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Not all tech products succeed once on the market, and some are killed off with little warning. Flashback looks back at failed tech products to see what we can learn by studying their demises. Hosted by Quinn Nelson and Stephen Hackett.

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7: AOL Instant Messenger

It is time to add Stephen and Quinn to your Buddy List. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: TextExpander, from Smile: Unlock your productivity with TextExpander. Get 20% off with your first year. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership The Rise and Fall of AIM, the Breakthrough AOL Never Wanted The Sharp Rise and Steep Descent of AOL Instant Messenger | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine LGR - AIM Retrospective: RIP 1997-2017 - YouTube US6750881B1 - User definable on-line co-user lists - Google Patents Old AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Sound Effects by AIM sounds | Free Listening on SoundCloud Stephen's Buddy Picture Apple Previews iChat Instant Messaging for Mac OS X - Apple Microsoft Launches MSN Messenger Service Screenshot of iChat in Mac OS X Jaguar Adium Adium - Xtras: Tokyo Train Station


7 May 2020

Rank #1

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4: webOS

With its webOS hardware, including the Pre, Pixi and more, Palm (and later HP) tried to take on the giants of the early smartphone wars. While webOS was hugely innovative, it wasn't enough to break into the most important market in consumer electronics history. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: Backblaze: Unlimited cloud backup for Macs and PCs for just $6/month. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership GEOS (16-bit operating system) - Wikipedia Graffiti (Palm OS) - Wikipedia Zoomer-List Archives: Graffiti Arrives! Palm OS - Wikipedia Apple Reinvents the Phone with iPhone - Apple Dear Palm: It's time for an intervention | Engadget Palm Pre CES Press Event - YouTube What happened to the original iPhone’s plastic screen? - The Verge Stephen's Thumb on the Pre Keyboard Palm Pre review, part 1: Hardware, webOS, user interface | Engadget Palm Pre review, part 2: Synergy, phone, media, applications | Engadget Palm Pre review, part 3: Data speeds, backup, battery, Bluetooth, pricing, wrap-up | Engadget Palm Pre Teardown - iFixit Palm Touchstone Charger Teardown - iFixit Palm Pre Admaker Defends "Creepy" TV Commercial | WIRED Palm Pre Commercial Ad Going With The Flow Tamara Hope - YouTube Meta-tap (Gesture Area + tap) and Copy/Paste | webOS Nation Daring Fireball: Apple Announces Web Apps for iPhone HP TouchPad coming June, webOS for PC beta by year's end | Engadget Palm Pixi review | Engadget Palm Pre Plus (and Pixi Plus) review | Engadget webOS 1.4 Lands on Verizon Review: Verizon Palm Pre 2 | webOS Nation Quinn's Zune Video Palm Pre 3 Demonstration - YouTube Pre 3 for AT&T review | Engadget HP Veer 4G review | Engadget The Long-Lived iPad 2 - MacStories HP TouchPad review | Engadget Quinn Nelson on Instagram: “Everyone (especially HP), blatantly copies Apple's packaging. ” The HP TouchPad 1.0 – Shawn Blanc HP TouchPad: The final $99 offer - CNET How I got a $99 HP TouchPad tablet and why I bought it - The Washington Post Quinn Nelson on Instagram: “I'm pretty sure I got the only one left in my city.” Quinn Nelson on Instagram: “Installing Android on my TouchPad. :D” Quinn Nelson on Instagram: “Hai there Android. :)” Quinn Nelson on Instagram: “ICS on the TouchPad? Love it!” Palm puts itself up for sale | Engadget Hewlett-Packard Agrees to Buy Palm - The New York Times Editorial: Engadget on the death of HP's webOS devices | Engadget The lost secrets of webOS | The Verge LG Smart TV w/ webOS A failed experiment: How LG screwed up its webOS acquisition – Gigaom LG’s Linux-based webOS Goes Open Source, Again! - It's FOSS The new Palm is a tiny phone to keep you away from your phone - The Verge

1hr 13mins

26 Mar 2020

Rank #2

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5: Three Failed Game Consoles

On this episode, Quinn and Stephen explore three failed game consoles: the Apple Pippin, Nintendo Virtual Boy and the Ouya. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: TextExpander, from Smile: Unlock your productivity with TextExpander. Get 20% off with your first year. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership Flashback on Apple Podcasts Flashback (@_flashbackfm) / Twitter On the Apple PiPP!N – 512 Pixels Apple Made a Game Console! - Snazzy Labs on YouTube Pippin: Apple's Forgotten Game Console - 512 Pixels on YouTube Apple iPod Touch "The Funnest iPod Ever" TV Ad - YouTube AppleJack Controller The Boomerang PlayStation 3 Controller: What Might Have Been - IGN Katz Media Player 2000 | Pippin @World & Atmark Wiki | Fandom Unraveling The Enigma Of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, 20 Years Later - Fast Company Nintendo’s FAILURE - Virtual Boy 3D Gaming Console - LTT on YouTube Nintendo Counts on a New 'Virtual' Game - The New York Times OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console by OUYA — Kickstarter Ouya Teardown - iFixit Julie Uhrman & Josh Topolsky Keynote | Interactive 2013 | SXSW - YouTube As the Ouya ships to backers, can a $99 console bring players and developers together? - The Verge Ouya review: can an indie console take on Sony and Microsoft? - The Verge Ouya Developers Reveal Modest Sales - IGN Razer confirms Ouya purchase in bid to take over Android TV gaming - The Verge Ouya will be shut down for good on June 25th - The Verge Razer Forge TV - Android™ Gaming in Your Living Room Is the Wii Mini Worth It? - A Young Austin Evans on YouTube Wii mini | Nintendo


9 Apr 2020

Rank #3

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6: The Be Computer Company

Started by former members of Apple's leadership team, Be was formed to take on the Mac and other computers of the mid-90s. The company wrote its own operating system and shipped dual-CPU towers before failing to be bought by Apple and slowly fading away. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership Connected - Relay FM Jean-Louis Gassée – Monday Note OLD-COMPUTERS.COM Museum ~ Be BeBox DigiBarn Systems: Be Box Quinn's RGB Mac Pro Overview | Build your own BeBox and run BeOS using Virtualbox | Adafruit Learning System GeekPort pinout and wiring BeOS: The Alternate Universe’s Mac OS X | Hackaday BeOS Operating System The BeOS file system, an OS geek retrospective | Ars Technica BeOS: The 10,000-Foot View BeOS User Guide BeOS The incredible OS that disappeared (part 1) Be Operating System - YouTube BeOS The incredible OS that disappeared (part 2) Be Operating System - YouTube Dashboard – 512 Pixels BeOS and BFS, the BeOS Filing System | Low End Mac Using BeOS on a Power Mac | Low End Mac Sony eVilla BeBits - BeIA Supported Hardware Apple acquires Next, Jobs - CNET Gassée: Thank God Apple chose Steve Jobs's NeXT over my BeOS - 9to5Mac Palm buys old Apple rival, Be - Macworld UK BeOS will live on as Microsoft settles legal action Haiku Project Ars spends too much time trying to work in Haiku, the BeOS successor | Ars Technica Overview | Build your own BeBox and run BeOS using Virtualbox | Adafruit Learning System


23 Apr 2020

Rank #4

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2: The Microsoft Zune

In the 2000s, the iPod was a true juggernaut, simply dominating the portable music player market. Microsoft wanted a piece of the pie, and launched the Zune 30, which eventually spread into a line of both hardware products and software services. However, it barely made a dent in Apple's commanding lead. This episode, Quinn and Stephen look into why the folks from Seattle failed so hard at taking on the iPod. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: Hullo: A simple, natural pillow designed for comfort. Try it for 60 days. Backblaze: Unlimited cloud backup for Macs and PCs for just $6/month. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership iPod introduction (23 Oct 2001) - YouTube History of the iPod mini - YouTube The iPod Nano Introduction - YouTube iRiver Zune 30 - Wikipedia Universal Music get fee for every Zune sold | Engadget Labels hit back at Apple, now want share of iPod revenues | Engadget iTunes Price Changes Take Effect | Billboard Zune review | Engadget Microsoft Counting on a Twist to Make Zune Shine in Shadow of iPod - The New York Times Zune review - CNET Microsoft Zune | Ars Technica Microsoft Brings Zune HD Support to the Mac – The Mac Observer Zune 80 review | Ars Technica Wired Decides: Zune or iPod This Holiday Season? | WIRED Microsoft surpasses 2 million Zunes sold. Apple sells 3.53 million iPods a month | VentureBeat Microsoft Announces the Expansion of the Zune Entertainment Service to New Platform and Markets; Confirms New Zune HD Portable Media Player - Stories Zune HD review | Engadget Zune HD review: Zune HD - CNET Metro (design language) - Wikipedia I Used a Windows Phone for a Week in 2018! I Will Miss It. - YouTube Microsoft’s Zune Delivers Connected Music and Entertainment Experience - Stories R.I.P. Microsoft Zune, 2006-2011 | TechCrunch The Zune Is Dead. Here's What to Do With Your Old One | WIRED Zune Subreddit Zune Update Zune Update - ARTWORK


27 Feb 2020

Rank #5

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3: The GM EV1

Electric cars may seem like a 21st century phenomenon, but they are far from modern invention. Along the winding path to the present was the GM EV1, the first purpose-designed electric vehicle. It went on sale in 1996, but within a decade, General Motors had recalled and crushed almost all of them. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: TextExpander, from Smile: Unlock your productivity with TextExpander. Get 20% off with your first year. Backblaze: Unlimited cloud backup for Macs and PCs for just $6/month. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership General Motors EV1 Overview - YouTube 1997 General Motors EV1 Electric Coupe - The Henry Ford GM EV1 History - Business Insider 1925 Doble E-20 Steam Car - Jay Leno's Garage - YouTube AMC's Electric Car Announcement The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle GM Heritage Center Collection | GM Vehicle Technologies and the Path to Success World Solar Challenge 2019 Sunraycer - Wikipedia Here's a Trip Through the GM EV1 Owner's Manual - YouTube MotorWeek | Retro Review: 1997 GM EV 1 - YouTube GM EV1 "Appliances" Ad - YouTube GM EV1 "The Future of the Car" Ad - YouTube The Death of the EV-1 | Science | Smithsonian Magazine EV1 - Driving it the final week before the crusher - YouTube GM EV1 Funeral (Part 1) - YouTube Drivers Find Outlet for Grief Over EV1s - Los Angeles Times As 2011 Chevrolet Volt Nears Dealers, Ghostly EV1 Gets Enthusiasts Excited There's an Ultra-Rare GM EV1 Abandoned in an Atlanta Parking Garage - The Drive GM's EV1 Lives On, With EV2 on the Way | PluginCars.com The EV1 – Wisconsin Hybrid Vehicle The General Motors EV-1: A Rare Survivor, in Ohio! - YouTube Own a Piece of GM EV1 Electric-Car History—Literally Quinn's 1-year review of his Tesla Model 3 Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) - IMDb General Motors announces new battery platform, claims $100/kWh soon | Ars TechnicaGM announced it's getting back into electric cars after the recording of this episode.

1hr 3mins

12 Mar 2020

Rank #6

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9: The Apple III

The Apple II was a big hit, but before the Macintosh took over, Cupertino shipped a couple of duds, the worst of which was the ill-fated (and kinda melty) Apple III. This episode of Flashback is sponsored by: TextExpander, from Smile: Unlock your productivity with TextExpander. Get 20% off with your first year. Links and Show Notes: Ways To Help Apple III Chaos: Apple’s First Failure | Low End Mac The Apple III: mini review and repair - YouTube VAW: The Ill-Fated Apple III Refurbished Museum Quality Apple III 256K Computer Monitor /// 5.25 Disk Drive | eBay Jerry Manock - Wikipedia Photos of the Apple III Apple III Backward Compatibility - Wikipedia What killed the Apple III? DigiBarn Systems: Interview with Wendell Sander, father of Apple III, by David Ottalini InfoWorld on III FCC Issues - Google Books


4 Jun 2020

Rank #7

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8: The Microsoft Kin

Microsoft was late to the smartphone party, and its first entrance, the Kin, was designed for teens and young adults who didn't want or need an iPhone, Android phone or Blackberry. The only problem? That audience didn't really exist. Links and Show Notes: Support Flashback with a Relay FM Membership Microsoft's "Pink" smartphone to be Microsoft-branded? | Engadget The Pink Phone Pictures Microsoft Doesn't Want You To See Yet - Gizmodo Microsoft Kin One and Two review | Engadget Flashback #2: The Microsoft Zune - Relay FM MobileMe’s Legacy – 512 Pixels Microsoft KIN ONE and TWO Review - PhoneArena on YouTube Microsoft Ushers in the Next Generation of the Social Phone With KIN, a New Windows Phone - Stories Microsoft launches Kin phones (live blog) - CNET Review: Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two | WIRED Microsoft Kin Advertisement | Consumer Reports - YouTube 4 Reasons Why Microsoft's Kin Phones Failed | WIRED


21 May 2020

Rank #8

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14: OS/2

In an effort to keep Microsoft from controlling the PC software industry, in the 1980s, IBM created OS/2, an operating system meant to give its computers a competitive advantage. Unable to do this alone, Big Blue turned to an unlikely company to help build it. Links and Show Notes: Half an operating system: The triumph and tragedy of OS/2 | Ars Technica Workplace OS History: IBM’s $2 Billion Microkernel of Failure WinCustomize: Articles : A History of IBM OS/2: 1991 to 1996 OS/2 Timeline | OS/2 Museum 86-DOS - Wikipedia IBM Personal System/2 - Wikipedia The Forgotten Operating System That Keeps the NYC Subway System Alive Home - Arca Noae OS/2 Warp News and Rumors Flashback #2: The Microsoft Zune - Relay FM Microsoft's $1 Billion Failure - Snazzy Labs - YouTube


19 Feb 2021

Rank #9

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13: The CrunchPad

In 2008, a vision for a simple, browser-based tablet as born. Just a few years later, after failed lawsuits and rip-off products, no one had anything to show for their work. Links and Show Notes: We Want A Dead Simple Web Tablet For $200. Help Us Build It. | TechCrunch The Techcrunch Web Tablet Project Update On The TechCrunch Tablet: Prototype A | TechCrunch TechCrunch Tablet Update: Prototype B | TechCrunch CrunchPad Prototype B 2 - YouTube Leaked pics of the CrunchPad make it look dangerously close to availability About Those New CrunchPad Pictures | TechCrunch TechCrunch Tablet makes an early debut CrunchPad: The Launch Prototype | TechCrunch CrunchPad Demo - YouTube Tech blog titan Michael Arrington’s next big thing: Hardware - San Francisco Business Times Apple, Acer and...Arrington? - The New York Times Techcrunch Crunchpad Tablet Computer - Breakthrough Awards Products 2009 - Popular Mechanics The End Of The CrunchPad | TechCrunch TechCrunch sues Fusion Garage over the Joojoo -- we break it down | Engadget Fusion Garage files to dismiss CrunchPad lawsuit | Engadget Joojoo lawsuit shocker! Court rules Fusion Garage and TechCrunch were business partners, tosses most everything else | Engadget Joojoo tablet hands-on (video) | Engadget Fusion Garage JooJoo review | Engadget Review: Fusion Garage JooJoo Tablet | WIRED First Look: JooJoo (CrunchPad) - YouTube JooJoo tablet review - YouTube Fusion Garage says Joojoo pre-orders went up after iPad announcement, new funding on the way | Engadget JooJoo is no more, Fusion Garage to keep on trucking | Engadget Is TabCo releasing the JooJoo 2? | Engadget Fusion Garage Grid 10 tablet and Grid 4 smartphone hands-on | Engadget Fusion Garage Grid10 review - The Verge Fusion Garage Grid10 - YouTube Fusion Garage's Grid 4 smartphone revealed - The Verge The Rarest MacBook Ever Made - YouTube


2 Feb 2021

Rank #10