11 'born-to-fail' worst gadgets at CES 2014

CES may have traditionally been where the Silicon Valley giants have paraded their latest and greatest. But hundreds of new gadgets don't make the cut. Here's a selection of the worst.
Topic: CES
1 of 11 Eyelock

Eyelock ID unlocks your PC with a glance, whether you want it to or not

We're slowly getting to grips with unlocking our iPhones with fingerprints. But iris and other eye-based biometric technology is still a long way off. Eyelock thinks it has a solution: a prototype eye-scanner that unlocks a computer with a glance.

Except, is that really what we want? It takes just under a second to work. What if you're walking past and glancing at something on your computer desk? It's a nice idea but it may take some time before it's refined to a point where we don't accidentally unlock our machines just by being near to the damn thing.

2 of 11 CNET

The iPad periscope that looks like a torture device

At no point in my life have I ever said "iPad" and "periscope" in the same sentence: until now that is. Bright spark iTOi thinks iPad video-calling can be a little more realistic, by creating a device that has a set of mirrors in that makes it appear as though video caller is further from the shiny rectangle than they actually are.

What's the point? Beats me. And just to make matters worse, it looks like an iron maiden of sorts. Not the sort of thing you want lying around the office, let alone at home, is it?

3 of 11 Toshiba

Toshiba's Chromebook: The 'Windows killer' that will never be

Another day, another Chromebook. While the idea of Chromebooks don't send shivers down many spines, with hundreds of thousands embracing the slimmed-down Chrome browser-based laptop, this latest product is compounded by two major problems.

Chromebooks are still struggling to get off the mark, despite ample opportunities and many manufacturers embracing the thin PC-like device. And also, Toshiba only has a slither share of the overall PC market after years of decline. It doesn't even register in the top five — suggesting the company has less than 4.2 million shipments per quarter behind Asus in fifth place

Don't hold your breath for any significant movement in the next year. Chromebooks still have a long way to go before they're anywhere near mainstream use. Just look how long it took Apple to reach some level of prominence with the Mac computer?

4 of 11 ZTE

ZTE's Hotspot Projector that for some reason does both. Why? Because.

Some of the worst devices out of CES are the gadgets that try too hard to do too much. Why would you have a mini-projector that also contains a Wi-Fi hotspot — unless, maybe, you're in a public park with no Wi-Fi (and what sort of civilized place doesn't have park-wide wireless internet?) in the middle of the night? Exactly. There's almost no point. 

But ZTE still thinks it can carve out a niche with its part-projector, part-hotspot. I'd put money on this thing barely denting more than 5,000 sales in the time it's on the shelves — which equally won't be that long.

5 of 11 CNET

Mother: The daily life tracker that will nag you incessantly

Oh great, yet another interconnected gadget that you can attach to other inanimate objects so you can be nagged on a minute-by-minute basis. Introducing "Mother," the machine-to-machine (M2M) device that reminds how long you should brush your teeth for, or how much water you should drink. At what point did human evolution take a nosedive to the point where you forget if you're thirsty? 

Nice try, consumer-focused company with a strange period point half way through (Sen.se, if you're wondering). But I'm not buying it — in any possible meaning.

6 of 11 CNET

TrewGrip: The backwards keyboard designed to drive you insane

This doesn't even deserve an explanation. This is the silliest, most pointless so-called "gadgets" of the show. A backwards keyboard? Enough said.

7 of 11 CNET

LaCie's mirrored, sphere hard drive. 'Because we could'

LaCie's latest hard drive has an entirely unnecessary visual aesthetic. And all it does is bump up the price making it a niche product for the technology fashionista, but also way out of the reach of the ordinary consumer.

Did the "Consumer Electronics Show" forget the key part of its event: "consumer"? I think so. This 1TB "portable" (yeah, right) sphere-like disk may be dressed to impress but it's price range of $450, and it's not even solid-state? It's not that flashy after all (excuse the pun).

8 of 11 CNET

The Windows/Android hybrid requires you to keep two platforms up-to-date

Who needs a tablet and a laptop when you can have a hybrid that has both? Seeing as Windows remains the popular desktop operating choice by far, and Android dominating the tablet platform space, what could be better for the fun-loving, game-playing, part-corporate part-parent hipster executive?

Nope. With the Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300 (already a mouthful for anyone ripping out the spec sheet) the trouble users will face is that you're destined to spend most of the time updating both devices respective of each other — from apps to games, services, and other platform updates — and the two don't even speak to each other. It's more hassle than it's worth.

Get a laptop and a separate tablet — like normal people.

9 of 11 CNET

The algorithmic bed that will stress you out — even in your sleep

Americans may go nuts for their sleep — probably because so many get so little — they may not be going so crazy over the idea of an algorithmic bed. For the humble price of $7,999, you can snooze in a bed that monitors your sleep patterns. Why? Because you know you need yet another worry in your life

"Not enough REM," it says. Or, "too much tossing and turning." God forbid it should scream at you for having an erratic heart rate at 3 a.m. You'd be better off investing in a mortgage down payment or your kids' college tuition for that price — let alone the price of ignorance and simply not knowing how terrible your overnight dream-drifting might actually be.

10 of 11 CNET

Audi puts an Android tablet in a car. Enough distractions already!

If Google Glass is already facing trouble in the car, with lawmakers concerned the wearable tech might distract drivers away from the road — akin to texting on smartphones — then tablets aren't going to go down very well at all.

Thanks to Audi, new car owners may get yet another dashboard distraction with an integrated Android tablet wedged into the driver's line of sight. Despite designed to be part of the vehicle's "infotainment" system, mark my words it will be the company's undoing — particularly if drivers' have unruly button-pushing passengers hammering away at the screen.

11 of 11 CNET

The chopping board designed to hold your... shiny chopping board?

We all laughed at the name of the iPad when it first came out. "It sounds like a feminine hygiene product," we remarked. Other observant fellows thought the revolutionary slate-like device looked more like a shiny chopping board. My mom certainly still thinks of it as that. So what's more fitting than to create a chopping board that integrates your iPad? What could possibly go wrong?

Besides the fact you're likely chopping vegetables for no more than five minutes per meal preparation time, there just isn't any point in this "gadget." If you can't be away from your content for more than five minutes, you need to evaluate where you're going wrong in life.

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