November 2, 2008 // 7:45 pm
- Whether victims of excessive hype or consumer stinginess, these would-be sizzlers are likely to fizzle this holiday season.
T-Mobile G1 - Price: $179 (with two-year contract)
Google's hotly anticipated push into operating systems for mobile phones was a media sensation, but HTC's version of its Android-powered device is falling short of the hype. Critics say the "Google phone," which went on sale Oct. 22, is a little clunky with design flaws like no earphone jack and an oddly jutting chin. Close, but no iPhone killer.
Zune video MP3 player - Price: $230
Microsoft's latest answer to the iPod, with 120 gigabytes of storage and a 3.2-inch high-resolution color screen, is a vast improvement over the original Zune, which debuted in 2006. But the new Zune faces the same problem as the iPod: Smartphones and other Web-enabled devices chock full of features (think iPhone) threaten to render these one-trick players obsolete.
MacBook Air - Price: $1,800
Apple's not known for its fashion victims. But the MacBook's ultraslim design, introduced in January, starved the sleek laptop of fattening conveniences like a DVD drive and an Ethernet port. After a booming reception, the Air's popularity flagged as consumers opted for more fully-featured notebooks. The Air sits in the not-so-glamorous 52nd position on Amazon's most popular notebook list, as of Wednesday.
Sony Blu-ray DVD player - Price: $399
Unlike the Beta vs. VHS video format battle two decades ago, Sony won this war over the next generation of DVDs. But the victory over Toshiba's HD-DVD standard didn't help move Sony's pricey DVD players off store shelves. "The format war was a good excuse [for consumers] to put off [their next DVD] purchase," said Majestic Research analyst Richard Klugman. "Now people are asking: 'Is it worth it?'"
Spore videogame - Price: $45
Popular Mechanics called it the year's No. 2 breakthrough product and Fortune heralded it as the videogame of the year. But Electronic Arts' "Spore" hasn't been such a big hit with consumers. Nintendo's "Wii Play," Harmonix's "Rockband 2," and Electronic Arts' "Madden NFL '09" have swept the top-selling honors this year. "Spore" ranks No. 87 on Amazon.com's top-selling videogame list, and users on GameSpot give it a ho-hum 7.7 rating (out of 10).
Nikon D90 DSLR Camera - Price: $1,000
High-end cameras seemed headed for a blockbuster Christmas a few months ago when they consistently topped lists of the most-researched consumer electronics products on the Web. But with consumers wallets firmly shut as the economy sputters, these big-ticket replacements for the old point-and-shoots aren't looking so promising. That's bad news for Nikon, whose new D90 comes with high-definition video - a first for a digital SLR camera.
Navigon 7200 GPS - Price: $500
GPS devices were a big hit last Christmas as oversupply and heated competition drove down prices. Today's leading navigation gadgets now fetch less than $200, or about 30% less than a year ago. Nostalgic for 2007 prices, Navigon released this summer the 7200, which comes loaded with new premium features like live traffic reports and 3-D screens. But are a few extra bells and whistles worth $300 to budget-minded consumers? Happy trails.
Vista Home Premium - Price: $260
Need we say more? Only two machines with Microsoft's latest version of Windows appear on Amazon's list of 25 top-selling laptops - the fastest growing segment of PC sales. Apple's MAC OS X and Microsoft's seven-year-old Windows XP dominate the roster.
Sprint WiMax - Price: $30 monthly service, $140 equipment kit
The much-anticipated successor to Wi-Fi is DOA - even with the support of tech titans like Google, Motorola, Intel and Comcast. The broadband wireless service for mobile devices was supposed to do what Wi-Fi hotspots couldn't: let users surf the Web anywhere, anytime. But WiMax's two developers - Sprint and Clearwire - have stumbled in their rollouts. Clearwire's coverage is limited and Sprint so far sells it only in Baltimore. The result: rivals like Verizon and AT&T are rushing out an even faster wireless technology, called LTE. Consumers seem willing to wait.
Picture below is of MacBook Air, and pics for each item can be seen at the link at the top of this news article.