Not all tech products succeed once on the market, and some are killed off with little warning. Flashback looks back at failed tech products to see what we can learn by studying their demises.



Latest Episodes

#12: The Amazon Fire Phone

January 19th, 2021 · 60 minutes

This time, Quinn and Stephen look back — in 3D! — at the Amazon Fire Phone. Between its operating system, unusual gesture system and a price that was way too high, it was dead on arrival. After that, the guys go shopping for each other, picking out some unusual products that bear Amazon's name today.

#11: The Nexus Q

January 5th, 2021 · 53 minutes

In 2012, Google announced a sphere-shaped media player that was meant to be used with a TV or sound system. It was a disaster. However, nearly a decade later, set-top boxes are nearly everywhere. How did the market move past a weird Google product to offer a wide range of compelling products?

#10: Pebble

June 18th, 2020 · 47 minutes

The smartwatch movement didn't start with Apple or Google, but a little company named Pebble. Through a series of hugely successful Kickstarters, the company put out several well-reviewed products before being steamrolled by the platform-makers.

#9: The Apple III

June 4th, 2020 · 46 minutes

The Apple II was a big hit, but before the Macintosh took over, Cupertino shipped a couple of duds, the worst of which was the ill-fated (and kinda melty) Apple III.

#8: The Microsoft Kin

May 21st, 2020 · 34 minutes

Microsoft was late to the smartphone party, and its first entrance, the Kin, was designed for teens and young adults who didn't want or need an iPhone, Android phone or Blackberry. The only problem? That audience didn't really exist.

#7: AOL Instant Messenger

May 7th, 2020 · 41 minutes

It is time to add Stephen and Quinn to your Buddy List.

#6: The Be Computer Company

April 23rd, 2020 · 41 minutes

Started by former members of Apple's leadership team, Be was formed to take on the Mac and other computers of the mid-90s. The company wrote its own operating system and shipped dual-CPU towers before failing to be bought by Apple and slowly fading away.

#5: Three Failed Game Consoles

April 9th, 2020 · 57 minutes

On this episode, Quinn and Stephen explore three failed game consoles: the Apple Pippin, Nintendo Virtual Boy and the Ouya.

#4: webOS

March 26th, 2020 · 73 minutes

With its webOS hardware, including the Pre, Pixi and more, Palm (and later HP) tried to take on the giants of the early smartphone wars. While webOS was hugely innovative, it wasn't enough to break into the most important market in consumer electronics history.

#3: The GM EV1

March 12th, 2020 · 63 minutes

Electric cars may seem like a 21st century phenomenon, but they are far from modern invention. Along the winding path to the present was the GM EV1, the first purpose-designed electric vehicle. It went on sale in 1996, but within a decade, General Motors had recalled and crushed almost all of them.