Bad Technology

Popular Mechanics has released its 10 Worst Gadgets of 2007. I don’t think everything on the list belongs there (like, why is everybody picking on Pleo, that cute lil’ robot dinosaur?), but some of them make you wonder — who is running these companies?

nabaztag-470-1207.jpgTake, for example, #6, the Violet Nabaztag:

Meet Nabaztag, perhaps the world’s first toy that purports to be a Wi-Fi-enabled rabbit that beeps, moves its ears, reads your e-mails, says snarky stuff and responds to voice commands. Of course, when we say “rabbit,” we mean a white plastic cone with plastic oblong ears that tend to fall off a lot. So if your idea of what a hare should look like comes from watching animals in the park, or even watching old Bugs Bunny cartoons, you will be sorely disappointed. Also, it often ignores your requests and kind of doesn’t work.

Nabaztag is essentially France’s answer to Japan’s alchemical ability to turn cute into cash. It costs $165, and getting it to actually read our e-mails was more harrowing than setting up a wireless network (our old Teddy Ruckspin could have done a better job). We’re honestly stumped why anybody would ever want a device like this to read their e-mail out loud. Most of our messages are along the lines of “Vi@Gra 4 Cheap!” and “Sounds good, see you at 7”—not exactly the kind of thing that needs to be spoken aloud by a frightening doll.

Or how ’bout Microsoft’s new version of the Zune music player, which comes in at #8:

Cut to this year. Apple has revamped their entire iPod line, shrinking their already-tiny Nanos and adding the iPhone’s multitouch interface to a non-phone media player. So how does Microsoft respond? By matching the size and feature set of the previous year’s iPods and not even attempting to compete on price (the updated Zunes cost pretty much exactly the same as the new iPods). It’s almost as if Microsoft didn’t anticipate Apple making a single update or change to their constantly evolving line of players.

Apple itself gets nailed for the Apple TV, coming in at #2. The worst product? Oddly, it’s something Popular Mechanics‘ editors liked, the Palm Foleo, an ultra-lightweight notebook PC. The problem?

(B)efore a single Foleo hit the shelves, Palm killed it, claiming that they needed more time to develop the Foleo 2. The bloggers won, Palm lost, and our review unit became a bizarre unreleased prequel to a product that might never exist. It wasn’t perfect, but the Foleo deserved better.

It occurs to me you might be interested in the Popular Mechanics editors ten most brilliant gadgets of 2007.  That’s here.

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One Comment on “Bad Technology”

  1. Sage Says:

    I for one will not be queuing up for one of these


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