Christmas is just around the corner, which means this year is living its final days. As always, in technology, it’s been a very busy year and as we near its end, we recount what didn’t we like, because, what we did like is on our Christmas shopping list, right? While some of you might already think about what is expecting us in 2013, let’s see where were we let down this year.
This years’ losers might be next year’s winners, so it’s essential for companies to admit their mistakes and fix them by offering the user a well-crafted product/service with no hassle at all. You want your customers simply to use what you offer them and not to complain.
What let us down in 2012
I’ll try to be as objective as I can, but, obviously, this top varies from person to person, so, if you don’t consider it to be fair, it simply means you’ve got a better opinion about that company/product. For example, there are folks that don’t think RIM was a disappointment this year, mainly because they’ve been with the company for a few years already. The same could be said about Surface RT, Microsoft’s first commercially available tablet.
Gadgets that disappointed us
It’s Microfost’s first tablet – the Surface RT and it’s hardly a stunner like Apple’s first tablet was. Maybe we had too many expectation from Microsoft but surely this could have been a better device. Not to mention that the “RT” has created a huge confusion amongst consumers. It’s not a bad tablet but also it’s not one that would stand out of the crowd and wave at you, saying – “hey, I’m the toughest tablet around, what are you waiting for?”. And reviews suggest exactly that – you want to like it, but you can’t.
Nexus 10, Nexus Q
Most of us were pleasantly impressed by LG Nexus 4, probably thanks to it affordable price. But things aren’t the same with Nexus 10 and Nexus Q. Google wanted to surprise journalist when it announced Nexus Q, a media player that was entirely made by Google. Albeit Nexus Q had a sexy design it didn’t appeal to many consumers, probably because of its high price, so Google simply had to stop selling it. They’ve done it silently, but, still, it’s a small stain on their reputation.
And if Microsoft’s Surface RT is the rival for the iPad, then Google’s Nexus 10 should be its death enemy, right? Well, once more, the iPad stays unchallenged. First of all, Nexus 10 has a really bad design. It doesn’t have 3G, not to mention 4G…And, as always, there are only a few optimized app for it. Also, it doesn’t have expandable storage.
PlayStation Vita should’ve been a real hit for Sony but sadly, it doesn’t live up to expectations. It actually takes the No.1 spot in a similar report from Wired. Apparently, there are no games for it and from Day 1, developer support has been almost none. Therefore, obviously, those who bought it didn’t have quite a big collection of games to choose from, even if the console, hardware-speaking, wasn’t that bad.
Software that disappointed us
iOS 6 (Apple Maps, especially)
This is one of the most talked about fiascos of this year, because, yes, it comes from Apple. Users have very high expectation from the Cupertino company, so when something goes wrong, there’s rage everywhere. Apple Maps has been a horrible experience up until the moment when Google has released the Google Maps app in the AppStore (which has surpassed 10 million downloads in a week). Besides the Apple Maps issue, iOS 6 can be found guilty also with: clumsy email experience, inability to delete Apple-made apps, Siri (we’re talking about it below) and other small, annoying problems.
Voice command technology
Siri – the name that comes into your mind when you think of voice commant technoloy. There’s S-Voice, as well, Google Now and Windows Phone’s TellMe. But, this year, we didn’t see too many updates in this seemingly fast-growing niches. Personally, I was expecting Siri to be much smart, alas, it isn’t like that. And probably if it weren’t for LG’s Magic Remote with voice recognition, it 2012 would’ve been a total letdown in this field.
Geeks and folks that read technology news might understand the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8/Pro but try and explain that to the regular user. People will want Windows 8 on a $500 tablet, not Windows RT. It’s too late for Microsoft to create a more “dumb” version of their Windows 8 and call it Windows RT. It worked for Appled with Mac and iOS, but they made the implementation flawless. For many out there, Windows means Microsoft Office, so when they’ll hear that they can’t access all of it, I am 100% sure they’ll be quite shocked.
Android’s late updates
Don’t you find it pretty weird that there are some beast out there, quad-core smartphones that don’t have yet the latest Android running? The Android fragmentation is an old issue, but I really don’t understand why does it take such a long time to update a piece of software to stunning hardware? Beats me…
Companies that failed to impress
Facebook (IPO failure + privacy issues)
Facebook’s IPO failure is a disappointment for the company itself and for those who have invested in it. It hurts them the most. For us, it’s a disappointment because it shows us that the company isn’t as strong as we used to think – the digital economy hasn’t probably reached its maturity. But a bigger issue than the IPO failure is the how Facebook handles our privacy. And 2012 hasn’t been a year were users of Facebook have felt that they own and control just about anything that’s linked to their account.
What’s there more to be said about RIM? There are so many stories out there, that you already know how bad things are for the Canadian company. But probably a crucial moment for RIM was when NY Times ran a story called The BlackBerry as Black Sheep which actually talked about how people feel ashamed of using BlackBerry phones.
Then, more and more U.S agencies have started to replace BlackBerry phones with iPhones, which was a direct hit in RIM’s main client base – the enterprise field. The world prepares for BlackBerry 10, which will also have some neat features such as free wi-fi calling. But after it was so many times delayed, I’m afraid it just might be too late for them.
Nokia (fake demo big mistake)
Everybody knows things are bad for Nokia, this is nothing new. But Nokia made things even worse when they decided to fake the demo that was presenting Nokia Lumia 920, a smartphone that’s not that bad, if you can ignore its monster-truck size. Even if Nokia is Microsoft’s main partner for Windows Phone, the Finnish company didn’t even have the “honor” of launching the first device with Windows Phone 8 – it lost that to Samsung’s ATIV S smartphone. There are many other things that we’re not satisfied with Nokia, but let’s leave it at that…
Since Google bought Motorola, not much activity has been coming from them. During Google’s “reign”, the single out of the ordinary thing that happened was the launch of the Motorola Razr i, with Intel’s processor inside that reaches 2Ghz. Google launched Nexus 4 in partnership with LG, saying that Motorola is not yet ready for this. Also, recently, Google sold Motorola Home for $2.35 billion. All this makes me think – has Google really bought Motorola for their patents?
You probably haven’t heard, but Zynga has had a huge list of executives that left the company. After a failed IPO, just like it’s “cousin” Facebook, bad things have started to happen at Zynga – more and more executives have started quitting the company. So, it came to no surprise when Mark Pincus’ name was found on a short list with the worst CEOs of 2012, compiled by the WashingtonPost. But things weren’t bad only on the inside.
Even the games that Zynga’s making recently don’t appeal anymore as they used to. The company keeps on cloning popular games like Fruit Ninja, Tiny Tower and many others. And, as Wired UK puts it:
It seems like everything Zynga touches in the mobile space turns to mud
Games that have disappointed
- Duke Nukem Forever: if you can get past the fact that we had to wait for such huge time for this game to be launched and not consider this a disappointment, then you should try the game. Or, better yet, don’t waste your time and take our word and of the entire gaming community – it’s crap.
- Diablo 3: another game that could’ve been launched much, much earlier. Just have a look at this Google page with results and you’ll understand why it makes our top. Server problems (horrible login issues in the beginning), uninspired end game, cartoonish graphics are just a few reasons. But the biggest of them all is probably the sensation that it could’ve been much better.
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2013: this is probably the single game I had time to install and play. I always liked better ProEvolutionSoccer series than FIFA, it just seemed more “realistic”. But, this year, I am seriously disappointed. The game is only slightly improved and when compared to the improvements that FIFA has made, it makes me admit that KONAMI is ruining a game with a huge potential.
There are many other disappointing games, but we’re only going to enlist them and not talk about them, because those that are gamers I’m sure know the reasons quite well for their disappointment. Here are some more letdown games of 2012:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
- Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
- Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor
- 007 Legends
- Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Resident Evil 6
- Medal of Honor: Warfighter
- Kinect Star Wars
- Ninja Gaiden 3
- Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
- SoulCalibur V
- Silent Hill: Downpour
- The Amazing Spider-Man
Other tech disappointments
- The American patent system: this is probably the biggest of them all, but it’s not characteristic only to 2012. However, this year we saw how fierce the battle between Apple and Samsung was, up to the point when we started to view it as being ridicule. And then there were many other patent wars that I’m not going to talk about. It’s a patent system that’s fair from perfect and instead of stimulating companies to innovatie, it makes them litigate.
- Sony SmartWatch: it was $190 at launch, folks! That’s almost half that you’d have to pay for a nice smartphone for this Christmas. Since then, the price has fallen down to $110 on Amazon and it’s understandable why – it fails to impress. I personally played with such a device at MWC 2012 in Barcelona and I can confirm that the plastic feel and overall, its construction, have let me down. It remains an awesome concept, but there are many other smart watches that are worth your money.
- LG Nexus 4 launch: we’ve recently written a dedicated article about this, it’s called Google Nexus 4 Launch – a Disaster of Catastrophic Proportions. I’ll admit to you that even now I’m waiting for the product to be in stock once again. I can’t imagine why Google is handling THAT bad the ordering and shipping of their flagship smartphones. Isn’t this what they wanted – demand, demand, demand?