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Top 10 Overhyped Inventions

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sean Harris

Script written by Sean Harris

They promised so much, but gave so little. From LaserDisc, to Nokia N-Gage, to the Hoverboard, these inventions aren’t as great as they seem. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Overhyped Inventions.

Special thanks to our user Tristan Brown for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Overhyped+Inventions.


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Script written by Sean Harris

Top 10 Overhyped Inventions

They promised so much, but gave so little. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Overhyped Inventions.

For this list, we’ve gathered a list of products that looked sensational on paper, but failed to deliver.

#10: LaserDisc

A 12-inch precursor to DVD and Blu-ray, LaserDisc gave film fans a better picture and superior sound compared to its format foe, VHS. Yet, history shows that VHS dominated the market. LaserDisc’s big, ultimately insurmountable problem was that it cost way too much. A single unit could set you back the equivalent of $1,500 or more, with movies costing up to $80. Even then, most discs had maximum 60 minutes play, meaning you had to turn and restart at sometimes quite climactic points, and LaserDisc didn’t allow you to record. It was popular in parts of South East Asia, especially Hong Kong, and wasn’t officially discontinued until 2009 – but LaserDisc had died long before then.

#9: Nokia N-Gage

Back when the standard cell phone was still state-of-the-art, Nokia was one of the world’s most forward-thinking brands. But, contrary to the play on words, N-Gage failed to engage anybody. Released in 2003 and retailing at around $300, the handheld console’s awkward shape, clunky buttons, small screen, and questionable collection of games left users hugely unexcited. One of its most entertaining aspects was that it looked like a taco – and that tells you everything you need to know. The 2004 release of a follow-up attempt, the N-Gage QD, was a marginal improvement, but the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS soon saw off what proved to be very weak competition.

#8: Hoverboard

Of all the things that “Back to the Future” promised us, we couldn’t wait until technology advanced enough for hoverboards. Could there possibly be anything cooler than floating through crowds a la Marty McFly? Unfortunately, real life hoverboards, AKA self-balancing scooters, were less than impressive. They cost a small fortune, proved devilishly difficult to control, and they kept randomly exploding. The safety issues especially put lots of people off the idea of levitating and caused many major cities to ban boards from the streets. Developers are still honing designs so that one day we all might fly, but for now the invention is likely to crash and burn. Literally.

#7: Smartwatch

It works for a phone, so why not a watch? Smart tech is increasingly, sometimes inescapably, everywhere… But the smartwatch has continually struggled to catch on. Depending upon your device, these things can play music, send emails, hold calls, take photos, load maps, browse social media – and tell the time. It’s a personal organiser, data analyser, mini compass, and health monitor. But why do you need all of that on your wrist, when you have it in your pocket? And do you even want so much information poking out from your shirt sleeves? No matter the hype, the jury’s still out on this one.

#6: Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Released in 2016, the same year as Apple’s consistent but relatively uninspiring iPhone 7, the Galaxy Note 7 could have been Samsung’s defining moment in the smartphone wars. Instead, it almost blew Apple’s biggest competitor out of contention entirely. A manufacturing defect in the Note 7 battery led to multiple reports of phones overheating, and in some cases spontaneously catching fire. Samsung were forced into a series of international recalls, costing an estimated $17 billion at least, and inflicting serious damage on the company’s reputation. Before they started blowing up, some critics had labelled these phones as game changers, but it was quickly game over. Samsung had hoped for hot sales, just not like this.

#5: Nintendo Wii

It’s a gaming industry juggernaut, but Nintendo has had its fair share of dud devices – not least its mid-90s version of VR, the Virtual Boy (xref). However, the Wii is Nintendo’s most memorable anti-climax. Released towards Christmas 2006, it topped wish lists around the world, and was initially well received and critically acclaimed. For a while, motion sensor tech was all anyone was talking about, and every man, woman and child was hooked on “Wii Sports.” But the glory was short-lived as the console eventually succumbed to PlayStation and Xbox, and the little white box disappeared from our living rooms. The once ultra-exciting Wii remote is now but a relic of a bygone gaming age.

#4: Segway

Conceived in 2001, some predicted Segway would soon become the planet’s favourite mode of transport. But most buyers couldn’t justify a cost of up to $7,000 given that there existed zero infrastructure for Segway use, and confusion reigned over its legal limits. Some countries barred them from roads, others said no to sidewalks, and some banned them all together. The hype quickly fizzled out, and Segway turned from new-age innovation to novelty item. Today, it’s most famous for wiping out Usain Bolt, and for somewhat ironically causing the death of Jimi Heselden, a British entrepreneur who in 2010, having recently bought the company, lost control of a Segway prototype and fell from a cliff.

#3: Windows Vista

Following on from the massively successful Windows XP, Vista set out to improve Microsoft security – and it did. But everything else about the ill-fated operating system left users scratching their heads and/or pulling their hair out. Increased hardware requirements meant many PCs couldn’t convert, despite Microsoft assurances that they could, while licensing issues and an avalanche or user prompts fed growing frustration. In 2009, when Windows 7 came to kill it off, optimistic analysts argued that Vista had been a success, acquiring 400 million users and becoming the second most widely used system on the net. The most popular OS, however? That would be XP, retaining millions more who simply refused to upgrade.

#2: 3D TV

Around the release of James Cameron’s “Avatar” in 2009, 3D TV sparked another dimension of anticipation. After years of toying with the tech, it seemed we’d finally see our favourite films and programs convincingly pop out from flat screens. During the initial rush, soccer matches, golf tournaments, political events, beauty pageants, and major TV releases came with 3D capability. But buyers were never whole-heartedly convinced, and the advent of 4K screens and curved displays meant that 3D glasses seemed oddly out-dated. By 2017, the likes of Samsung, Hisense, Sony, and LG had all dropped 3D tech. After a sensational rise, it was a spectacular fall.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

Microsoft Kinect

Oakley THUMP Sunglasses

#1: Google Glass

The inventive journey to Google Glass is reasonably easy to trace. From desktop to laptop, to hand-held computing, smartphones and wearables, the eyes seem a logical next tech target. But when Google rolled out its revolutionary eyewear, the world blinked, blinked again, and gave a resounding “No!” A head-mounted optical display enabling you to capture photos and video from your own line of vision, there had been a huge buzz around Glass pre-launch. But safety and privacy concerns quickly dwarfed the supposed benefits of having social media within inches of your iris. Introduced in early 2013, by January 2015 Goggle had dropped the prototype as the sci-fi specs just couldn’t live up to eye-watering expectations.

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