It’s April Fools’ Day, which means somewhere there is someone trying to pull a prank on you. And it’s your job to ensure that they don’t succeed. But unfortunately, when it comes to technology, trying to stop what should have been an April Fools’ Day joke is pretty much impossible.
When companies release their products, they undoubtedly have the right intentions in mind. They want consumers to enjoy their creations and buy them in bundles. But that doesn’t always happen.
The tech industry is overrun with products that have no business going to store shelves. Those products fail to satisfy the desire of consumers that want usability, affordability and, perhaps most importantly, uniqueness. The products would have been better suited as April Fools’ gags. That’s why we’ve decided to take a look at 10 products that we wish were April Fools’ Day jokes. You’ll find some software, hardware and even Websites.
1. Windows Vista
Microsoft might have sold millions of copies of Windows Vista, but to call the company’s last operating system anything other than a mistake is, well, a mistake. Windows Vista failed on several fronts. First, it was a security nightmare before the release of Service Pack 1. It also required a far more capable machine than most people were running at the time, making the switch to the new OS a costly endeavor. Once enterprises buyers examined Vista, they decided that they wanted no part of it. All that fails to mention that vendors allowed customers to exercise downgrade rights just so they wouldn’t have to be stuck trying to sell the OS. Yep, an April Fools’ joke called Vista would have been just fine.
2. BlackBerry Storm
Feeling pressure from Apple, RIM decided that it needed to jump in on the touch-screen market with the BlackBerry Storm. The issue with the Storm was that its screen needed to be depressed just to access an application. Users, expecting iPhone-like functionality, had some trouble determining how to use the device. Once they got the hang of it, they wanted more apps from the BlackBerry App World, which paled in comparison to Apple’s store. The Storm was one blunder after the next. And it probably should have never been released.
3. Apple TV
Apple TV is a fine product that delivers iTunes content directly to a television. It’s arguably one of the better set-top boxes on the market. There’s just one issue: Apple doesn’t care about it. Every chance it gets, Apple points out that the Apple TV is a “hobby” device. The company hasn’t even offered a substantial upgrade to the product in years. Apple TV has an incredible amount of potential, but by ignoring it, Apple has made us wonder why it even released the device. Doing so has only made us want more, which, so far, Apple is unwilling to deliver.
4. Google Wave
Real-time collaboration and communication sounds like a great idea. But those who have used Google Wave have quickly discovered that it might not be as great as Google wants us to believe. The issue with Google Wave is that most folks were confused about how to use it. Plus, it didn’t provide a level of value that users had come to expect from Google. The service is still available to a limited number of users, but Google’s relative silence on it tells us everything we need to know about Wave.
Good Intentions Turned into Bad Products
5. Windows Mobile 6.5
As Apple offered a revolutionary product to the mobile market, Microsoft prepared Windows Mobile 6.5, a mobile operating system that failed to deliver anything unique or worthwhile. It was so bad that even Steve Ballmer admitted that his company “screwed up” in the mobile space. It’s no laughing matter. Since Apple joined the mobile fray, Microsoft’s market share has dropped significantly. It hopes that Windows Phone 7 Series will right the ship, but there’s no telling if it actually will.
6. Internet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 6 might have been released years ago, but its impact is still felt today. Currently, there are millions of people around the globe still using the security hole that was Internet Explorer 6. And the worst part is, the browser was the precursor to current versions of Internet Explorer that still fail to achieve the kind of usability and reliability that their competitors do. Internet Explorer 6 was arguably one of the worst products Microsoft ever put out. And in a perfect world, it would have been an April Fools’ Day joke.
7. 3D TV
At CES back in January, 3D TV was all the rage. Companies like Panasonic and Samsung said that future televisions they plan to offer will include 3D functionality so users can “immerse themselves” in the environment on-screen. Some folks are saying that 3D technology will be the next big thing since HD. Let’s hope not. As nice as 3D might be for a couple hours at the movies, it makes little sense at home. Few people will want to watch a sporting event or their favorite sitcoms in 3D. It might be neat at first, but the novelty will wear off in no time.
8. Twitter Peek
The Twitter Peek is one of the most useless products ever released. The idea behind the device was simple: Users could buy a mobile gadget that would allow them to post updates to their Twitter profiles. It was designed for those people who don’t like to surf the Web while on the go, but still would like to check out Twitter. The device’s premise would have made great sense for an April Fools’ Day gag, but unfortunately, it was the real deal. And the worst part is, it’s still available for $100 or $200, depending on the kind of monthly service plan users want.
9. Palm Pre
When the Palm Pre was first announced, some folks were saying that it would be an iPhone killer. They tapped the device’s multitasking capabilities to prove their point. And then the Pre launched. And all those things that the prognosticators didn’t see when they first learned about the device were made blatantly clear when they got their hands on it. The Pre suffered from battery issues; its WebOS interface was subpar; and due to a severe lack of applications, it was very much a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kind of device. Needless to say, it didn’t kill the iPhone. But it’s nearly killing Palm.
10. Every Twitter clone
When Twitter took off and celebrities started moving to the service, a slew of Twitter clones were launched across the Web. Some were certainly better than others, but they all aimed to do one thing: be as successful as Twitter. They all failed. The main problem with all those services was that they tried too hard to be Twitter. They didn’t realize that what the social network offered was unique and incapable of being successfully duplicated. And they all just ended up as a wasted space on the Internet. They would have been better off as April Fools’ jokes.