Famous Tech Flops That Live in fame

Not every gadget is destined for greatness. Despite the hype before launch, or the promise of how a shiny new device will change your life, there are some gizmos that just don’t cut it.

We’ve taken a look back at nine failed tech “innovations” that flopped fantastically in their time — in fact, one didn’t even make it to launch.

Have a look through our gallery, complete with archived video footage of each device, and let us know if you used any of these gadgets and why you think they scored a big, fat “F.”

#1 Sony Rolly

Sony teased the Rolly launch like mad with a bizarre viral web campaign, hyping what turned out to be an egg-shaped, motion-capable music player.

While pundits were expecting a serious contender to the iPod, what eventually launched in the U.S. in 2008 was the oh-so-niche robotic Rolly offering Earth Wind and Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland” pre-loaded, just 2GB of memory and the need for consumers to use the bundled software to create their own choreography.

The $400 cost priced this novelty player out of the casual purchase market. The Rolly has now rolled into obsolescence.

#2 Microsoft ActiMates

In 2007 Microsoft and PBS shared the vision of “using television technology to enhance education.” If that sounds scary, wait until you hear how it worked.

Plush toys based on popular children’s TV characters — Barney and Friends and the Teletubbies — were fitted with transmitters, and then certain PBS stations sent out an encoded signal that the units could read.

Obviously the point was that the children would interact with the toy as the program played out, but the potential scary movie plotline, and high price, meant the product only managed to stay on shelves for around three years.

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