3 Biggest Surprise Tech Flops of 2011

These big ideas gave way to sometimes laughable results

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Xoom, Motorola

At the Consumer Electronic Show in January, it looked like the technology manufacturers of the world were ready to steamroll Apple with a plethora of new tablet PCs. The iPad no longer would have the market to itself, and machines like Motorola‘s (NYSE:MMI) Xoom — with its brand-new Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) mobile OS, called Honeycomb and made specifically for tablets — would lead the charge. At least, that’s what the press said.

The Motorola Xoom hit stores in late February and barely was noticed by consumers, despite a massive advertising campaign. Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry said in April that Motorola manufactured between 500,000 and 800,000 Xooms this year and sold between 5% and 15% of that stockpile. At best, Motorola sold just 120,000 Xooms. At worst, it sold 25,000. Meanwhile, Apple sold more than 9 million iPads in the second quarter.

There is no tablet market. Just an iPad market.

Google TV, Google

Television has changed dramatically in recent months. Disney (NYSE:DIS), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) and CBS (NYSE:CBS) have watched their respective networks — not to mention cable providers like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) — continue to lose viewers to streaming video services like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).

Of course, the Internet hasn’t taken over the living room quite yet. It looked like it might last fall when Google released its Google TV software in Logitech‘s (NASDAQ:LOGI) Revue set-top box and Sony‘s (NYSE:SNE) Internet Television HD TV sets. No dice. The platform — a search tool that lets people look for TV shows on cable, networks and Web sources simultaneously — was panned by critics for being unusable. Those aforementioned networks also moved quickly to block Google TV from accessing their websites, forcing users to watch shows through traditional means.

Sales of Google TV ready devices have been abysmal. How abysmal? A Thursday report at TIMN, reprinting an official statement from Logitech, said returns of the Revue Google TV set-top box actually have outpaced sales. The price of the device has dropped from $250 to $99.

As of this writing, Anthony John Agnello did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter at @ajohnagnello and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.


Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, http://investorplace.com/2011/08/3-biggest-tech-flops-2011/.

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