Tech Fails of 2011: It's Never Too Soon to Admit Defeat

The soothsayers have read their bones and are predicting the flops of 2011. Here are some products we're pretty sure have no future.

Welcome to the Future

This is the year 2011. Flying cars are commonplace. You can get a day's worth of nutrition from one easy-to-swallow supplement. And, oh yes, Microsoft now owns planet Earth.

Ok, so maybe this isn't exactly the future we predicted decades ago. That said, the year ahead of us will see technology that no one could ever have predicted in 1950. Smartphones that are as powerful as computers. 3D television. galore. But there will also be some spectacular failures.

This is What You Get with Lady Gaga as Your Creative Director . . .

Polaroid is an American institution. Known for its instant film, Polaroid was synonymous with genius, creativity and fun. So as Polaroid's "creative director" Lady Gaga embodies the attributes of Polaroid past (although "genius" may be strong). So what products did they conspire to deliver? Sunglasses that take photos! Taken from the pages of Transmetropolitan, the GL20 Camera Glasses can take or receive uploaded photos and then display them on the glasses' little LCD screens. Sounds cool, no?

No. How practical are these? And they're hideous. See the video here. They look like Bono's glasses mated with Truman Capote. The price is not yet set, but we predict it will be way too high.

Image from Polaroid

Samsung's Tablet with a Physical Keyboard

Every company on the planet is jumping on the tablet bandwagon in an attempt to grab some of the sales numbers that Apple's iPad has earned in 2010. Samsung, known for its home electronics, entered the fray with a feature not found on the others: a physical keyboard that slides out from the back of the unit. The 10-inch touchscreen on the Samsung Sliding PC 7 is comparable to all the others on the market and for the most part is unremarkable. The keyboard is a neat idea, but we feel that the general public will still choose to spend the $699 asking price on an iPad. Or perhaps the CES 2011 show-stealer, the Motorola Xoom.

Image from Samsung

Instant Custom In-Ear Headphones

While extremely convenient, earbuds are, for the most part, uncomfortable. Sonomax thought of this and developed the Sonomax Soundcage. The concept behind these earbuds is having the flexible silicone buds form-fit into your ear canal. Normally, custom earbuds can take weeks to produce. The Soundcage can produce custom buds in seconds. The downside? These $200 headphones look really, really dorky.

Image from Sonomax

Groom. Suck.

For the shaggy dog owner, buying a vacuum cleaner that can effectively suck up dog hair is something of a must-have. This question is for you dog owners: Have you . . . and be honest here . . . ever tried to vacuum your dog? You know, put on a brush attachment and give him a "pat" with the vacuum? I have tried that. And in the animal kingdom, there are few things scarier than a vacuum cleaner. My dog ran when she heard the vacuum . . . even before attempts were made to vacuum her.

Unfortunately, the engineers over at Dyson are not aware of canine behavior and have produced the "Dyson Groom". I suppose we don't need to further explain why this gadget will fail. Unless it also comes with doggie Valium.

image from Dyson

How Skynet Conquered the Humans

LG announced it will be releasing appliances with "THINQ" technology. In simple terms, appliances like your washing machine will have an LCD screen that will show results of self-diagnostics and what to tell customer service if there's a problem. The appliances can also have services and upgrades sent to them via a Wi-Fi connection. All of this sounds brilliant. But will consumers be willing to shell out extra bucks to have their fridge Wi-Fi enabled? Let's hope not . . . or soon you'll be running from a T-1000 oven with orders to terminate you. Mark my words.

Image from LG

Oakley 3D Glasses. Seriously.

Those 3D specs they give you in the theater are ugly. GL20 ugly. The home version of 3D glasses? UHHHGULY. What we need is a pair of 3D glasses that actually looks rockin'. Since, you know, NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOU when you're watching a 3D movie. Oakley doesn't care. They're pretty sure you'll shell out $120 for the 3D Gascans -- something you'll only wear in the dark.

image from Oakley