It is not a given that all technological products have meaning for the consumers for whom they are intended. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen privacy fiascos, data breaches, broken devices and big, controversial technologies. Here is a list of what I found most disappointing in 2021.
Microsoft Surface Duo 2
No matter how Microsoft markets the second-gen Surface Duo, the device misses the point and it’s boring. A device that was once considered a new take on smartphones has been reduced to a confusing product. Although the Surface Duo 2 appears to be improved over its predecessor, it fails to convince users why two displays are better than one. That’s the whole story as to why the Duo exists in the first place. More than the concept of a faulty dual screen or the fact that it is powered by Android and not Windows, the problem is in the run level. Maybe the Surface Duo shouldn’t have come out of the lab until the company perfected it in-house.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
The Definitive Edition: The GTA Trilogy was meant to be a trip down memory lane, but it turned out to be a missed opportunity to bring classic games to a new generation. The issues started showing up as soon as the game hit the market, with numerous bugs, typos, and graphics issues. The GTA trilogy, which includes Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, was set to give high-definition makeovers to the best-selling games of all time, but the end result was unsatisfactory. Many have complained about questionable changes from the original versions of the game, ridiculous camera angles, spontaneous pools of blood, and more. While Rockstar Games apologized to fans and even tried to fix some technical issues with the games, it was just a cover-up. The GTA Trilogy is another game case (post Cyberpunk 2077) that hit the market long before it was ready.
Just hours after Amazon announced its “home robot” named Astro, the wheeled device was called a surveillance disaster. Motherboard has released leaked documents revealing that the Astro is “first and foremost … a monitoring device that tracks you and everyone who enters your home.” In an ad, Amazon touted the device as a robot that can help around the house, but making a sci-fi dream come true comes at a cost: privacy. While many would like a device like this, Amazon has been accused in the past of invading user privacy. What if the Astro was stolen and hacked? Will Amazon come to my rescue and protect the user’s identity? Until companies like Amazon do a better job of detailing and disclosing what data is logged and who can review it, devices like the Astro will continue to be described as a “minefield of privacy.” “.
Apple’s Child Abuse Detection System
Apple was at the center of controversy when it announced a controversial plan to scan photos of users looking for child abuse images. But Apple has had to delay the rollout of this “child safety” feature after privacy and civil liberties advocates questioned Cupertino for protecting the privacy of its customers. The tool, called “neuralMatch”, is said to scan photos showing child sexual abuse before those images are uploaded to iCloud. If a match is found, Apple said it would report the incident to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). It has not been clarified whether the feature will be available outside of the United States. Critics say the tool could be misused by repressive governments for political reasons. Apple’s system was supposed to be up and running this year. The backlash was a setback for Apple, as for the first time, the company’s reputation as a “privacy crusader” was called into question.
OnePlus’ first smartwatch is nothing short of a disaster and that’s a shame. The OnePlus Watch is a half-baked concept and part of a dangerous trend of launching smartwatches without the “smart” features. Running on OnePlus’ own operating system, the watch doesn’t have access to apps, and there aren’t many watch faces either. It also lacks a built-in voice assistant and contactless payment. While there are some people who would want to buy a OnePlus Watch because of its low price, the fact remains that the device is dull and boring.
The JioPhone Next is problematic on several levels, as it is expensive for the features it offers to PragatiOS, which is nothing more than a renowned version of Android Go. Although the JioPhone Next is quite a phone usable, that’s not exactly what Reliance promised. Jio would probably have a hard time convincing new smartphone buyers because they just can’t afford this device. The company has a habit of beating its competition on mobile data packs and selling hardware at low prices. So it was kind of a surprise when the JioPhone Next launched at Rs. 6,499, basically the same price as phones from Xiaomi and Nokia – the EMI option only makes the phone more expensive. The high price tag didn’t help users ditch their existing 2G cellphones, which is exactly what Jio needed to increase the adoption of JioPhone Next in the heart of India. The hype around PragatiOS also quickly started to fade as it was not a brand new Android-based operating system. In fact, the user interface mirrors that of Android GO, although there are some customizations specific to India. The “JioPhone Next” is a classic case of “too little, too late”.