This year was loaded with amazing tech stories, both good and bad. But there were some pretty huge blunders that left us with our jaws wide open, staring in disbelief at our screens as we wrote up the news stories. Here are 10 of the biggest tech blunders of this year that we can think of.
Apple MapsDoes this one really need any real explanation?
Did you see it when it launched? Sure, it's OK for basic navigation, but it's still downright awful and, thankfully,
CEO Tim Cook had to issue an apology.
Google's Nexus Q
You might be wondering what the Nexus Q even is. Google unveiled it earlier this year along with the Nexus 7 tablet, but quickly pulled it from its shelves. The Nexus Q was supposed to be an NFC-based home media solution that allowed you to pair your phone or tablet and stream content to your home media center, but it was heavy, over priced and consumers didn't have long to order one. Yeah, this one was certainly a blunder because we're not even sure why it was ever announced in the first place.
Microsoft Surface RT Pricing
Microsoft entered the tablet market this year with its Surface RT, which most pundits thought would go head-to-head with the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. Instead, Microsoft launched the tablet with a sky-high $499 price tag, and that's before you toss in the cheaper $119 touch cover. Ouch! It's a tough tablet to recommend, too, because it runs on an ARM-based processor that doesn't handle standard x86 Windows applications. Instead, you're limited to a starved app store.
LightSquared Goes Bankrupt
LightSquared was desperately trying to launch its own 4G LTE network, which it was going to use to help build-out Sprint's own 4G nationwide network. Unfortunately, the company ended up filing for bankruptcy after the FCC repeatedly said that the firm's wireless signals would interfere with GPS satellites. The whole situation was a mess, especially because Lightsquared said the government's testers had close ties with the GPS industry. Sprint ultimately continued to build out its 4G LTE network, but without any help from LightSquared.
Sony Botches its Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Roll-Out
This one came as a shock only recently. Sony said that it was going to update several of its 2012 Android phones to Jelly Bean, but it left out several of them. That's inexcusable, especially since other companies such as Motorola are rolling out the update to devices that launched in 2011. Anyone who bought an Android handset in 2012 should be able to expect that the hardware is beefy enough to handle Jelly Bean.
Instagram's ToS Debacle
Instagram recently decided to update its terms of service with a few terms that suggested it would place its user's photos into partner advertisements. The entire tech community created an uproar, and Instagram quickly backtracked and went to a different terms of service. The new rules seemed better on the surface, but they actually left Instagram with more control due to language that was more vague than the "newer" ToS. What did we learn from it? Unless you can understand legalese, or plan on filing a class action lawsuit, your content is probably being used to generate revenue in some way. If you don't like it, then you should probably stop posting your content online.
Facebook made its initial public offering earlier this year and its stock was officially traded beginning on May 18th. It closed the day at its all time high of $38.23. The stock is currently trading in the $26 range, but the stock fell as low as $17.73, and the company received a lot of flack after the IPO after Morgan Stanley botched the launch. Ultimately, the state of Massachusetts decided to fine Morgan Stanley $5 million for breaking securities laws. Still, Facebook itself has failed to prove to investors that it has a solid revenue generation plan in place. We've since seen the addition of advertisements, and Facebook also purchased Instagram with hopes of generating additional revenue from the service.
RIM Delays BlackBerry 10 until 2013
All eyes were on RIM earlier this year as the company continued to miss earnings estimates and lose global market share. The company surprised the world in June when it said that it was pushing its newest BlackBerry 10 operating system until 2013. We now know that the Canadian-based BlackBerry maker will unveil the operating system on Jan. 30th, along with at least one fresh new smartphone, but in early 2012 we all expected RIM to make moves this year. Hopefully the extra time in the oven was worth it, since the launch will essentially make or break Research In Motion.
HP Says it Needs to make a smartphone (after killing webOS)
Last year HP killed webOS. Then this year the company's CEO Meg Whitman said this gem of a quote: "We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that would be your first computing device." Well that's fascinating. HP had one of the most robust mobile operating systems and, while it lacked an equally robust app store, it decided to completely kill the mobile OS after buying Palm. How bizarre. We assume the company will move forward with Android or Windows Phone, but who knows, maybe webOS has some extra life left in it.
Microsoft's Metro UI, or Whatever It's Called
Microsoft launched Windows 8 this year and, despite some poor feedback from analysts and consumers, we actually like the new operating system. The problem lies in the Metro UI experience, which is supposed to make consuming news, alerts and more much easier, thanks to the live tiles. Unfortunately, live tiles aren't always up to date and the metro UI is a bit confusing when there's a perfectly good and more powerful desktop experience that consumers are used to. Worse, Microsoft doesn't really call it Metro UI anymore, which makes it more confusing to consumers. Instead, consumers can refer to it as the "Windows 8 Modern UI." Whatever that means.
Well, 2012 certainly proved to be interesting, didn't it? We can't wait to see what's in store for 2013. Can you think of any other tech blunders we missed this year? Let us know!
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