Most frustrating tech products of 2016: AirPods, Google Home and more

|December 26, 2016 0

Soubhik Mukherjee

The first computer I ever owned had a hard drive which could store a whopping 1.5 GB of data, and was running on a 64MB ram. It took me and my father 15 minutes to carry the UPS up to our flat on the 2nd storey – and then Windows 95 happened. Now, I carry around a thumb drive, which is smaller than my thumb, and can store 128GB of data. Every year we, humans, are breaching new frontiers in computing, and telecommunications front. We are making ungodly technological advancements, planning to send humans to Mars as a private enterprise (SpaceX), making smartphones which outwit the computers onboard the Apollo 11, and more. But this piece is not going to discuss that.

Every now and then even the best of tech companies create something absolutely unnecessary, pointless, or useless – basically devices that frustrate you, about how the promised potential wasn’t reached, or how the hype just wasn’t worth the final product. Here’s our laundry list of the most frustrating tech we saw unveiled in 2016.

                                 

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The wire for wireless AirPods

Apple decided to ditch the jack on its flagship iPhone 7 device, and introduced the AirPods. Once the din around losing these wireless (yet powered with kickass sound quality) earphones died down, the accessory market was flooded with $10 wires to hang these on. Forces you to ask – what’s the point of AirPods then?

Apple Watch 2

Why? It is absolutely same as its predecessor, except for the fact that it is waterproof. As far as wearables required to track physical activities go, Fitbit beats it hands down. The major issue here is, who is the perfect audience for the product, given the high price of ownership. Sure it is water resistance, but will it be able to handle the rough and tumble of a triathlon? Again, if you are on the go a lot, but surely you can look at your phone screen while standing the queue to check in your baggage, or while you are walking to the parking lot. It is far from being a necessity in your daily life, and continues to be a luxury which sets your monthly budget back by a fair bit.

Sony PlayStation VR

Gamers across the world were looking forward to the launch of PlayStation VR as it was expected to be cheaper than the Oculus Rift, and promised to offer better user experience than the HTC Vive. The final product has left a majority of fans underwhelmed. The best part is, it doesn’t require an expensive gaming rig to deploy- connect it to your PS4 and you are good to go. But the performance suffers due to cutting of corners – you can’t walk away too far from the system as it has only a single tracking camera. But one point which seals the deal in favour of Oculus over the PS VR headset is the immersive experience – with Oculus Rift you are lost in the virtual world, but with PlayStation VR, the headset light sealing mechanism leave a lot to be desired, and you are constantly aware that the world outside your game is just a step away. Also, for India users, it is yet to hit the markets despite a promise of October release and that just adds to the frustration!

HTC Bolt / HTC 10 Evo

HTC’s flagship device for the year, and among the first smartphones to come with Android Nougat 7.0 OS starts off on the wrong foot – why would you power the phone with the Snapdragon 810 with known issues, when you have the option of going ahead with the upgraded Snapdragon 820 chipset. 810 is notorious for its heating issues, and accompanying performance slowdowns, which Qualcomm had (to an extent) addressed with the 820. Also, its delay in launching it in India has allowed Motorola to launch the Moto Z with Nougat here, making you wonder, that when the company does launch it in India, what exactly will be the talking point around the phone?

Google Home – the most dangerous of them all!

Google’s idea behind Google Home might be a noble one, that its smart voice-activated speaker – will follow my commands and handle the light switches, change the channel, search for music or type something into a search bar again. But, the idea is that it does not work all the time. And saying OK Google after all my commands, all the time, actually frustrate me to the core. There are certain basic devices on which I would want it to work, but it won’t work at all like, iTunes.

Lastly, have they not seen Terminator? Or for that matter the more recent, Age of Ultron? Machine getting sentient ends with our doom and destruction! #JustKidding

Have a happy 2017, folks!

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