Is wearable technology the next big thing? Will smart homes revolutionize the way we live? Nobody really knows. The fact is, some tech innovations that looked like they were going to be the next big thing never really caught on.
- Netbooks. When netbooks entered the market in 2007, these mini-sized, inexpensively made laptops with stripped-down versions of Windows XP really took off. They even merited their own line of Intel-designed processors, and Apple was chastised for not releasing its own version. Then the iPad came along, and the netbook became irrelevant. Fewer than four million were sold in 2013, and they are likely to be off the market in 2015.
- E-Readers. The Kindle e-reader introduced by Amazon initially achieved great success in 2007. It had a long battery life and was a convenient, sustainable alternative to carrying a heavy book. The Barnes & Noble Nook and the Sony Kobo jumped into the market as competition. But like the netbooks before them, e-readers lost market share to the iPad. And according to a study published in June, 2014 by Forrester Research, 22% of people use their smartphones to read, competing with iPads and e-readers. Forrester forecasts sales of just 2 million e-readers in 2017.
- 3-D TVs. Although they were everywhere at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, 3-D TVs haven’t found much success in the real world. The problem is nobody wants to wear glasses while watching TV, and very few TV stations broadcast in 3-D. The 3-D sports network launched by ESPN in 2011 was expected to take off with sports viewers, like high-definition TV did. But the market just wasn’t there, and ESPN shut down the network in 2013.
- Groupon & Other Daily Deals. The Groupon IPO saw shares soar to $31.14 in 2011, but things have gone downhill for the stock since then. What happened? It seems that businesses didn’t increase sales and potential customers were tired of seeing irrelevant deals in emails. Nearly 800 daily deals sites closed or merged in 2011, and Amazon wrote off 97% of LivingSocial, its version of Groupon, in 2012.
Check out the other three tech products on Goldman’s list of tech flops. We can count on new technology to keep piquing our interest with the latest tech innovations, but getting consumers to adopt something new is another story.