Top 5 tech fails of 2016


As 2016 draws to a close, many aspects of technology can be reflected upon. The year was a mixed bag of emotions. While we saw a glimpse of the future with hoverboards and self-tying shoes, we also saw some bizarre inventions such as smart spoons for kids. But amidst those were products and companies that failed to live up to expectations. Let’s take a look at the biggest fails.

5. LG G5 and its Friends

When the LG G5 launched earlier this year, there was tremendous consumer anticipation. Its all-metal build and curved design was appealing but LG focused more on the G5’s modularity. The bottom of the device could be ejected to replace its battery or attach camera controls. Additionally, you could pair the device with “Friends” including a 360-degree cam, a 360 VR headset and some proprietary headphones.

Consumers rejected LG’s Friends

While the idea was innovative, it failed to kick off. LG’s Friends were priced too high for the average consumer and excessive use of modules led to alignment issues with the phone’s chin. Despite featuring top-of-the-range specifications rivaling other flagships, the G5 failed to gain traction. In the end, LG acknowledged its disappointment with the phone failing to generate sales and have since ditched the concept on the flagship V20 smartphone.

4. Elon Musk’s troubles

Both the Tesla Model S and Model X pack a great deal of technology for a car. Evidently, Tesla has faced production and delivery issues with its products. While some Model Xs have uneven swing doors, others suffer from distortion of headlights because of the curved windshield. Some users have complained about locking steering wheels or how unsafe autopilot is in certain situations.

Not only were there Tesla and SpaceX setbacks, Musk also had to deal with seeing his preferred US presidential candidate fail to beat Donald Trump

Elon Musk has described this year for Tesla as “production hell” and while that sounds bad enough, 2016 also saw a blow to his SpaceX programme. Days before the Falcon 9 was set to launch, the satellite carrier exploded, resulting in a loss of approximately $60 million (Dh220.4 million). While Musk’s companies have suffered throughout 2016, let’s wish for a better next year on their behalf.

3. Yahoo’s Security

What is worse than having your security breached once? Getting breached twice. With Yahoo’s mail service in decline, its security is following suit. In September, the company announced at least 500 million user accounts had been compromised in 2014. While this was named the largest data breach in history, what followed was beyond belief.

Dark times at Yahoo’s Sunnyvale HQ

Three months after the announcement, the company went on to reveal yet another breach dating back to 2013 where one billion user accounts were leaked. Users who suffered were rightly notified and urged to change their security information, but the company suffered too. Not only did Yahoo’s stocks fall by 2.5 per cent, its rumoured acquisition by Verizon for $4.8 billion has also come to a standstill. Yahoo has committed to keeping consumer security a priority but with consecutive hacks, it is hard to trust the company.

2. Freedom 251

This year has seen some incredible budget smartphones for as low as $50. But at $4, the Freedom 251 had trouble written all over it from the start. For the price, you’d be getting a 4-inch display running Android 5.1 with the help of a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. Complete with microSD support and a reasonable 8MP camera, the phone was too good to be true.

There’s value for money, then there’s overpromising

The company behind the smartphone, Ringing Bells, announced the phone in February this year only to deliver 5,000 units by July. With the initial hype dying out, more than 65,000 pre-orders registered for cash on delivery were left unattended with the company believed to slowly phase itself out of business. There is tremendous potential for affordable smartphones in the coming years but asking for one at the Freedom’s price is bordering insanity.

1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7

I know you saw this coming. Samsung’s Note series is one of the most popular the company has ever produced. However, this year was quite explosive for the company, in a bad way. Following a strong start to sales of the Note 7, reports emerged of the smartphone exploding. With more users reporting the same until the company issued a global recall of the device.

For the record, our first look device seemed perfectly fine

Many cited this as a brave move on Samsung’s part but to the company’s dismay, replacement units too saw the issue persist. The exploding devices jeopardised private property and public safety one too many times until Samsung decided to discontinue the smartphone altogether. Owners were provided refunds for their Note 7s but even with the second global recall, the smartphone remains prohibited in many flights as a precaution. The saga resulted in an approximate loss of $3 billion for Samsung and to consumers, the loss of arguably the best smartphone of 2016. Time will tell how Samsung recuperates from this but let’s hope for the best.

With the year coming to an end, it’s time to put all the road bumps from 2016 behind us. There are lessons to be learnt for both consumers and companies. You cannot hold a grudge because mistakes are bound to happen. And there will be quite a few in 2017, I’m sure. Do you agree with the fails outlined above or did we miss any important ones? Let us know down below.