Technology moves at an incredible pace. Old tech gets replaced, new tech gets introduced. But sometimes, new technology doesn’t live up to the original hype. Let’s take a look at these 10 tech products, software or developments in the last decade, and whether they hit the mark or missed it.
1. Ride-hailing (Software)
Remember a time when most of our parents warned us against getting into strangers’ cars right? There were safety concerns at the start when Grab and Uber came onto the scene, but now, I think we can safely call this a hit. Uber might have left the SEA market, but Grab, since its launch from June 2012, is doing well with a valuation of over US$10 billion and has diversified to food delivery, parcel delivery, payment systems and more.
2. Google+ (Software)
Oh, Google. Their attempt at making a social media platform backfired terribly when they started forcing people to create a Google+ account to do things like comment on YouTube or create a Gmail account.
Recent data leaks also sped up the decision to completely shut down this service. But honestly, it never had the same draw as Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms because of fundamental errors in how Google wanted this platform to work.
3. Microsoft Kin (Product)
Nobody would blame you if you were utterly confused at never having heard of this product before. It’s possibly the most short-lived product put out by a major tech company. Microsoft launched the Kin phones, targeted at consumers between 15 and 30 years of age, back in April 2010 as a collaboration between them and Verizon in the United States.
The phone sold badly, to the point that after 48 days on the market, Microsoft discontinued the Kin and cancelled all plans to bring it to markets outside of the USA.
4. iPad (Product)
While the disastrous Kin from Microsoft failed, the iPad exploded (in popularity). Going on sale around the same time as the Kin launch (April 2010), the iPad sold 300,000 units on the first day of availability.
With an estimated 10.1 million iPads sold in Q3 2019 according to a report by Strategy Analytics, there’s no doubt that the naysayers from the iPad’s launch have been silenced. You can check out our review here.
5. Windows 8 (Software)
I remember the outrage on social media when Windows 8 was announced. The squares! The hard to use interface! It was a big departure from the well-received Windows 7 OS. Microsoft’s push to make a more tablet-friendly operating system backfired because of the sheer number of people using a mouse and keyboard instead of a touchscreen laptop or tablet.
With only 60 million licenses sold and all support pulled after 3 years and 3 months (in comparison, Windows 10 has 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support until 2025), Windows 8 is one of Microsoft’s shortest-supported operating systems.
6. VR (Development)
VR draws mixed feelings. Some people think it’s useless and a gimmick, others love it for the possibilities it has opened up. Mainstream VR as we know it started in 2012, when Palmer Luckey started a Kickstarter campaign for the first Oculus Rift headset, raising US$2.4 million in funds.
Fast forward to 2019, and companies like Samsung has given up on their VR projects, but others are still going strong. VR is still a big thing in the gaming industry, with Mark Zuckerberg announcing in September 2019 that Oculus has surpassed US$100 million in sales on their store. I personally think that VR is a hit, with Greenlight Insight estimating a worldwide VR total market forecast of US$34.5 billion by 2023, but for the general consumer right now, it might not be all that applicable until prices drop further or the technology develops more.
Verdict: Potentially a hit
7. 4G LTE (Development)
The world’s first-ever 4G network was launched in mid-December 2009, with the majority of other countries launching 4G in 2010, 2011 or 2012. Moving to 4G from 3G was a huge jump, with up to 10x jumps in speed.
4G LTE has made it possible for plenty of other important technologies such as cloud computing, voice over IP and more to happen. And honestly, can you remember what it was like waiting for a video to load over 3G? Because I can, and a lot of apps and software that we use nowadays would not be possible without 4G LTE implementation. I wouldn’t call it a “hit” per se, but it’s definitely one of the most important technological developments of the decade.
8. True Wireless Audio (Development)
Audiophiles might disagree, but with advancements in Bluetooth technology, true wireless audio products have taken the market by storm in recent years. Products like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless show that you can have excellent sound quality in a wireless package, while Sony’s WF-1000XM3 have brought their stellar noise-cancellation tech to wireless earbuds.
Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX technology has evolved to the point where wireless products have more stable connections and are able to still sound good while having the convenience of being wireless, and this market will only continue to grow.
9. Samsung Fold (Product)
I have to preface this point by noting that the Huawei Mate X has technically gone on sale, but seeing it’s only available in China at the moment and with no announcements on worldwide availability, we’ll be speaking about the Samsung Fold as the only widely-available foldable phone as of end-2019.
The Fold screeched to a halt in mid-2019. Reviewers were finding issues with the phone left and right, from the screen protector that looked like a protective film to be ripped off to debris getting into the hinges and causing damage to the screen. That didn’t stop Samsung however, they recalled the review units, announced a delay and went back to the drawing board.
They finally fixed the issues and officially launched the fixed phone in September. While the phone is expensive, we do have to keep in mind that this is a new form factor that cost a lot in R&D. As time progresses, prices will drop and this technology will be a lot more readily available. Samsung took the time to make things right, and they should rightly be credited with being pioneers of the foldable phone, which I have no doubt will be a hit in the future.
Verdict: Potential hit
10. Huawei (Development)
This is an ongoing development, but it has already impacted Huawei. The restrictions imposed by the American government on American companies doing business with Huawei has resulted in Huawei not using any US-produced components in their Mate 30 phones, while Microsoft had to acquire a license to export their software to Huawei.
Whether or not this causes damage to Huawei remains to be seen, but Huawei’s market share increased to 17% in 3Q19 from 13.4% in 3Q18.
Verdict: Yet to be seen
What other tech developments do you think were a hit or a miss?