12 awesome gadgets that flopped

Somewhere in an alternate universe, the Earth 2 version of me is typing this article on a brand new Commodore Amiga sipping from a can of Crystal Pepsi when his Palm Pre 4 buzzes with a new CU-SeeMe video call. Unfortunately, in this universe, the best products don’t always win.

Sure, you love your smartphone, but can it run the full version of Microsoft Office or Photoshop? Toward the end of the last decade, a few intrepid manufacturers sold tiny 4- and 5-inch notebooks that weren’t much bigger than today’s supersized handsets. The best of these so-called UMPCs – short for Ultramobile PCs — was 2010’s Viliv N5, which ran Windows 7 on its 1.3-GHz CPU and 4.8-inch, 1024 x 600 screen.


With the 1-pound N5 in your pocket, you could write real programs, build websites, or edit docments, all on a clamshell device that fits in your pocket and sports a generously-sized QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, consumers focused their affections on shallow slates like the iPad. No more coding while standing on the subway for me, thanks to you.


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