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Friday the 13th: 10 Unlucky Gadgets and Services



There are plenty of bad gadgets and technology out there that deserve to fail, but others are just plain unlucky. What better day than Friday the 13th to take a look at gadgets that might have done better if they arrived at a different time, with a lucky rabbit foot or a four leaf clover, these gadgets and services would have had a better go of it.

In some cases its timing, others it’s luck and finally some of these unlucky gadgets can’t catch a break. However you look at it, some gadgets are just unlucky.

Microsoft Spot Watch

unlucky Spot Watch

The Spot watch was introduced by Microsoft a bit before the world, and our phones, were ready for it. The Spot watch was the original connected watch, but couldn’t catch on and was shuttered in 2008. Now, 3 years later Fossil is preparing to bring a new connected watch to market that connects to your smartphone to deliver a heads up display of important information and eventually connect to apps.

Windows Tablets

Windows 7 Tablets

Windows tablets were rocking the touchscreen back before the iPad was a twinkle in Steve Jobs eye. These powerful devices delivered inking and access to full Windows applications. While they gained adoption in the enterprise and from a loyal and vibrant user community, the tablets never caught on in the same fashion as the iPad. Some would say that the Windows interface was the unlucky factor here.

Motorola Xoom


The Motorola Xoom was the first HoneyComb tablet to make it to market when it launched early this year. The Xoom is unlucky on a number of fronts. First it is competing with the iPad which has a heartier app ecosystem. Second the Xoom was rushed to market without 4G, a working SD card slot and in general had to grow up to fast. If the Xoom had a few more months to prepare, or the competition wasn’t so stiff, the HoneyComb tablet’s luck might have been different. To top things off, it’s hard to find the Xoom at many stores.

Palm Foleo

Before we had 100 different netbooks, Palm was ready to deliver a mobile computing solution, the Palm Foleo, that connected to your smartphone to give you a larger screen and a keyboard. Back in 2007, this was pretty revolutionary, but it ultimately never made it to market. It looks like Palm was unlucky and early with the Foleo as the Motorola Atrix is rocking a similar concept and selling pretty well.

Playstation Network

playstation network outage

The free online console gaming community, known as the PlayStation Network has been down since April 19th, leaving gamers disconnected and potentially victims of identity theft. Most will consider their unlucky for the service, but we’re sure some will see it as a something Sony had coming for the company’s pursuit of PS3 hacker GeoHot.

Samsung Galaxy S Froyo Update

Froyo for Fascinate

The Samsung Galaxy Fascinate is a pretty unlucky phone. While the rest of the Samsung Galaxy S family was pretty quick to receive the upgrade to Froyo, the Fascinate was left out again and again. It wasn’t until a month ago that the Fascinate finally received an upgrade to Android 2.2, long after most other Galaxy S devices. You can substitute several phones in this scenario on each carrier, but hopefully this will be the end to unlucky updates now that Google is working to deliver faster updates to phones by way of a partnership with carriers.

Droid Charge

Samsung Droid Charge

The Droid Charge is perhaps the unluckiest Android smartphone in recent memory. The Droid Charge was originally scheduled to launch in late April, when a yet unexplained 4G Network outage knocked the release date back. Now, two weeks later, the Droid Charge demo units and devices are the very definition of unlucky when it comes to smartphones — late to market and stuck in a dark warehouse.

The Cloud

The CloudVia Flickr akakumo

When you think of unlucky, “The Cloud” has to be up at the top of your list. After Amazon’s Cloud Service failed last month and the recent cloud failure at Blogger cost 30 hours of posts and comments, it’s clear that the Cloud can be just as unlucky as your old hard drive that makes clicky noises. Our suggestion, backup until your redundant backups feel redundant.


Bing Unlucky

If you want to know the definition of unlucky, Bing It! Ok, now that we’ve got that unlucky product placement out of the way, let’s look at Bing. Bing does a good job with search results, has a collection of tools and services that beat Google such as the Bing Shopping platform, but Bing is still the underdog. Perhaps Bing is another example of unlucky timing, but it could also be an example of just being plain unlucky.

Windows Phone 7


After holding on to Windows Mobile 6.5 for way too long, Microsoft finally launched the unluckily named Windows Phone 7. By this time, iPhone and Android already had a large lead. Even though Windows Phone 7 has promise its timing was unlucky because developers already have their hands full and don’t think Windows Phone 7 can catch up.

Did we miss any unlucky gadgets, technology or services? Tell us in the comments.

Calendar Image from WikiCommons



  1. Alain Chappaz

    05/13/2011 at 5:31 pm


    It always gets to me to see Tablet PC end up in lists like this. I would like to be clear – this was a Marketing failure first and foremost – capabilities of these devices were – and are – awesome ! You can rail about the Windows UI all you want, the biggest issue is virtually no one outside the tech world ever seemed to have *heard* of tablets, let alone give ’em a hands-on try. Even now, when I show folks what you can do with Windows, OneNote, and an active digitzer, their eyes bug out.

    • Blair McDonald

      05/13/2011 at 8:48 pm

       *Definitely* a marketing failure. My wife took my prior Windows Tablet (Motion LE1600 Slate, circa 2006!) to a college class yesterday, and the professor went on and on about how cool it was that she could take notes on top of the e-documents the professor had provided.  Other students in the class assumed it was much more recent technology. 

  2. ChrisRS

    05/17/2011 at 6:43 pm

    TabletPC definately belongs at the top if this list. A great product category but very UNLUCKEY, the subject of this post.

    MS and their partners failed miserably at marketing.

    MS failed strategicly by:
         Charging a premium to manufactures.
         Not promoting OneNote – the closest thing ot a killer app we have.
         Not adopting tablets internally. Original support in Office was minimal and has not increased substantially. If MS doesn’t use TabletPCs internally, how can they convince the rest of us?
          Not upgrading TabletPC on XP. The TIP improved substantially in Vista but was not availble to original XP users. Many TabletPCs were not Vista compatible, or were not usable due to lack of OEM driver support. At least some early adopters gave up and lost interest. Interestingly, many of these old Vista incompatible TabletPCs seem to work well with Win7.

    TabletPC was unlucky enough to be the redheaded stepchild in the MS family. It still is. We are waiting for Win 8 to be the MS response to the iPad. Sad. 

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