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Major Mobile Fails – The Technology that Didn’t Work

Back to Blog  •  Posted on July 1, 2014 by admin


With the excitement of new mobile technologies, it can be easy to forget the ideas that didn’t work out. For every iPhone there are a dozen failed ideas that seemed to show just as much promise to their inventors. Today, we’ll be looking at some of these failed ideas, and dissecting the reasons why they flopped.

1. Adobe Flash MobileIn 2005, Adobe truly believed that flash could be seamlessly ported on to mobile devices, allowing content creators and programmers to work and share their technologies on the go. In a way they were right: in 2007 Adobe revealed functional mobile Flash technology compatible with a variety of platforms. Unfortunately, this was the same year that Apple released the iPhone, which completely eschewed Flash (Steve Jobs felt the technology was “unreliable and insecure”). Without the support of Apple, and with no real allies in the industry, Adobe Flash Mobile was quickly discontinued.2. Microsoft SPOT

An alternative view of mobile technology, Microsoft’s SPOT program was meant to allow watches, radios, and kitchen accessories to display basic web information such as dates and weather. While a neat idea, its release in 2004 made it look rather unappealing in the face of smartphone technology, with its questionable pricing plan (a $59 a month service) essentially dooming the project.

3. Ricochet

Conceived of as a large-scale network sporting quick connection speeds for the time, Ricochet was a good idea released before its time. Although 21 cities across the United States installed ricochet routers in telephone poles, street lamps, and other areas, very few customers subscribed to the expensive monthly service. Simply put, demand for universal wireless internet was a lot lower in 1994 than it is now, and the company’s tiny consumer base couldn’t possibly allow it to recoup its initial investment. Ironically, a combination of a worsening economy and poor management caused Ricochet to declare bankruptcy in 2001, just as its ideas were taking off.

4. QR Codes

The most modern piece of mobile technology on this list, QR codes have been virtually everywhere for the past few years. Unfortunately, actually scanning them has proven unpopular with mobile users, who tend the see the exercise as pointlessly indulging advertising. While the situation could certainly change, right now QR codes are looking like another piece of clever, but unpopular mobile technology doomed by their implementation.