When Google announced Chromebooks in 2011, the company said that it was trying to target enterprise users and educators, as well as consumers. The only trouble is, IT decision-makers balked at adopting the devices and educational institutions ignored them. That leaves consumers. And as one might expect, they ignored the devices, too. Expect that to happen again this year.
Apple iPhone 3GS
Although Apple's iPhone 3GS is available for free, making it a great entry-level option for any consumers, there's really no reason to buy it. The smartphone is outdated, many apps aren't optimized for it any longer, and with the iPhone 4 coming in at just $99, dropping the extra cash is worth it.
Any BlackBerry Smartphone
RIM has been lost in the smartphone space for years now. In 2012, the company is expected to continue down that path by delivering smartphones that come with physical keyboards, small displays and sub-par touch-screens. It's about time you move on to something a bit more forward thinking.
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
At the same time, buying the BlackBerry PlayBook either for the office or for the home is a mistake. The device only recently saw its software updated to include native email and contacts support, but it's still missing BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Messenger. It's the also-ran in a market that's filled with really unique (and appealing) tablets.
The Cisco Cius is another one of those tablets worth ignoring. Sure, it's designed for Cisco customers who want to extend the functionality of the hardware they already have, but with so many other compelling tablets, why waste time with Cisco's device? Plus, it's running Android, making it a nonstarter for many enterprise customers.
Apple iPad 2
OK, OK, this one might come as a surprise. But listen up: Apple is reportedly planning to launch the iPad 3 at the beginning of March. Why would you want to buy the iPad 2, which will be obsolete in just a couple weeks, when a new tablet from the world's top hardware maker is right around the corner? Make no mistake, the iPad 2 is a great device, but it won't be able to match the iPad 3. So, hold off before buying Apple's soon-to-be-outdated slate.
If you look hard enough, you'll find some netbooks are still sitting on store shelves at Best Buy. However, most analysts agree that they will eventually die off at the hands of tablets and Ultrabooks. So, why buy a netbook now? It's better to go with those options rather than a dying product category.
Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Barnes & Noble recently announced an 8GB Nook Tablet for $199. The move was designed to put that tablet on the same playing field as its chief competitor, the Amazon Kindle Fire. The only trouble is, Barnes & Noble's device lacks all the cloud-based features that come with the Kindle Fire, and from a design perspective, Amazon's option wins out. Those looking for a cheap tablet should choose the Kindle Fire over the Nook Tablet every time.
Amazon's Kindle is the reason today's consumers are so willing to buy ebooks rather than hardcover books. But with the iPad, Nook Color and Kindle Fire delivering far superior e-reading experiences, it's time for Amazon to retire its old e-ink friend. Color and interactivity matter in ebooks. And right now, only more advanced devices are delivering that to ebook buyers.
There was a time when Apple's iPod was the only worthwhile mobile product to buy. Nowadays, though, the device is becoming an afterthought. Apple is bundling iPod functionality into the iPhone and iPad, and people just aren't willing to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a device that does one thing really well. Sorry, but it's about time the iPod says good-bye.