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This year, both Google and Apple embraced the concept of Electronic Wallets in an attempt to try to use technology to solve a problem that didn't really need solving: Money and Credit cards.
In theory, Near-Field Computing and Electronic wallets are nifty ideas -- instead of pulling out your wallet and cash or credit cards to pay for something, you pull out your smartphone or other mobile device, and the vendor/merchant uses a scanner (barcode or NFC) to deduct payments from your credit card or loyalty program of choice.
So far, Google Wallet, which has been out for almost a year has been a dud, as has been Apple's Passbook which was recently introduced in iOS6. Few apps have been optimized to take advantage of these new payment systems and NFC infrastructure at the majority of brick and mortar merchants is severely lacking. Apple's iPhone 5 completely lacks NFC hardware, so it had to use barcodes instead.
While there is some hope on the horizon for NFC payments on Android phones with the recently announced ISIS alliance between wireless carriers, the new electronic wallet app is only useable in Salt Lake City and Austin so far, in limited locations.
Apple Mac Pro (2012)
Apple came out with a whole bunch of great products in 2012, but the "revised" Macintosh Pro was not one of them. Pressured into a new release of the high-end graphical workstation after 18 months without any improvements, the 2012 version of the Mac Pro was underwhelming, to say the least.
Retaining the big, bulky PC tower design of its 2010 version, as well as nearly identical parts, the "new" version of the Mac Pro still started at $2499 and included a minor speed boost on the 6-core Xeon CPUs and had SSD drive options. With no graphics processor improvements or even the ability to interface with Apple's Thunderbolt Display, the Mac Pro is a dinosaur among highly evolved Apple desktops such as the current generation iMacs.
SONY PS Vita
The PS Vita, heralded by SONY as the true successor to their PSP (Playstation Portable) was supposed to be the most important video game product release of the year. The release of the new handheld gaming device was particularly critical for the beleaguered Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, which has been encountering a whole bevy of financial problems in recent times.
The PS Vita launched in late 2011 in Japan with only 25 titles, and while initial sales were brisk to the tune of several hundred thousand units, it quickly tapered off, and even the previous generation and less expensive product, the PSP, which has a much larger game library began to outsell it globally by February of 2012.
Although the unit has impressive technical specs and has garnered good reviews, the product lacks significant developer support and is an expensive product for a $249-$250 device that only plays games, and is already outstripped in terms of speed, graphics and overall game titles by the iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch as well as numerous other Android devices.