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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  87 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubskiers, what was a product that was a good idea at the time, but failed for one reason or another?

I humbly submit the Tapwave Zodiac and the Nokia N-Gage. One was a PDA meant to be a gaming machine, the other was a Cellphone meant to be a gaming machine. Both suffered from some questionable design choices, but ultimately they failed for a lack of consumer interest and an almost non-existent game library.




kleinbl00  ·  87 days ago  ·  link  ·  

...because nobody had ever come up with a portable gaming device before?

The Tapwave and N-Gage weren't "a good idea at the time" they were inadequate, derivative attempts to cash in on the dominant trend in portable electronics.

They didn't even fail the most awesomely.

user-inactivated  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm aware of prior handheld video games, from Football and Basketball, to classic TIGER and Game&Watch LCD Games, to the Game Boy, Game Gear, Lynx, and Sega Nomad. I'm also familiar with the The Tiger GameCom, Neo Geo Pocket, Wonderswan, and the open source GP32 (which still sounds awesome to this day), as well as the Gizmondo.

I chose the Zodiac and the N-Gage because they were two devices that tried to combine two different core functions. One a PDA that doubled as a game centered device, the other a Cell Phone that doubled as a game centered device, which again, seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, both suffered from design problems and limited libraries, and as a result, suffered lackluster sales.

The Gizmondo, while still technically having a GSM antenna, was at it's core a gaming only device, which is why I left it out. But yes, that machine was an embarrassing failure.

I'm still waiting patiently for The Phantom to come out.

Edit: Dude, this is a crazy article. Thanks for sharing it.

Edit 2: Going back and double checking the specs, it looks like the Gizmondo was treading similar territory as the Zodiac. So it fits as another good idea, bad failure.

kleinbl00  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I chose the Zodiac and the N-Gage because they were two devices that tried to combine two different core functions.

Look at it, though - you still can't make a phone call with a Nintendo Switch. Phones have become gaming devices because they fundamentally represent ubiquitous computing. Once you're carrying around a CPU, someone will monetize every.single.aspect of that CPU.

From a hardware aspect, the n-gage was basically the Danger Hiptop but with a shitty keyboard. Yeah, the Hiptop wasn't considered a gaming platform... but the n-gage didn't have any games either so that's not really an advantage.

user-inactivated  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    you still can't make a phone call with a Nintendo Switch.

Because Nintendo doesn't want to capture the cell phone market and back then, they didn't need to try. They knew that their dedicated gaming consoles were guaranteed money makers and their expansive libraries and market presence more than made up for the lack of functionality.

I remember the T-Mobile sidekick. I always thought it was pretty cool. When one of my social worker friends was in college they ended up taking American Sign Language for their second language requirements and they told me about how popular and useful these devices were for the deaf community back then.

Since we're talking about functionality and weird designs, do you remember the Nokia 7280 at all? The thing didn't even have a numerical keypad. It was weird.

kleinbl00  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

First ad campaign I ever worked on:

KapteinB  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    The thing didn't even have a numerical keypad.

The picture in that article made me chuckle. "Stress å skriva meldinga" roughly translates to "writing messages is a pain".

user-inactivated  ·  86 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ha! I love it.

I can't imagine this phone sold all that well. Fashionable or not, a phone without a keypad sounds like some kind of punishment if you ask me.