HP Blew It With The TouchPad, But Sony Has Had Some Far More Epic Flops

old sony ad commercial

Sony has given us some of our favourite gadgets like the Walkman and Playstation, but they’ve also launched some massive flops.

We’ll run you through the biggest flops from the eVilla to the MiniDisc, as well as the products that hit it big overseas but never caught on in America.

The Sony Mylo was an over-expensive communications device

Mylo, or 'My Life Online,' debuted in 2006. It was a $349.99 gadget that could browse the web, go on AIM, Skype, and Google Talk.

Mylo got a sequel in 2008, but the iPod Touch had already been out for a year. Apple's device was cheaper, had a ton more internal storage, and was better in every way.

The Rolly music player/dancer was a cool gimmick, but didn't sell. Skip to 2:01 in the video below.

Would you pay $399.99 for the Rolly when it was released in 2007?

Sony's Betamax tape players lost out to VHS big time

Sony released the Betamax tape deck and video recorder in 1975, and refused to licence the technology to any other companies.

Movie studios and consumers chose Betamax's arch rival VHS which JVC licensed out, leaving Betamax in the dust.

Sony's Memory Stick storage format is a bust

Sony's been producing Memory Stick memory cards since 1998 and sticking Memory Stick slots in everything from cameras to computers to the AIBO to the PSP.

The only problem? The consumer electronics industry has all but completely adopted SD cards as the memory card of choice. Even Apple laptops have SD card slots in them.

Sony's AIBO dog was a wave of the future, but didn't sell well

The AIBO robot dog was introduced in 1999, then discontinued in 2006.

So AIBO had a pretty long life in 'dog years,' but Sony didn't sell as many of them as it would've liked in America.

Sony sold more than 150,000 AIBO's...but where? Not here. Furby, on the other hand, sold more than 40 million units.

At least AIBO has a permanent doghouse residence in the Museum Of Modern Art in New York, and the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

The PSP Go was the PSP's awkward younger brother

The Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) was a massive success, but its disc-less sequel, the PSP Go, was a giant flop. In fact, the PSP Go was almost more similar to the ill-fated Mylo.

It only played games from the limited PlayStation Store, and you couldn't play any of the games you had already purchased on UMD for the PSP.

It launched in late 2009 for $249.99, then was discontinued in April 2011.

The UMD as a physical medium was a big mistake

The UMD's (universal media discs) you'd pop into a PSP to play games were far from universal. Even MemorySticks would've been better.

It was a mistake for Sony to build the PSP around a physical media disc (because it killed battery life and made the console a lot thicker), but it was a bigger mistake to try and create an ecosystem around UMDs.

Sony shipped millions of Sony Pictures movies on UMD, but nobody purchased them. You could find stacks of them at your local Best Buy.

After all, why would you buy a $29.99 movie on UMD when you could only watch it on a 4 inch screen? DVDs were the same price, and you could watch them on any DVD player.

Sony's music stores and jukebox don't hold a candle to iTunes

Sony is particularly poor at creating music stores, whether it's Connect, PressPlay, or MyPlay.

PressPlay was a particularly bad service. It launched in 2002 and was panned by critics. PCWorld called it one of the top 25 worst products of all time.

It charged $15.00/month to 'to listen to 500 low-quality audio streams, download 50 audio tracks, and burn 10 tracks to CD,' PCWorld remarked.

Sony's Super Audio CD never took off

Super Audio CDs (SACD) look like regular CDs, but they hold as much information as a DVD and have ultra-high quality sound features and range.

The format was meant to eclipse the CD as the format music was released in when it launched in 1999, but have you seen SACDs up for purchase anywhere?

Sony was even stubborn enough to include an SACD reader in the first couple versions of the Playstation 3 hardware.

The Digital Audio Tape (DAT) got in trouble with the Feds

The Digital Audio Tape was introduced in 1987 as a replacement for the cassette tape, but faced many challenges because of expensive players and recorders.

It also didn't help that the RIAA was trying to bring down the medium because of how relatively simple it was to copy and pirate CDs and cassette tapes using them.

Negotations ended with the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, which imposed taxes on DAT recorders and blank cassette tapes.

Sony infected Windows computers everywhere by accident

In 2005, Sony started layering in some thick copyright protection onto audio CDs.

When you'd pop an audio CD (from Sony BMG) into your computer, it would automatically load software to help prevent you from pirating.

It also installed a 'rootkit' which made Windows very vulnerable to hackers. Not only that, but Sony stole music encryption code to build it.

The whole ordeal turned into a giant PR disaster for Sony, who immediately recalled the audio CDs involved.

The MiniDisc was supposed to kill the cassette tape

The MiniDisc was introduced in 1992 to kill the cassette tape, but the CD and MP3 player ended up stealing its thunder. You have to see some of the ads it debuted with.

Each MiniDisc contained 80 mins of ATRAC audio. Very few labels got onboard to publish music on MiniDiscs, and ATRAC never got off the ground either as the MP3 format took the lead.

Sony sold a ton of MiniDiscs and MiniDisc players in Japan, but it was a total bust in America. It took 19 years, but Sony recently killed the MiniDisc once and for all.

The Sony eVilla network entertainment centre

The Sony eVilla was a $499.99 desktop computer that ran BeOS, a new operating system meant to help users get things done quicker than on Windows.

It launched June 14, 2001, but was then canned on August 30, 2001.

But it had no hard drive, so you couldn't save media from the web onto your eVilla. There was a memory stick port, but we've already been over that.

Palm ended up buying BeOS, and that was it for the eVilla.

BONUS: Blu-Ray was a battle Sony actually won

As the DVD format aged, movie studios and hardware makers started looking for its successor.

Toshiba pioneered HD DVD while Sony championed Blu-Ray, which launched in 2006.

For a couple years, the two companies dueled over who would succeed the DVD, and in the end, Sony won. In 2008, Toshiba built its first Blu-Ray player.

Now that you've seen the biggest Sony flops...

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