The Fizzled Five: Overhyped Technology

The Fizzled Five: Overhyped Technology

Chris Perez
Sep 11, 2012

People love technology, and love gadgets. Companies know this, and they often do their best to release new devices or features that they claim will change the way you do things. Most of the time it's all hype, and often times we'll buy into it — only to later discover that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Here, a roundup of what I think are five of the most overrated tech devices and features. Do you agree?

1. Segway

To me the Segway has to be at the top of the list. When it debuted every news station was talking about it: "This is going to revolutionize transportation". (I'm just realizing I watched daytime news then.) They unveiled it, and although it's very cool, I'm just not convinced it's the revolutionary invention they claimed it would be.

The Segway fizzled and now serves as not much more than a fun way to tour the city, or an indoor vehicle for mall cops. It likely didn't catch on due to price and practicality. Where do you park one of those things anyhow? Do you chain it to a bike post?

2. Siri

Ok, be honest with me. Do you really use Siri? Does it really work? Is it faster than manual entry? It's no secret that I think Siri is pretty useless. I've yet to encounter someone that uses it reliably* or with any convenience even close to what's shown in the commercials. Siri gets confused on business names with more than one word, gets stuck waiting for better reception, and most of the time just has no clue what I'm asking. After three attempts, I do things manually — maybe even quicker than Siri may have been in the first place. I hope Apple is making some serious improvements to the voice recognition software, because right now it's broken. I'm definitely not going to ask her for the score of the game in a public place, because she just won't understand me.

*Full disclosure, I JUST met someone who claims to use Siri reliably, but I'm going to need to encounter a whole lot more to tip the balance in its favor.

3. 3D Movies

Again, lots of hype, lots of disappointment. 3D was touted as being the next big cinema revolution, but it rarely impresses. Part of the fault is that content has been diluted by studios converting standard video to 3D just to put a "3D" label on the finished product and charge a higher ticket price. When 3D is done well — Transformers 3, Hugo, Avatar — it is impressive. It's just not mind-blowing, and definitely not the way you want to view all your content.

4. Facetime

Another Apple feature makes the list because they have mastered tech hype. Watching one of the first ads for the iPhone 4 and Facetime makes you feel like you're watching the last scenes of Titanic — you want to cry but, must… hold… back. After watching those advertisements I was ready for the video revolution. Yet again, all hype. I can't remember the last time I used FaceTime, I forget I have the option until I walk by a billboard or see an ad — and most of my friends have iPhones! It's not used because Apple doesn't do a good enough job of letting you know when you can use it. There should be big bright "Answer in Facetime" and "Call by Facetime" buttons when you receive a call from a capable iPhone or call a contact with an iPhone — then we all might use it more.

5. NFC Technology & Google Wallet

Lots of press conferences and media hype surrounded the mobile payment solution that would be Google Wallet. Yet, it all realized into a pipe dream that couldn't make an impact due to lack of partnerships with credit cards, and a shortage of compliant point-of-sale terminals. A new version of Google Wallet has just recently opened up the service beyond Citi Mastercards, but until nearly every vendor has an NFC-compliant terminal it's going to be hard to get in the habit of using it.

That's my hyped-five. What do you think is the most overhyped technology?

(Images: 1. Shutterstock 2. Apple, Shutterstock, Animation Dynamics, Google)

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