Consumer tech in 2017 was full of ups and downs (well, a lot of downs) and we have seen plenty of great ideas and trends fizzle out.
With each Nintendo Switch and Amazon Echo yin, there’s the yang of Snapchat Spectacles, Samsung Note 7 and Lily drone missteps.
Here are what we think are the top five biggest tech disappointments and losers of 2017:
Oh, the sad demise of the traditional headphone jack on smartphones. The “courageous” n0-headphone jack future started with iPhone 7 and as with any trend that Apple introduces to the mass market, other smartphone makers are quick to follow suit.
I’m sorry to break the news, folks, but the 3.5mm headphone jack is not coming back to iPhones. Thanks to Apple, people are actually realizing the convenience of using wireless headphones and with the ever-improving sound quality of Bluetooth audio, it looks like headphone jacks on smartphones are going the way of the sliding physical keyboard.
Bezels and physical home buttons
Another trend that Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone makers are pushing is the ditching of the bezel and the removal of physical home buttons on their flagship phones. Edge-to-edge display technology is where it’s at, folks!
As seen on the Samsung Galaxy phones, the Essential Phone, Google’s Pixel 2 and the iPhone X, it looks like fat bezels on smartphones are following the headphone jack to the pages of tech history.
Amazon’s novel solution to the growing porch package theft problem didn’t really set the world on fire when it launched in November. With Amazon Key, customers are supposed to let delivery people into their homes via smart lock access and drop their packages inside.
Guess what, a majority of customers found it creepy. And talk about alienating a huge chunk of your target market, you’re not even allowed to get it if you have a pet dog! A huge security bug that lets delivery people “freeze” the camera also didn’t help matters for Amazon’s ambitious plan. Let’s hope there’s a plan B for 2018.
Apple’s HomePod is supposed to be its answer to the Amazon Echos and the Google Homes of the world.
With fancy audio terms like real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, multi-channel echo cancellation, it promises to outdo its smart speaker competition with its sound quality than its virtual assistance capabilities.
Unfortunately, it’s not ready for primetime yet and Apple’s delaying its release to 2018, totally missing Santa’s sleigh run for 2017.
The Essential Phone
Google co-creator Andy Rubin’s Android project, the Essential Phone, was supposed to have the goods to rival the flagship phones from Apple and Samsung. It also sports a beautiful edge-to-edge screen and unlike other Android smartphones, it is completely free of bloatware out of the box.
Unfortunately, a sobering security lapse that inadvertently revealed the driver’s license information of essential customers and really sluggish sales prevented this promising phone from being the contender that it was trying to be.
20 tech gifts anyone will love
Countdown to Christmas! It’s only two short weeks away! That means time is running out to cross everyone off your gift shopping list. You still have a little time before panic mode will set in, but the clock is ticking. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.