8 gadget screw-ups of the decade

Palm Foleo
The Palm Faileo

Plenty of things seemed like a good idea at the time, and we don't just mean that bout of heavy-petting from the Christmas party, last night's fifth pint or the chicken kebab - we're talking about some of the biggest mistakes made by the biggest tech companies in the world.

Regrets? Sony, Toshiba, Nokia and many others have had a few since the turn of the millennium, during what we shall call... The Decade of Disaster.

8. Sony UMD movie format, 2005

In Sony's ego-mad world, everyone was going to buy a PSP because it was a new type of PlayStation, then everyone would buy stacks of Sony Pictures films on the convenient, portable, higher-resolution UMD format. The money would have to be piled up in bin liners!

PSP umd

Sadly, the problems with using UMD for films were numerous - it was slow, it hammered the battery, retailers weren't keen on stocking another format, plus the rise in digital distribution - by which we mean stealing things with Bittorrent - made the concept of buying a separate copy of a film to watch on a small screen seem... pointless.

In a time when our DVD collections were reaching peak size, the last thing we wanted to do was to buy Spider-Man 2 on another bloody format.

7. Motorola ROKR E1, 2005

A mobile with built-in iTunes support? This design monstrosity should've been a sensation, but sadly for Motorola, a clunky look, slow interface and astonishingly short-sighted 100 song limit made it seem like a... very bad idea. Presumably much to the relief of Apple, in hindsight.

Motorola rokr

6. Gizmondo, 2005

It was literally a car crash in the end, with company boss Stefan Eriksson smashing his Ferrari, legging it, and eventually being convicted for embezzlement and illegally owning a gun.

The Gizmondo story was equally made-for-TV - a celebrity-packed launch, a store right on London's fancy Regent's Street and adverts all over the place. But the gaming phone had no big game franchises and the flagship shop remained defiantly empty.

Gizmondo store

A cheaper, ad-funded Gizmondo model arrived later and could've done big business, and as a cheap GPS device it deserved to at least whittle out a little niche of its own, but the Giz soon became a laughing stock that'd burned too much money to be able to carry on.

5. Palm Foleo, 2007

There must be a few Palm executives who still deliberately harm themselves with regret over the decision to axe the Palm Foleo, which was to be a stripped-down ultraportable laptop with a 10" screen, running Linux to keep costs down and boot times fast.

Sound familiar? Yes, rather similar to the netbooks that rule today's world with their tiny plastic fists, only the Foleo would be synched with a Palm mobile for extra mobility points.

Palm foleo

The decision to cancel the Foleo's release was taken in September of 2007 - a few weeks before Asus launched the Eee PC and changed the course of laptop history. Poor old Palm. Always the bridesmaid. The fat bridesmaid.