Google Glass And Microsoft HoloLens: The Decade’s Biggest Tech Failures

The Google Glass defined failure.

There was a lot of technology to celebrate over the past decade. However, the 2010s were also overstuffed with gadgets that promised a lot and did very little. When the initial hype died down on several products, they turned into a joke. Let’s take a look at the two biggest tech flops of the past decade.

Google Glass

Oh, my! Where do we start with this one? Do you remember (especially if you lived in Northern California) going out and seeing people with a weird thing that looked like glasses attached to their head, except it wasn’t really glasses? If you don’t, you certainly didn’t miss much.

The Google Glass, which started out at $1500, had a square light prism that beamed information into your eye. It was supposed to help you while driving, but it actually was more of a distraction.

To make things worse (or better for perverted ones), you could easily take pictures of people without them knowing. I’ll never forget using these at 24 Hour Fitness, and people complained to the front desk. I was angry then, but I completely understand now.

Google’s Glass could be voice-operated, but one could only expect it to recognize what you say three out of five times. Whatever it could do, the Glass couldn’t do for long since the battery barely lasted an hour. If you charged it several times, the battery depleted. It was one of the most frustrating and useless things I’ve ever owned.

Microsoft HoloLens

Microsoft's HoloLens sold for $3,000

The best thing that could be said about Microsoft’s HoloLens is that it really did seem to have a purpose — at least when it was announced. The $3,000 price tag was very hefty, but one could take solace in the fact that they could sell it for more if they wanted. (I sold my HoloLens $4,300 after using it for a month.)

The HoloLens aimed to be the first major Augmented Reality device. Unlike virtual reality devices, which brought you into completely different worlds, AR put objects on top of your world. You could look at your wall and see an alien come out. You could even set up your own AR movie screen on your wall (the thing I did the most with my HoloLens).

The HoloLens actually ran on a 32-bit version of Windows, which really wasn’t nearly powerful for a lot of tasks. It ran on several different finger and hand gestures — all which worked to varying degrees of success. If you were doing simple things like displaying a dancing ballerina in the middle of your room, the flimsy hand gesture controls weren’t too much of a disability.

The fatal flaw of the HoloLens was the very narrow field-of-view. For example,┬áIf you placed an AR globe on your chair and looked directly at it, you were likely to see the whole thing. However, if you moved your face too much in any direction, the globe would be “clipped” and your immersive experience would be ruined.

At the beginning of 2016, everybody was talking about the HoloLens. At the end of 2016, nobody cared. The HoloLens is a rare hardware failure for Microsoft, who has otherwise done pretty well this decade.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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