Software

The worst tech of 2013

The biggest tech flops of 2013

Based on a lot of client feedback, I compiled a list of what I believe are the most significant tech failures of 2013. Please weigh in with your selections and feedback in the discussion. (Full disclosure: I have been a Linux and open source advocate for almost 20 years. I'm proud to admit I haven't used Windows as a primary desktop OS since the mid '90s.)

Note: TechRepublic, CNET, and ZDNet are CBS Interactive properties.

Surface RT

Surface RT is an epic failure on the part of Microsoft. In July, Microsoft announced a $900 million dollar inventory adjustment related to Surface RT. That is a serious loss most other companies wouldn't recover from -- all from a single tablet-based platform that never really had a chance.

From the very beginning, this platform was plagued with bugs, lagging performance, applications that were poor quality, crashes, and memory leaks. Even after the release of Windows 8.1, I still conclude that Surface RT is a rather useless platform. 

Also read: Five ways Surface RT beats Android tablets, Hands on: Getting real work done with Surface RT, and Standby battery performance fix for Surface RT 8.1

Photo credit: Josh Miller/CNET

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

23 comments
christopher.thomas
christopher.thomas

Everyone who has gotten a Z10 loves it.  The Z30 is getting an even better reception from the business community.  The only people who bash Blackberry are real or quasi-journalists who can't get over sucking  Bill Gates c*#@ and are still addicted to iCrack.  Try being a real journalist and give Blackberry the credit it deserves.

H4CKN3T
H4CKN3T

The Samsung watch is kick ass if you ask me, of course it doesn't work with your iPhone, so naturally you will put it on your list.  Office 2013?  Really?  As an Enterprise IT guy and home user, I have had no problems with Office 2013.  

What should have made number 1 on your list was that joke of an OS that Apple recently released for free.  Now I see why it was free.  Everyone that "upgraded" had their laptops at helpdesk the next day because it literally broke everything. 

ajsmoo
ajsmoo

so.. 'I compiled a list of what I believe are the most significant tech failures of 2013'  what are the others, or am I missing something here?  Unlikely to follow advice of someone who has a list of one...

ToriToriTori
ToriToriTori

This article is serious?, or is just a joke of an hidden Apple Fan-boy?

sdgrymnt
sdgrymnt

I must be the odd man out - or just not an apple fan boy

I have implemented the z10 / Q10 / BES 10 in our environment - most users like the interface better than android / ios for work purposes - plus it delivers a secure environment.

I rolled out Office 2013 without any licensing hiccups - installed the KMS keys into our KMS system - licensing done - the application just like 2010 phones home for its KMS key.

I like my RT - granted yes it is slower than my desktop - but I can open and edit documents in native mode without needing to use a third party application.


MartinDay007
MartinDay007

The problem I see with a device like the Surface RT is its positioning. Because it doesn't run the full Microsoft suite of applications it should be compared to an IPad or Android tablet and not a laptop. The perception therefore is that it makes for a lousy laptop, when in fact people should be asking does it make a more useful tablet.


I don't see too many people that only survive only with an IPad, so often it is used as a supplement to either a laptop and/or desktop device. The limitations to the IPad are totally ignored because it is seen as a desirable product, the limitations to the Surface RT are picked on because it doesn't have the eye candy quality of the IPad.


So should the Surface RT appear in this list, probably yes because it is a marketing flop, but technically no as it probably fulfils the design goals.    

Treknology
Treknology

Being a Keyboard King, I don't like rubber, spongy or virtual keyboards. However, I have seen one user with a laser-projected keyboard as shown in your photo who was achieving a 'reasonable' character speed without too many errors.


Office 2013? Forget it. I pulled the plug when I saw 2007... When 2003 won't work any more, I'll be looking for a new platform.


IE: haven't touched it since I was introduced to FireFox.


The Flipper: If MS had thought about the USB plug properly, this device couldn't exist.


Smartwatch? If it replaced your phone instead of being an accessory, and had a battery life in excess of 24 hours I would consider it. Otherwise, not even going there.

jpijper
jpijper

Surface RT a flop? Funny! For me, the Surface RT was the absolute top tech thing in 2013. Totally blew my mind. Still does, in fact.

jqbecker
jqbecker

Jack,


You may have had troubles, but overall I think you are wrong about Office 2013. I find it to be much faster and more efficient than Office2010. I was going to junk my old HP Dv7-3100 lappy, but figured what the heck , and threw Win8 and Office 2013 on it for giggles. Remarkable speed improvement, the machine runs great now, love it!


Governerd
Governerd

Please stop it with the slideshow-style articles. I prefer reading the article on one page. TechNet/ZDnet is getting as bad as MS & Google in forcing us to use product formats that benefit your bottom line instead of pleasing the customer.

RogerInHaddenham
RogerInHaddenham

That's bizarre. Not only does the page require me to scroll down (to read content) & then up again (to 'click' to a new page), but now it only works in IE8 with its display of painful animated adverts. I tried Firefox (latest, allow all scripts in NoScript) & Chrome (again, latest) but couldn't get past the first page. This way of displaying content is discouraging enough without actually removing support for modern brousers as well as the 'all on one page' format. You're trying hard to make it difficult for people to read your content.

erosson
erosson

You forgot a major tech item that has plaugued many a user...TechRepublic New Lookl  I see the captions on the first slide then nothing but the author info and the comments.  I have tried Chrome, FireFox and IE9 on Win7.  No luck on any browswer.  I might have to try my iPad!!!

chuck.the.nerd
chuck.the.nerd

Don't forget the UI associated with Windows 8.

"The worst tech of 2014" should mention "slideshow ONLY" articles on web sites.  This article would have been much better had their been a "view as one page" option.  I couldn't even get to the second entry when using Chrome.  Had to revert to IE for reading this.  Definitely room for website improvement in 2014.

a.portman
a.portman

IE 10. The fact that MS based web sites stopped working with IE10 should have told someone at MS that it was a very bad idea. Or that it was really maleware planted by Firefox.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Nice article -- I wondered how the virtual keyboards were standing up. Thank you!

CGlahn
CGlahn

I don't know about others but I really looked forward to the Z10, but it never reached my phone carrier.  It seemed to have all the functionality I missed in a phone that existed in my webOS device.  What do I believe would have saved Blackberry back in the day?  Buying Palm instead of HP buying Palm.  It could have saved both of them.

kandrolewicz
kandrolewicz

@sdgrymnt I still think Blackberry offers the best interface for those who are seriously business oriented instead of just want to play on Android or Apple interfaces.  Blackberry by far has the best keyboard of any of its competitors and nothing I've used comes close!

Governerd
Governerd

I meant TechRepublic, not TechNet.  Of course TechNet has created it's own problems this past year as well.  I'm looking forward to seeing some tech companies making an effort to design for the customer instead of designing for the bottom line, and hoping 2014 will be the year. 

whitewolf60
whitewolf60

@RogerInHaddenhamFrom my comment on another article:


I recently found that a full uninstall/re-install of Firefox (to include removing all preferences, settings, etc.) took care of this and other issues that had arisen over time.

On some of my systems, Firefox had been continuously updated from version 3 through version 26, and it may be that a browser can be viewed as akin to an OS; over time, cobwebs develop that are most efficiently dealt with through a clean installation.

I backed up my bookmarks despite the fact that I sync them on all my systems. I uninstalled Firefox version 26 and reinstalled initially version 24, in case any of the issues were related to the latest release. I subsequently updated to version 26, re-synched my bookmarks, and said goodbye to several annoying glitches, even on systems running XP!

I intend to utilize the same process with any of my systems using an aging installation of IE8 on XP, though I guess I can only "roll back" the IE version before re-installing, and expect a similar improvement (OK, maybe not : )

nevilles
nevilles

@erosson 

Works fine on my Samsung chromebook which is using chrome browser.

mjs1902
mjs1902

@chuck.the.nerd Using IE9 the caption for the Blackberry Z10 was "Blackberry released the." This has not been unusual since TechRepublic went with the new look ....

fcphdJim
fcphdJim

@chuck.the.nerd I agree completely. I had the same experience with Firefox. It seems silly to write an article slamming IE10 on a page that requires IE to display properly. And the whole slideshow concept sucks for an article anyway. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather just scroll down the page to read the article.

Treknology
Treknology

@GovernerdDitto. Having my screen in portrait mode to accommodate the original scroll-down-forever approach of most web pages means that side-scroll can be a pita.