We’re slowly sliding into that period of the year where we talk about the best, the funniest, the most powerful, the most popular, the most successful… However, the popular magazine Inverse created a list of the biggest tech fails in 2023. The list cannot be complete without the layoffs in the IT sector, which was a strong trend this year, and, of course, they simply had to make room for Elon Musk and the name change from Twitter to X.
There are 11 different “nominations” on Inverse’s list. Although most of the things are hardware related, several events also put a stain on 2023, events that we’ll go down in history as highly unpopular.
Apple’s “Finewoven” leather replacement
Apple usually presents a bunch of different accessories for its devices, along with the hardware. Most often these are straps for watches, protection for phones, covers for iPads and so on. The company has been trying to be “carbon-neutral” for the last few years and often presents accessories from recycled materials.
The presentation of the iPhone 15 marked the end for all accessories made of natural leather. Apple replaced the leather with a new material they called “FineWoven”. The leather substitute is made of 68 percent recycled material. The material is soft, does not age like leather but it stains and scratches much easier. Because of this, Inverse placed “FineWoven” at number 11 on their list of the biggest fails of 2023.
Displace technology that attaches the TV to the wall
Displace unveiled a new wireless TV earlier this year, along with a “revolutionary” stand. The TV came with batteries, gesture control instead of a remote, and new wall-hanging technology. “Active-loop vacuum technology” allows hanging the TV without the need to screw it to the wall.
Unfortunately for them, although they claimed that the active-loop vacuum would work with any material, they failed to make a successful presentation at CES. The company continued to develop this, so today they can boast that it really works.
Surface Laptop Go 3
Microsoft has a series of Surface devices with which it tries to find an ideal device for each user. Unfortunately, they somehow always fail to create a suitable cheaper laptop that will be really useful. The caveats are that the Surface Go 3 has a battery that is not enough for longer operation. In addition, performance also suffers and it’s far from impressive.
The company behind Windows tries to save on everything. Starting with slow chips, and screens with bad resolution, ending with even worse cameras. Even with all this cuts, the device still costs $800. There have already been rumors that Microsoft is shifting its focus from hardware to artificial intelligence, which is certainly no surprise.
Nobody wants to stream through a mobile console
Razer tried with the Razer Edge 5G to convince some users that the future of gaming by streaming video games is over a 5G network. It is a tablet with 2 controllers on the side. The device resembles any standard handheld console available today. It can be used to play Android games directly from the device, or stream through one of the popular services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now and the like. As the first reviews of the device showed, the controllers are not good enough, but this is not the only problem.
Unfortunately, the time to stream games on a tablet over 5G has not yet come. This is certainly not Razer’s fault, but they may have made a bad judgement. Now we have an overpriced device, in an environment where there is still not fast enough internet. As a result, the device is now nothing but a glorified smartphone.
Dyson Zone – headphones and air filter
The Dyson Zone is a hybrid device that was meant to be a useful combination of noise-cancelling headphones and a personal air filter. The company known for vacuum cleaners unfortunately failed to impress anyone with the Dyson Zone. The main reason for this is the high price of the headset device.
Although the sound and active noise-cancelling are more than adequate, there are significantly better headphones for the same price. The air filter, in addition to helping you look like a comic book villain, helps drain the battery super fast. Without a filter, the headphones work for 50 hours, with a filter between 1 and 4 hours. For $950 surely there must be a much better device.
Nothing Chats didn’t bring iMessage to Android
At the end of the year, we learned that the manufacturer of Nothing phones is working on a new functionality. The company promised to deliver text communication between Android phone and iPhone owners that would overcome the shortcomings of iMessages. Unfortunately this did not happen. It’s a fortunate circumstance that the same week as the announcement, Apple announced that from 2024 it will introduce support for the Rich Communication Standard on the iPhone.
The failure of Nothing is forgotten. The Nothing Messages app was available on the Google Play Store for 24 hours, after which it was removed. The reason for the removal is that the method they used for communication is not end-to-end encryption.
Robocop on the streets of New York
Police in New York began testing robot police officers. Unfortunately the name is not Robocop, but K5 robot. This is probably a first mistake. The second is that a large portion of New York City’s budget is spent on the police. With the addition of the robot, an even larger budget will be needed, and at the expense of this, finances from other sectors, for example libraries, will be cut.
The K5 is used to assist the police during patrols. The robot is equipped with cameras and microphones, and can cover the entire area, it works autonomously, and it forwards all the data from the cameras and microphones to be processed in the police stations.
In addition to the K5, the New York Police Department also uses a four-legged Digidog robot.
The Tesla Cybertruck is here, but not for $40,000
When Elon Musk announced the Cybertruck pickup in 2019, many were impressed by the futuristic angular appearance of the truck. Originally, deliveries were supposed to begin in 2021, but two years later, we’re reminded that Elon doesn’t exactly respect the deadlines. This was true for Starlink and the predictions of the first colonies on Mars.
Unfortunately, the delay is not the only bad news for fans of the truck. Instead of $40,000, the Cybertruck costs $60,000, or $20,000 more.
Neuralink is not safe for animals
The company, which is backed by Elon Musk, and is working on chips that can be “plugged” directly into the brain, has nevertheless injured animals during tests. Neuralink presented some of its progress this year. For example, we could see how the monkey “Pager” plays “Pong” with the help of the chip. He played the game without any controller, and operated solely with the help of brain signals. If you watch the video you can also hear that the first controller that Pager uses is not connected.
It is disheartening to read that not all operations to connect the chips were successful. Several monkeys have been euthanized due to mistakes that led to medical complications, Wired reported.
Europe 1 : 0 American technology monopolies
With the official entry into force of the Digital Market Act, Europe has significantly made life difficult for several large American companies. Perhaps the beginning seems less symbolic, and we cannot see the complete picture, but some measures have already been applied. Apple had to add a new port to its phones and tablets, but using USB-C is generally the case for everyone now. Another example is the adoption of the RCS protocol, after Google, and several major telecom operators in Europe, began pushing for iMessages to be added to the list of “Gatekeeper” companies. Furthermore, Microsoft will have to make it possible to uninstall Edge and change Bing as the search engine in Windows. Google and Apple will have to provide alternative billing systems, and this seems to be just the beginning…
Topping Inverse’s 2023 Biggest fails list are AI demo presentations. AI Bard and ChatGPT were the stars of 2023, but that doesn’t mean it was all smooth sailing.
It is interesting that all of the biggest players in the sector had at least one mistake. With Copilot, Microsoft displayed wrong data about restaurants in Mexico, Google’s Bard presents wrong information as well, and ChatGPT has its own problems.
Here are some of the errors that you can read here. ChatGPT for example cannot recognize that there are countries in Africa on the letter “K”. Google’s Bard had a bug that was part of the AI demo. To the question “What are the new discoveries of the James Webb telescope that I can tell a 9-year-old about?”. Bard replied that “the James Webb telescope took the first photo of a planet outside our solar system.” This answer is wrong. The first extrasolar planet was photographed by Chauvin in 2004.
Regardless of these problems, artificial intelligence is the “star” of 2023.