The most disappointing products of 2007

The most disappointing products of 2007

Summary: Here's the Hardware 2.0 list of the most disappointing products of 2007 - the products that weren't released; they escaped!


Yesterday I put up the Nintendo Wii and the Apple iPhone up as the biggest hits of 2007.  Today while glancing through my inbox I come across this request:

"So, you like the Wii, but what, in your opinion, were the products that sucked the most for 2007?"

OK, you asked for it!  But rather than look at what sucked (which is rather subjective) I'm going to concentrate of products that have disappointed me over 2007.  So, here is the Hardware 2.0 list of the most disappointing products of 2007 - the products that weren't released; they escaped!

There are a lot of products to choose from and the challenge here is to work the mental sieve vigorously and catch what falls out of the bottom. 

Here in no particular order, are products that could have made it to the top of the disappointing list:

AMD desktop processors

I'm not sure what's wrong with AMD these days.  The company seems to be spending too much time pushing wild ideas (which usually come with an insane price tag and even insaner power requirements) like the Quad FX platform and engaging in a public slanging match with Intel and too little time working on new, innovative products. 

For the entirety of 2007 I've held the belief that AMD would come out with something worth buying, but that hope is now gone.  I'm not sure what's going on at AMD but progress seems to have slowed down drastically and I'm wondering whether my last Athlon 64 X2 processor will have eroded to dust before I buy another AMD branded processor.

As a past AMD fan, it's sad that they make it onto this list because as AMD becomes weaker, there's a real danger that Intel will stagnate, and that wouldn't be good for anyone.

nVIDIA graphics card drivers

I'm a pretty big fan of nVIDIA graphics cards, but getting them to work reliably, especially when pushing them hard or when gaming, is getting to be too much like hard work.  I'm not going to pretend for one moment that ATi's stuff is all perfect, because they're not, but they're far more reliable than any nVIDIA has.

Hopefully things will change next year.

Hauppauge drivers

Hauppauge is another company that has good products let down by poor drivers, especially under Vista.  Again, I'm in a position of being a long-time fan and have several Hauppauge products in numerous systems, but driver issues are making me want to melt down the cards into scrap. 

The problem with Hauppauge hardware seems to be that if Windows (in particular Windows Vista) gets wind of the hardware before you install the drivers, it's game over and the driver installation will fail every time with a cryptic message.  You then have to go through the laborious process of shutting down the system, removing the card, restart the system, removing every last 1 and 0 relating to the card using a cleaner tool that Hauppauge provide (which is sorely lacking in any real feedback of documentation), shut down, reinstall the card, restart again, hopefully catch Windows in the act of installing the hardware and stop it and then run the Hauppauge drivers.  Hopefully, if you've done everything right and the moon and the planets are all in the right position, things will go well.  If not, it's back round the loop once again.

Blu-ray and HD DVD

Unless you like the idea of stepping into a war between two rival tech factions, I suggest staying out of the Blu-ray/HD DVD mess until the smoke clears a bit.  At present the main "advantage" of both technologies is that they further erode out concepts of fair use.

Sure, if you buy a PS3 or an Xbox 360, you're forced to take sides, but the idea of spending the kind of cash I do on DVDs on HD DVD of Blu-ray discs while this standards war is going on just doesn't make sense. 

Next -->

The most disappointing product of 2007 - AppleTV

The most disappointing products of 2007But for me, the most disappointing product of 2007 comes from Apple - it's the AppleTV. 

The AppleTV struck me as a product that had a lot of potential, but in reality it's little more than a piggy bank that you install in your living room into which you have to feed money on a regular basis.  Oh, and you don't get your money back.  Sure, you can feed your AppleTV content from different sources, but Apple's deliberately made this difficult.  Any process with more than one step is too many for most people.  Apple knows this and designed their product to make iTunes the easiest way to get content.  And that's the main flaw with AppleTV - Apple's aggressive determination to sell content at every opportunity gets in the way of developing a product that would really shake up the market.  It's like owning an iPod but finding out that iTunes isn't able to rip your CDs for you.

AppleTV is an odd product for Apple because it reeks of compromise.  Its purpose is to stream content to HD TVs, but iTunes doesn't offer any HD content.  It can't connect directly to the iTunes store.  It can't play DVDs/Blu-ray/HD DVD.  It's not a DVR.  There are no games for it.  You can't load your iPod from it.  It can't live without having a connection to a PC/Mac running iTunes.  It restricts you to two video formats (H.264 and MPEG 4).  To cap all that, data transfer rates are slow.  Oh, but it can do YouTube, so if you want to watch a kitten eating a melon, you can.

AppleTV could have been a lot more.  It isn't.  That's a shame.


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Topics: Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, Processors, Software, Windows

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  • I want one

    I want an Apple TV just because it looks pretty and sexy. Nevermind that it has no real functionality to it, I just gotta have it cause Apple is selling it. Do many of you feel the same way as me? slap an Apple on it and its golden right? Dumb product, they got their heads to far up their you know whats. Apple is the meaning of true proprietary software through and through.
    • Let me guess...

      you're a Windows zealot.

      Hey, I love my iMac and I am a fan of proprietary software if that means that it
      works better with the proprietary hardware on which it is meant to run. I switched
      from PC to Mac four years ago and haven't looked back (I've been running PCs at
      home since before the Internet was a "fad"). Still, I have to agree that Apple TV is
      questionable at best. It seems like a very niche product, and not a great one at
      that; like something that didn't have all the features it was supposed to but decided
      to be born anyway.

      I don't really see its allure. If I want to watch TV I grab the remote from a basket
      on top of my stereo ('cause where else would you keep your TV remote than on top
      of your stereo?) and push "P-we-" (it's kind of worn from turning it off so much
      when I find out there really isn't much on TV) and viola! I'm watching TV. No
      computer required.
  • Watch out for the Hauppauge zealots!!

    They will come here en masse and tell you that you are nothing but an ATI $hill and that you just don't understand that features are [b]BAD[/b] which is why the Hauppauge's inability to capture video at more than 320X240 is a [b]GOOD[/b] thing. It really is sad to see people who treat products like the Hauppauge as a religion, willing to lie about ATI just to make their chosen product seem better than it is. Case in point, I've had Hauppauge zealots tell me that Hauppauge invented the PCI slot. When challenged on that statement, they tell me that, sure, Hauppauge may not have actually invented it, but they innovated it by making cards that were exactly 5" long. No one has ever made a 5" long PCI card before! Talk about innovation!!

    snicker, smirk :)
    • Haup's got some issues

      But the issue here in this case is Vista. I've never had any issues with them (I run 3 atm)

      I'm also afraid to say that Haup's HD cards can capture in 1080. Dunno if that's a Vista problem too or what.

      Looks like I see another contender for worst product :)
      • Haup & Vista

        Now my Haup HD tuner is USB, so maybe that makes a difference, but after following the installation instructions to a tee I had a perfectly working tuner/capture card on Vista HP. Now mind you, Haup's software is vintage mid-1990's quality, but with Vista HP you get Windows Media Center. WMC isn't the greatest I've ever seen in its category, but it's up there, and it's easy to use and configure which makes up for its feature shortcomings (and there aren't many of those).
        Michael Kelly
        • My father-in-law just recently

          Bought an HP Media Center with a Hauppauge 1800 and it works beautifully. No problems at all and the quality is pretty decent.

          Which is why I just bought the same thing.
      • I just love it when...

        ...people blame the OS for the manufactuer not updating their drivers. I, for one, own both Vista Ultimate and a Haup USB TV tuner and have had no issues getting it to work with Media Center. In fact, it actually works better than I expected it to.

        I bought an ATI TV Wonder first and when I put the card in my machine, it wouldn't even boot! So I took that P.O.S. back.

        If my Haup tuner didn't work with Linux (that I also run), I guess it's Ubuntu's fault for Haup not making a compliant driver?
    • I can't begin to tell you how much I know in that area...

      But I was a long time AIW fan and just since switched to Hauppauge in hopes that I can get some better quality out of my display with the tuner. :P
    • Er.. only 320x240...??

      [b]They will come here en masse and tell you that you are nothing but an ATI $hill and that you just don't understand that features are BAD which is why the Hauppauge's inability to capture video at more than 320X240 is a GOOD thing. [/b]

      Since when? My 3 yr old Hauppauge WinTV 500 MCE can record multiple resolutions. I typically record in "Better" mode - which results in Mpeg 2 files that are 480x480 using BeyondTV 3.7.3. Most apps like PowerDVD can sort that out to at least 640x480 or even 720x480 depending on the video in question.

      Not entirely sure what "Best" mode results in. I don't have it reinstalled as yet - I'm in the process of rebuilding this system. At any rate, I would imagine Best would result in a bit better res than "Better"...
    • Gimme ATI anyday.

      I put together a new system recently, with a Haup card in it. After several weeks of tinkering with the silly piece of !*^!(#, on several different OS's, I ordered an ATI HD Wonder, plugged it in, installed the drivers, and never looked back.

      I've NEVER had anything from Haup work as advertised, and never been disappointed in anything from ATI. You'd think I'd quit giving Haup chances, someday.

      I just wish ATI would bring back the All-In-Wonder.
      Dr. John
  • Under the rules of the game... has to be something released in 2007, which makes Vista eligible, but "Linux" (first released in the 1991, I believe), not. Now if there is a specific version of the Linux kernel or a specific Linux ditro released in 2007 that you would like to nominate, then do so and say why.

    At this point in time, Linux is really a family of operating systems based on the Linux kernel, rather than a specific product.
    John L. Ries
    • And last I heard

      Linux was software.

      Maybe the poster was referring to the Liux firmware version on the Asus board? Never been sure how to classify firmwre.
    • Vista was released November 2006...

      ... so that makes it ineligible, notwithstanding the fact that this is software, not a "product" in the same category that AKH is using the term.
      Confused by religion
      • I thought it was released in January

        ...but it's possible I wasn't paying sufficient attention.
        John L. Ries
        • Released to businesses in 2006

          Not available to mere mortals until 2007.
    • I added Linux and Vista because ....

      Since Hauppauge and nVidia drivers were included I assumed these
      were eligible. As to Linux, yes, it is an older product, but
      the postings this year lead me to assume it was FINALLY ready for
      prime time. Yes Vista may have been "released" in December but
      like automobiles I consider it a 2007 product.
      • nVidia's XP drivers deserve a it a little more than the Vista drivers

        Only certain versions of their display drivers will work with my ATI tuner card without fighting with it. There's a couple minor things I kinda wish they'd include in their drivers that I used to see in the ATI drivers I used with my last card as well, but, crappy drivers be damned, the card still runs like a dream.
      • Vista?

        I've been trying Vista since late 2006. In that 12 months I've had at least two years worth of disappointment.
    • As far as Linux goes...

      You are arguing the splitting of a hair when you go on about the age of Linux products, Vista is a Windows OS and Windows OS's have been around a long time as well; you wouldn't say that disqualifies Vista as a disappointing product of 2007 I'm sure. And I am only guessing, as this has been the experience of anyone I know who has tried Linux recently, and that is that the afore mentioned comments about Linux pertain to all current versions of Linux being still not ready for prime time in 2007.

      I certainly respect Linux for what it is, and that is a damn fine product considering its free. It works and works pretty well and its quite secure. But it still falls short in ease of use and choice of software, games in particular. And you can skip right on by the chatter about how games can be made to work in Linux, most of us who have used Linux are aware of that, and its not a solution; its a work around at best.

      The day that Linux can do all the good things a Windows OS can do, I will go back to Linux permanently, and suggest that everyone else do the same. But right now, in 2007, Linux is not ready for the general public and is still only the OS of choice for the tech savvy non gamer.
      • Thanks for letting me know.

        I will be sure to pass that info. on to the several dozen non-tech savvy Ubuntu users I know.