2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 8: Five Tech Flops

Sometimes, what didn't work is as newsworthy as what did!

 
2012 TechTree Wrap-Up Part 8: Five Tech Flops

  • A foolhardy way of killing the competition.
  • A new smartphone that nobody wanted.
  • Promise of speed not quite delivered.
  • Cool laptops killed by price.
  • "Like" becomes a cardinal sin.

So these are the five flops that stand out in our books. Read on!

1. Apple Removes Google Maps And YouTube
This year saw Apple beginning to remove, from its devices, anything and everything Google-related — including YouTube and Google Maps. The reason? Google owns its arch rival, the Android mobile OS. However, the move backfired as there was no real alternative for either YouTube or Google Maps. Google was quick to release a YouTube app, so users didn't get to feel the heat. However, the iPhone-maker remained adamant with regards to Google Maps, replacing it with Apple Maps when the iOS 6 update came out. The Google Maps app was eventually released a few weeks ago, but the delay was long enough to reveal the significant deficiencies of Apple Maps. These ranged from rendering issues to outright inaccurate location results.

2. The Flagship That Wasn't: Nokia Lumia 900
Nokia, the once-number-one manufacturer of mobile phones, decided to go with Windows Phone in a big way last year — with a partnership with Microsoft. It did find some success with the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 smartphones. The Lumia 900 was, however, a misadventure. The launch happened in the US on Easter, and there were simply no shops open for the phone to be sold. It came with Windows Phone 7.5, while the next big version (Wndows Phone 8) had already been announced. Basically Nokia launched a smartphone based on an older platform, charged a premium over the existing model, and did not add significant features to make it worth the premium. A flop in our books — especially considering that the Lumia 900 did not even reach Indian shores. More recently, of course, Nokia redeemed itself with the Lumia 920

3. 4G In India
Even while parts of the country don't get proper 2.5G speeds, let alone 3G, the next standard — 4G — was announced in India. Many sections of the media, and enthusiats alike, hailed the development, but it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib — after it was found that these 4G plans were only for use with data cards. Most devices that operate on 4G LTE (a standard used in the US) are incompatible with the 4G standards that have been adopted in India (which actually happen to be newer and better). On the upside, newer devices will be able to use the 4G standards here. (On the downside, it's a flop for now.)

4. Ultrabooks, Ultraprice?  
Whatever the statistics may say about urban India's disposable income, the mantra of "cheap and best" still works. Little wonder, then, that Intel's Ultrabook platform has not taken off here. Concept-wise, it is appealing: Ultrabooks are smaller than conventional notebooks, and may sometimes be as small as netbooks with screen sizes as low as 11". They are thinner and lighter than regular laptops, but are usually just as fast (if not faster). SSD storage and specialised low-power Intel processors in a unibody chassis are typical features of this class. Announced and launched in the US in 2011, it arrived in India only in 2012 (which is why it figures on this list). The device category is not a flop per se, but sales in India have been. 

5. Freedom On The Internet
This one needs no explanation. The blatant abuse of Section 66A of the IT Act has all of us worried; it's a major flop as far as governance and the spirit of democracy is concerned. But there's some solace in the fact that, while the law remains open to misinterpretation, the government has made it mandatory to get prior approval of the Inspector General of Police (in metros) or the DCP (in urban / rural areas) before using this section to take action against anyone.


Tags : Mobile Phones, Laptops, Government, Telecom, Intel, Apple, YouTube, Google, Nokia, Lumia, 2012 Special, Jayesh

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