Special Report

Best and Worst Gadgets of the Decade

6. Google Glass
> Year: 2013
> Company: Google

While highly innovative, Google Glass — computerized smart glasses — failed to catch on with the general public. The headset was expensive, costing $1,500 for those taking part in the beta test. It was also too conspicuous an item for many — and not just wearers, but also for people around them who felt uncomfortable. Google put the product on hiatus in 2015 but introduced the new Glass Enterprise Edition 2 in May 2019.

Source: Romazur / Wikimedia Commons

7. Fire phone
> Year: 2014
> Company: Amazon

Following the success of its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon set out to compete against the iPhone and Android with the Fire phone. Despite dropping the smartphone’s price from $200 to 99 cents, Amazon was forced to take a $170 million writedown on unsold phones. The Fire phone was retired in 2015.

Source: kazatin / Getty Images

8. Hoverboards
> Year: 2016
> Company: Swagway

The general public has eagerly anticipated the arrival of consumer-grade hoverboards for years. The technology has faced an uphill battle, however. As the popular two-wheel model began to catch on, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued an order essentially banning the import of all hoverboards into the United States due to patent claims by Segway. In another setback, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 500,000 hoverboards from eight different brands in 2016 due to their propensity to catch on fire.

Source: GoPro

9. GoPro Karma
> Year: 2016
> Company: GoPro

GoPro’s entrance into the drone market with GoPro Karma made perfect sense. Unfortunately, numerous Karma drones began to lose power while in use and plummet from the sky. The company had to recall 2,500 units of the drone.

Source: iphonedigital / Flickr

10. Galaxy Note 7
> Year: 2016
> Company: Samsung

Samsung encountered a hiccup in its popular line of Galaxy smartphones with the Galaxy Note 7. The problem was that phones were exploding due to faulty batteries. The Department of Transportation banned the devices from U.S. flights in October of 2016. The company recalled millions of devices before shutting down production of the phone, leading to a $2.3 billion writedown.

Source: Juicero

11. Juicero juicing machine
> Year: 2017
> Company: Juicero

It didn’t take long for Juicero — the company behind a $400 Wi-Fi-connected juicer — to go under. Not only was the machine highly expensive, but it also required users to purchase a subscription for blended produce packets needed to make the juice. Juicing standard fruits and veggies was beyond its capabilities. The startup shut down operations in 2017.

Source: Sony

12. PlayStation Classic
> Year: 2018
> Company: Sony

Nostalgia for old gaming systems is strong, as evidenced by the success of Nintendo’s NES Classic and SNES Classic mini-consoles. Sony, however, missed the mark with its PlayStation Classic. The system was released with limited game options — classics like Gran Turismo, Crash Bandicoot, and Tomb Raider were all unavailable. Many of the games that were released were available in their PAL versions, a television standard not traditionally used in the United States.

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