The worst tech of 2013
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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.)
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Surface RTrnis an epic failure on the part of Microsoft. In July, Microsoft announced a $900 million dollar inventory adjustment related to Surface RT.rnThat is a serious loss most other companies wouldn’t recover from — all from arnsingle tablet-based platform that never really had a chance.
From the very beginning, this platform was plagued withrnbugs, lagging performance, applications that were poor quality, crashes, andrnmemory leaks. Even after the release of Windows 8.1, I still conclude that Surface RT is arnrather 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
Samsung Galaxy Gear
I wanted the Samsung Galaxy Gearrnwatch to astound me and make me feel like I was Inspector Gadget or a sci-firnfilm character ready to travel through the time-space continuum. Unfortunately,rnSamsung dropped the ball so hard on this one that it crashed through the Earthrnand hurtled itself outward toward the nearest planetary system. It’s that bad.
Text input is dreadful, and compatibility is severelyrnlimited. The return rate of over one third at Best Buy stores in the U.S. easily lands this watchrnin the flops category.
I hope an upcoming update will make this smartwatch arnlittle, well, smarter.
Microsoft Office 2013
Microsoft Office 2013 isrnan installation and licensing nightmare. Of all the office suites I haverndeployed for clients, none have given me as many fits as Office 2013.
There arerntwo major problems with this iteration of the de facto standard: getting thernlicense to work and repairing an installation that goes bad. With Office 2013,rnyou are only allowed to associate a certain amount of licenses with arnparticular email address. If you have a lot of users with a specific client,rnthis can be a major headache.
In addition, a surprising number of clients (especially olderrnusers) complain about the look and feel of Office 2013. The flat nature of thernwidgets and design has made viewing Office 2013 a challenge.
Also read: 10 things to love and hate about Microsoft Office 2013 and My 10 favorite things about Office 2013
This Facebook app takes over the smartphone user’s homernscreen and turns it into a launch pad for all things Facebook. It worked, but Facebook Homernmade it too difficult to use your smartphone as a phone.
I really wanted to like the app, but seeing Facebook friendsrnconstantly appear on my smartphone lockscreen was just too much to handle.
Virtual wireless keyboards
People have wanted virtual wireless keyboards for quite awhile u2013 the conceptrnseems straight out of Minority Report.rnThe problem is, even the most recent iterations of this technological vaporwarernwannabe are horrible. Not only is the success rate of keystrikes abysmal, yournstill must have the projector so close to the surface that it almost defeatsrnthe purpose of having a virtual wireless keyboard. You’re better off with arnBluetooth or a roll-up keyboard.
rnThis is an image of Celluon’s Magic Cube projection keyboard.
Huawei Ascend Mate
Huawei Ascend Mate is called a phablet, which makes consumers scratch theirrnheads and ask: Is it a phone, or is it a tablet? It’s both, yet it’s too big tornbe a phone with comfort or ease (it has a 6.1 inch screen) and too small to bernof real use as a tablet. Then, when you consider its underpowered CPU (HuaweirnK2V3 quad-core processor 1.5 GHz) and that it doesn’t have enough storage (8 GBrninternal), this phablet is far from phantastic.
Every once in a while a new tech product comes across myrndesk that I cannot believe someone thought would be useful, and that is how Irnfeel about Flipper USB. This product ensures yournalways insert your USB devices in the proper way. You’ll never again attemptrnto connect a USB device and then find that USB port is “upside down.”
I have a much better (and free) solution for anyone whornthinks they might need such a device: If the USB device doesn’t go in on your first attempt, flip it over and try again. Even without Flipper USB, you have arn50/50 chance that you’ll get it right the first time.
Spike smartphone keyboard
With Spike smartphone keyboards, you housernyour iPhone in a case that includes a door-like keyboard that “opens andrncloses” and uses software to integrate with a virtual keyboard. You’rernadding a klunky cover, a physical keyboard, and software all so you can have arnphysical keyboard. It’s not worth it.
If you really want a BlackBerry-like keyboard for yourrniPhone, just buy a Blackberry Z10. Oh, wait, don’t do that.