Tech Gadgets that were Ahead of their Time


When it comes to advancements in technology, we are never sorely lacking in tech tools that will vastly revolutionize our lives. However, some of the technological breakthroughs, while beneficial, might have been way ahead of their time which led to their ill-timed demise.

Perhaps, the market is not ready or there were issues with how the the product was launched, some ideas just aren’t designed to take root, no matter how phenomenal they are from a technological standpoint.

This article lists some of the tech gadgets that failed to gain their momentum due to bad timing. While some may not exactly be considered epic fails per se, all of them were precursors to the modern devices that we now use for our enjoyment and comfort. Let me know if you have used any of these gadgets.

HP Compaq TC1000 Tablet PC

Detachable tablet PCs may have all become the norm now but tablet computing is not really something new. In early 2000s, Microsoft was one of the first few who launched a convertible tablet with the HP Compaq TC1000 Tablet PC which basically squeezed in the entire Windows PC. While it was a great device, it never quite caught on and were only sold for a short while.

Polariod Polavision

Polaroid Polavision (2)
After three decades of research, Polaroid finally launched Polavision, an instant home movie system, in the 1970s.

It was suppose to transform the way users can view videos instantly but it was not received well by the public since it was too pricey, the movies were only two minutes and forty seconds short and the film quality was poor.

Virtual Boy

virtual boy nintendo
When Nintendo debuted its game console, the Virtual Boy in 1995, it promised to show virtual technology and 3D graphics like never before. However, people would soon find out that this 3D video gaming system was seriously flawed: a) the design was very clunky (therefore uncomfortable to play with), b) there’s nothing much to appreciate with the with red and black monotone color scheme, and c) 3D videos can cause eye strain and headache when played too long.

The virtual technology is far from over yet. In fact, Facebook acquires startup Oculus Rift that will hopefully lead the pack in the virtual reality platform.


In 1968, Alan Kay conceptualized the KiddiComp idea–a personal computer targeting children of all ages, which led to the development of its prototype in 1972.

It has striking similarities with how consumers are now using tablet PCs today. Sadly, it remained a concept and was never built because it was never meant to be mass produced.


Back then, you carried a dumb phone and a #PDA ~ that's personal digital assistant, kids! #palmpilot #palm
Palm Computing debuted its first generation of handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) devices called Pilot, in 1996. It can run apps for handwriting recognition, track schedule, to do lists, organize contacts and synchronize data by connecting the device to your computer.

What followed after the PalmPilot’s initial launch was one of the most complicated series of lawsuits, rebrandings and spinoffs until it was eventually discontinued in 2010.


qube tv
Qube was an interactive television system that paved the way for the future of American cable television. It was first rolled out in Columbus, Ohio in 1977. Warner Cable subscribers have access to 30 channels (which was more than the norm at the time) pay-per-view movies, and interactive features like bids on auctions view install poll results, video games and many more using a remote control synched with the cable box.

Its success was only short-lived due to the decline in demand and the cost of manufacturing and maintaining it was significantly huge.  Warner Cable ran into a $99 million loss in 1982 which led its business partner American Express to withhold funding and eventually discontinue it in 1984.

Microsoft SPOT smartwatch

microsoft spot watch
Microsoft initiated SPOT which stands for Smart Personal Object Technology which personalizes household appliances and tech gadgets. The first line of SPOT Watches were introduced in 2004 that enabled the users to check weather forecasts, news and receive instant messages from MSN via FM radio waves.

It became obvious to Microsoft that its limited functionality, awful design and exorbitant price tag  proved problematic for them and eventually stopped its production in 2008. They have suffered horribly from bad timing since some of the smartwatches like Pebble and Apple iWatch have slowly inched their way in the smartwatch mass market today.

Mattel Power Glove

Nintendo NES Power Glove
Before Nintendo’s Wii penetrated the motion-control gaming console in 2006, it likely was influenced after its defunct older sibling, the Mattel Power Glove, introduced in 1989.

Unfortunately, it never successfully lived up to the hype surrounding it since its motion controls hardly worked and the design was notoriously hideous.