February 22, 2024

Mid Designer

Breakaway from the pack

Ten ’80s tech gadgets that flopped

I am a child of the late ’70s and the ’80s, what a time to be alive! I don’t have many memories of the late ’70s, but the ’80s bring back vibrant memories. Tech gadgets back then were very different from what they are today. We didn’t have touchscreen capability, and serious tech gadgets were expensive.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Sure, the ’80s was a decade of plenty of technological innovation, but it also saw its fair share of flops. Here are ten of the most notable failed consumer tech gadgets from the 1980s:

1980’s Tech Gadget Flops

Sinclair C5

Flashback: Ten '80s tech gadgets that flopped

The Sinclair C5 was an electrically assisted pedal cycle that was marketed as a small one-person electric vehicle. It was devised by Sir Clive Sinclair, the British inventor who also created the ZX Spectrum home computer. The C5 was designed to be a cheap and convenient way to get around town, but it was ultimately a commercial failure.

Coleco Adam

Flashback: Ten '80s tech gadgets that flopped

The Coleco Adam was a home computer that was released in 1984. It was priced at $600, which was a steal compared to other home computers at the time. However, the Adam was plagued with quality control issues, and it was also incompatible with many popular software titles. As a result, the Adam was a commercial failure, and Coleco discontinued it in 1985.

LaserDisc

LaserDisc was a high-definition video format that was introduced in 1978. It offered superior picture quality to VHS tapes, but it was also pricier and difficult to find. As a result, LaserDisc never caught on in the mainstream, and it was eventually replaced by DVD.

Panasonic 3DO

Flashback: Ten '80s tech gadgets that flopped

The Panasonic 3DO was a 32-bit home video game console that was released in 1993. It was one of the first consoles to offer 3D graphics, but it was also one of the most expensive. As a result, the 3DO was a commercial failure, and it was discontinued in 1996.

Odyssey²

The Odyssey² was a home video game console that was released in 1978. It was one of the first consoles to offer interchangeable cartridges, but it was also one of the most poorly designed. The Odyssey² was plagued with technical problems, and it was eventually discontinued in 1984.

Videophone

Flashback: Ten '80s tech gadgets that flopped

The videophone was a device that allowed people to see each other while talking on the phone. It was first introduced in the 1970s, but it never caught on in the mainstream. This was due to numerous factors, including the high cost of the devices, the poor quality of the video, and the lack of compatible services.

Psion Series 3a

The Psion Series 3a was a handheld computer that was released in 1989. It was one of the first portable computers to offer a graphical user interface, but it was also one of the most difficult to use. The Psion Series 3a was plagued with ergonomic problems, and it was eventually discontinued in 1992.

Nintendo Power Glove

Flashback: Ten '80s tech gadgets that flopped

The Nintendo Power Glove was a motion-sensing controller that was released in 1989. It was designed to allow gamers to control games with their hands, but it was ultimately a commercial failure. The Power Glove was difficult to use, and it was also incompatible with many popular games.

Apple Newton

The Apple Newton was a personal digital assistant (PDA) that was released in 1993. It was one of the first PDAs to offer handwriting recognition, but it was also one of the most expensive. The Newton was plagued with technical problems, and it was eventually discontinued in 1998.

Zenith Data Systems Video Information System

The Zenith Data Systems Video Information System was a home computer that was released in 1983. It was one of the first computers to offer a graphical user interface, but it was also one of the most difficult to use. The Video Information System was plagued with technical problems, and it was eventually discontinued in 1984.

Wrap Up

These are just a few of the tech gadgets that didn’t hit the mark from the ’80s. There are dozens of others just like them and probably even less known. At least these tech gadgets got some attention, though not the attention they wanted.

What tech gadgets do you remember from the ’80s? What do you think of these tech gadgets on the list? Did you own any of them? Please share your thoughts on any of the social media pages listed below. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network. And subscribe to our RUMBLE channel for more trailers and tech videos.

Last Updated on July 26, 2023.

tech gadgets 80s