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Sony's 10 biggest tech disasters

The products that didn't quite make it

Sony's created some iconic gadgets from the Walkman to the PlayStation. But not everything launched by the consumer electronics manufacturer is a success. Here's 10 products that didn't quite make it.

Since its founding in 1946, Sony has produced some of the biggest hits in consumer electronics.

Brand names such as Walkman, Handycam and Trinitron helped define the company as a giant in the industry and more recent hits such as Cybershot, Vaio, Bravia and PlayStation have helped keep it there.

But no success story is failure-free. Let's take a look back at some Sony products that didn't win consumers' hearts and minds.

Sony Aibo

Sony's cute Aibo robot dogs, created by its Digital Creatures Laboratory and introduced in 1999, could move in a somewhat stilted fashion as far as their batteries would allow. They could express happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and dislike - and deep-pocketed consumers snapped them up despite a sadness-, anger-, surprise-, fear-, and dislike-inducing $2,500 (£1,500) price tag. Aibo pooches continue to be loved by their owners today, but the price barrier prevented these robo-pets from going mainstream and conquering the world. Sony ended the project following a recent corporate restructuring.Sony

Sony Vaio MusicClip

Sony created the portable audio market in 1979 when it launched the Walkman brand. Then Sony beat Apple to market in digital music by two years -but its first products bombed. The company's biggest misstep was its reliance on ATRAC, a proprietary file format used with Sony's MiniDisc. After 2000, digital music was all about file-sharing, and it was all MP3. Couple that mismatch with confusion within Sony - its VAIO PC division brought out products (including the MusicClip) that competed with Walkman digital players - and Sony set itself up for a stumble.

Sony e-Villa

In 2001, many companies were betting on internet appliances - dedicated terminals for accessing the net and browsing the Web. Sony's eVilla was just such a product. With a built-in 15in CRT monitor and a 56kbps dial-up modem, it was designed to provide access to email and to the web. But it launched just as many competitors were giving up on the market and as many consumers were deciding to buy new PCs for Windows XP. Less than three months after the product went on sale, Sony pulled the eVilla.

Airboard

Ten years before people began gushing about watching TV on the iPad, there was Sony's Airboard. The tablet device had a 10in screen and connected via Wi-Fi to a base station that included an internet connection and TV tuner. Users also enjoyed access to the web and to email. They could even multitask, thanks to a picture-in-picture TV function. But the Airboard never achieved mass penetration, and many people mistakenly considered it nothing more than an expensive portable TV.

NEXT PAGE: Qualia

  1. The products that didn't quite make it
  2. Qualia
  3. PSP Go


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