7 Incredible gadgets that really shouldn’t have failed

The design and technology world is chock full of innovation. Unfortunately, not all ideas can stand the test of time. Perhaps there were telling signs, or perhaps the consumer just wasn’t ready, but these incredible gadgets just didn’t make the cut.

7 Incredible gadgets that really shouldn’t have failed
  • Why do gadgets fail? Usually it’s due to competition, being overpriced, or failing to meet the needs of consumers.
  • What have been the biggest recent failures in tech? Anki, makers of intelligent home robots, recently shut down despite raising over $200 million in funding.
  • Do discontinued devices become useless? In some cases, yes. It depends on whether the device relies on software and online services for which support has been withdrawn.
concept designs - 7 Incredible gadgets that really shouldn't have failed

Some products just walk off into the sunset

At Gadget Flow, we come across a lot of different technology each and every day. Whether it’s a big brand like Apple upgrading its line of smartphones or a crowdfunding campaign pioneering a new field of wearables, we can’t get enough. We even created a Concept category for all the tech that’s too good to be true (for now).

But for every fantastic product, there are plenty that fail. Some brands try to do it all too fast, losing steam either by means of funding or technological shortcomings. Here are seven incredible gadgets that unfortunately failed, along with a few concept designs we hope will become a reality.

Google Glass AR Glasses

Google’s first foray into augmented reality was cool, but ultimately ahead of its time. The consumer version died back in 2015, thanks to limited demand and high pricing. However, the Explorer Edition lives on in the commercial world.

Died: July 2015

BlueSmart Series 2 Smart Luggage

We were really sad to hear that BlueSmart had failed. This startup produced suitcases with incredible features, such as GPS tracking and device charging. Sadly, new TSA regulations banned those built-in power banks.

Died: May 2018

Otto Smart Digital Door Lock

The Otto digital lock allowed homeowners to enter unhindered thanks to wireless connectivity. Unfortunately, the product was hugely overpriced. In the end, Otto shut down after an acquisition deal broke down.

Died: December 2017

Doppler Labs Here One Wireless Smart Earbuds

Long before AirPods existed, the folks at Doppler Labs created a pair of true wireless earbuds that integrated perfectly with Google and Siri. They wanted to launch version two, but ran out of capital. A sad story, this one.

Died: November 2017

Anki Vector Advanced Home Robot

Vector was the epitome of Anki. It was super cute, and intelligent enough to recognize the whole family. Just like many other Anki products, however, Vector was pricey and lacking a clear purpose.

Died: May 2019

concept designs - 7 Incredible gadgets that really shouldn't have failed

We miss you, Vector

Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble is perhaps the greatest success and failure story of all time. This smartwatch startup created a useful device with fantastic battery life that broke records on Kickstarter. But, eventually, Pebble was outcompeted by Fitbit, Apple, and other big names.

Died: December 2016

Jawbone UP3 Advanced Tracker Fitness Wearable

Another victim of the wearable wars was Jawbone. This startup created some well-made and affordable fitness trackers, including the UP3. The problem was that the introduction of smartwatches made simple fitness trackers less desirable.

Died: July 2017

Concept designs

They say there is no point in crying over spilled milk. Instead of feeling sad about the past, we are looking forward to these concept designs coming to fruition:

Google Visual Assistant Artificial Intelligence Projector

This device could operate like a Google-powered smart speaker, with the addition of visuals. You would only need to ask to watch a movie or see live traffic.

Walnut Personal Health Fidget Toy

It might be called a fidget toy, but Walnut actually has a very serious purpose. The device contains sensors that test your blood sugar, grip strength, and hand tremors—useful for folks concerned about their health.

Lumigrids Cycling Projector Light

This ingenious bike light beams a blue grid onto the road ahead, like something out of Blade Runner. This helps to alert drivers and highlight bumps in the road.

Rest in peace

Which gadgets from the past would you bring back to life? Tell us in the comments!

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Meet Mark Myerson

Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.

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