The Gadget Graveyard of 2011

  • Gadgets That Flopped in 2011

    As you shop for holiday gifts this month, take a moment to remember the many products that aren’t on store shelves this season. For every Apple (Stock Quote: AAPL) iPad or Amazon (Stock Quote: AMZN) Kindle Fire you buy, there’s another tablet that failed to catch on and was forced into retirement. For every Wii or Xbox you look at, there’s a gaming system that never made it to the production line. Sure, you might not have bought these products even if they were still for sale, but to some die-hard fans and the people who made them, each of these items likely seemed like the next big thing – until it wasn’t. With that in mind, here are seven gadgets that didn’t make it to the end of 2011. Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks
    Dell Tablets
  • Dell Tablets

    After the iPad was released in the beginning of 2010, Dell jumped head-first into the tablet market, launching a 5-inch Android device in mid-2010 and a 7-inch tablet in the beginning of 2011, only to kill off both this year. The Streak 5 tablet was the first to go. Dell stopped selling the 5-inch device in August, which wasn’t much of a surprise since it was just a little too big for a smartphone audience and a little too small for tablet users. Dell discontinued the Streak 7 earlier this week and offered little explanation except to say that the company remains “committed to the mobility market.” For the time being, it looks as though Dell is refocusing its efforts on 10-inch tablets, offering the Streak 10 Pro in China and Latitude ST in the U.S. As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, just go back to the iPad’s dimensions. Photo Credit: Dell’s Official Flickr Page
    HP TouchPad
  • HP TouchPad

    Dell wasn’t the only business to overhaul its line of mobile products this year. Hewlett-Packard discontinued its webOS phones and the TouchPad tablet in August. The TouchPad in particular has had a longer afterlife than other products on this list, though. After the tablet was discontinued, H-P dropped the price on its leftover stock to as little as $99, causing many shoppers to snatch up what they could and pushing the TouchPad to the top of Amazon’s bestsellers list. Since then, H-P has resurrected the supposedly retired device for multiple short-lived promotions, most recently for a sale on eBay. Photo Credit: Palm.com
    Flip Camera
  • Flip Camera

    The Flip video camera was intended to be a cheap and compact alternative to traditional camcorders, but as the price of digital cameras and smartphones with video capabilities continued to drop, the market for flip cameras shrank. Cisco announced that it would discontinue the Flip line in April of this year. The company continues to advertise the cameras on its Web site, though most are out of stock for good. Chances are other video and cheap digital cameras will disappear in the coming years too. As reported, smartphones will increasingly make low-end cameras obsolete. Photo Credit: Theflip.com
    Zune
  • Zune

    The Zune was supposed to be Microsoft’s (Stock Quote: MSFT) answer to the iPod, but the company didn’t release it until five years after Apple’s portable music player had come out and never truly managed to get a foothold in the marketplace despite some positive reviews. Microsoft officially stopped selling the product in October and announced that it would make the Windows phone “the focus of our mobile music and video strategy.” Photo Credit: ace10414
    Sony Minidisc Walkman
  • Sony Minidisc Walkman

    Unlike the Zune and FlipCam, it seems unlikely there were too many active MiniDisc users by the time Sony (Stock Quote: SNE) decided to kill off its version – and I say that as someone who grew up using one. Sony introduced MiniDisc players back in the early ’90s as a kind of digital cassette tape, but the technology failed to catch on and was ultimately supplanted by recordable CDs and MP3 players. The company stopped producing MiniDisc players in July. Photo Credit: LWY
    Panasonic Jungle
  • Panasonic Jungle

    If you’ve never heard of the Panasonic Jungle, don’t feel too bad. The Jungle was supposed to be Panasonic’s (Stock Quote: PC) answer to the Nintendo DS, but the company decided to cancel plans to develop the portable gaming console in the beginning of this year, just a few months after pictures of the prototype surfaced online. In a statement, the company said it decided to bail on the project “due to changes in the market and our own strategic direction.” Photo Credit: Panasonic.com
    Napster
  • Napster

    It may not be a gadget in the traditional sense, but few technology products had as much of an impact on the tech world as Napster. The service launched in 1999 and changed the music industry quickly by giving consumers a taste for free downloadable songs. The site was shut down after a copyright lawsuit, but eventually relaunched as a paid-subscription music service. In the meantime, countless other Web sites followed Napster’s example and launched music downloading services with varying degrees of legality. In recent years, the Napster brand has been more symbolic than anything, serving as a reminder of a strange golden age when music was always free. But earlier this month, Napster was acquired by Rhapsody, another music service. Napster as we know it is gone for good. Photo Credit: Napster.com
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    Seth Fiegerman is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at Seth.Fiegerman@thestreet.com, or follow him on Twitter @sfiegerman. And if you haven't already, now is a great time to follow us on Twitter. You'll get all of our most important stories, right as they publish. Follow us @mainstr! Photo Credit: clevercupcakes
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