble memory.
I only saw one product that used it. A TI teletype-like thermal printing terminal
(2) DAT - Digital Audio Tape.
I only saw one DAT deck. They were way too expensive, and there were legal issues. The music industry did not want a tape deck that could make perfect digital copies. Soon enough, this would not matter
i'm surprised noone has mentioned the NeXT Computer yet. yes, yes, this guy also produced spectacular failures. the pricing was off, the enclosure had to be made of magnesium and hence each piece had to be hand corrected with automotive epoxy before being hand painted. the factory in fremont was kept no matter how idle it was. initial systems shipped without hard drives because 'optical' was strategic, don't mind the 2hrs boot time.
Actually, the biggest turkey of all has been on top for years, primarily because of marketing. That is WINDOWS! The fundamental concept is that I am too stupid to figure out how to launch a program, and so illiterate that I need stupid little icons for everything. And it is best for people suffering from locked up thought processes. Just because it made a lot of money does not make it good, it just means that the marketing methods were more deadly for the competitors. I remember when I bought a computer with DrDos installed, everybody else's computers came with windows. Then DrDos was purchased and sort of went away.
The engineering in 3D is quite an accomplishment, no question on that. It is the fundamental concept behind 3D that ought to kill it. The goal is to make our new HD video systems obsolete so that we will purchase some poorly made 3D system. 3D is a HUGE WASTE of time and resources.
Iridium. What a great idea and in fact an excellent product. Anywhere in the world where cellular service is not available, an Iridium handset will work. Anywhere there is a natural disaster that knocks out all forms to earth based communications, Iridium will work. No turkey here.
I have some portions of a NABU in my basement today. As for Telidon, I worked on those at GTE and it was a great circuit. The real turkey with Telidon, if you can all it that was the manufacturing model. We built everything and we should only have been building the board. Hm, Norpak teminals come to mind as well, when we say Telidon.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.