The Biggest High-Tech Flops Of 2008

HybridPower: Pseudo-Green

During 2008, everybody was talking about protecting the environment, and Nvidia got on the bandwagon with HybridPower. The idea was to use both an IGP and a standard graphics card, and use only the IGP for normal tasks to reduce power consumption. Unfortunately, in addition to problems with the drivers (which didn’t help matters any) there were performance losses and higher consumption under load than without the technology: the graphics card and the IGP both had to remain enabled. Finally, Nvidia more or less abandoned the technology with its GT200-based cards, whose power consumption in standby has been reduced, so HybridPower only stayed alive for a few months on the GeForce 9-series cards.

The Return Of The Revenge Of Sony Batteries

We’d thought that Sony’s exploding batteries were a thing of the past, but not so. Even in 2008, this affair, which has dealt Sony a lot of damage, continued to make waves: close to 100,000 batteries were recalled this past October. That’s a far cry from the millions recalled in 2006 and 2007, but it’s still not what you’d call a minor problem.

Fiber Optics in France

Here’s a 100% French-made flop: the deployment of fiber optics. What with technical choices (cable to buildings, to the street, into each apartment?), economic choices (sharing, or individual fiber cables?), and financial issues (which providers get state aid?), the deployment of fiber optics has been pushed back. So, as thousands of people wait for those 100-megabit-per-second download speeds, nothing’s happening. Not to mention the thousands of households who still don’t even have access to a straight broadband line...

PlayTV: Non-HD DTT From Sony

Another superb fiasco for Sony: PlayTV. This DTT adaptor for the PlayStation 3, launched with much celebrity-backed media brouhaha, isn't compatible with HD DTT, which was launched in France in early November. That’s hard to take from a device that its maker claimed was HD compatible, and operates with a console that has no problem reading Blu-ray. For the time being, pending a (possible) update, Sony is reimbursing purchasers of the boxes.


We’ll end with a game that, in addition to raising its share of controversies, was nothing short of a total disaster in its PC version. Obviously we’re talking about GTA IV PC. Not only is it not very impressive graphics-wise, not only does it require a high-end computer, it just plain doesn’t run for a lot of people. Paying for a botched port after waiting six months for it, then realizing that it won’t even run, is nobody’s idea of a good time.

  • one-shot
    I looked forward for GTA IV on PC for a long time only to realize that I would be crazy to buy it. Now Piracy will be blamed because of a rushed ported console game that had poor sales because of the game's low quality. Worse sales on the PC side will result in the studios investing even less time into a game resulting in worse quality than before. Even though Piracy is to blame...obviously.
  • cangelini
    I'd like to think that the few gems that come out on the PC first (and people actually buy) remind developers that it's still worthwhile. Wonder if TTWO rushed that one out to try affecting the buyout offer?
  • twisted politiks
    im confused as to why they have a dell laptop with an exploded battery with the article flopping Sony's battery? XD
  • cangelini
    twisted politiksim confused as to why they have a dell laptop with an exploded battery with the article flopping Sony's battery? XD
    Sony-made batteries were in Dell and Apple systems when the exploding battery saga began...
  • jtnstnt
    You guys know what the internet is really for. No need to say just find it on picture 9.
  • kingraven
    I don't know about France but here in Portugal there is at least 1 ISP that has already started to make some pilot tests with fiber optic cabling. I am one of the happy testers of a 60Mb download/ 16Mb upload connection :). Fiber cable comes all the way to the house and in to a modem.
  • arsenoxide
    jtnstntYou guys know what the internet is really for. No need to say just find it on picture 9.
    Haha, I just noticed that. :D
    In regards to the Phenom X3, I agree that its 3 cores are underpowered in comparison to Intel's dual cores. It's pretty sad.
  • randomizer
    The Aussie governmant wants to lay down a fibre network to 98% of the population over the next 5 years, but they can't even get a buyer for the network. Too bad it will likely be FTTN; it won't make a difference to speeds while the country is sitting on ancient, waterlogged last miles. :sarcastic:
  • ravenware
    Phenom x3 was useless. The majority of the Phenom line is considerably underpowered and out performed by its own predecessors. There was the 4x4 cluster fu** before it too.
  • 100Mbit (12MByte/s) upload and download speeds
    already enabled in a part of The Netherlands :]
    HD movies in 12 mins :O