The Whole Enchilada

Thoughts on life, work, tech & biz and the whole enchilada

Top 10 technology flops

Posted by wholeenchilada on December 5, 2007

The news blog is reporting a list of Top 10 technology flops. Some you might agree with (digital watch – aye!) and others you might not have heard of (Gallium arsenide – huh?), but here’s the run down:

  1. Manned space travel. At the 1964 World’s Fair I saw a mechanical enactment of a space shuttle docking with a space station. Aside from a few moon launches, that’s exactly where we stand–43 years later.
  2. Bubble memory.
  3. Superconductivity.
  4. Digital watches. Come on, tell the truth; back in the ’80s you thought plain old analog watches were finished. Heck, we all did. Then retro came back. Go figure.
  5. Gallium arsenide. In the ’80s, lots of experts thought GaAs would supplant CMOS semiconductor technology in computers. But CMOS’ remarkable scalability has limited gallium arsenide to relatively niche applications.
  6. Head-up displays. The technology has been around forever, but, for some reason, has not caught on in commercial applications. It’s been available in limited car models for more than a decade, but I’ve never seen one.
  7. Pen computing.
  8. Information appliances.
  9. Speech recognition. This has to be the biggest disappointment of all, especially for Star Trek fans. But here we are, still banging away on our keyboards. At least biometrics is starting to gain some traction.
  10. Virtual reality. Yes, I know we have Second Life and it’s still the early days of VR. Nevertheless, the technical issues are way tougher than with speech recognition and we’ve been waiting for decades for that to become mainstream.

Read more here:

It’s an interesting list but nothing mind blowing. You could argue for years over what constitutes as a “technology flop” and what the real top ten list should look like!


3 Responses to “Top 10 technology flops”

  1. I completely disagreed with his #9, speech recognition. See my blog on it at

  2. […] Top 10 <b>technology</b> flops […]

  3. Bill Burke said

    As we notied to mr. Tobak, where tiss liist of Top 10 “flops” first appeared..

    Speech recognition is alive and well, and expanding into our everyday lives at an incremental rate!

    Maybe this might help.. ?

    Bill Burke

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