By Jimmie Geddes email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Dec 31, 2012 04:03 PM EST
As 2012 draws to a close, it's a good time to look back and learn. There were great technology hits throughout 2012 but there were also some misses. It's time to look back at the two biggest personal technology flops (or fails) so others can try and not repeat them as we move into 2013.
The biggest tech flop of 2012 has to be Apple Maps application, which was launched with iOS 6. Apple wanted to distance itself from Google and removed Google Maps from iOS which came pre-installed on every iOS device since the original iPhone's debut in June 2007. When Apple showed off Apple Maps at their World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2012, it came off as a very impressive app, but also signaled the end of Google being the default provider of mapping information on iOS devices. When the Apple Maps app was showed off, it included Apple's attention to detail and eye candy throughout the design of the app. Apple's devices would finally offer free turn-by-turn navigation, a feature its Android rivals came with for years. Fly Over allowed you to see major metro-areas from the air with photo-realistic, interactive 3D views. It's a cool feature but more of a novelty. And, unfortunately, there were also some critical missing features in Apple Maps which Google had offered for years in its iOS Maps app, like Street View and transit directions.
When Apple released iOS 6 in September of 2012, the tech sweetheart was facing criticism it wasn't used to. Many people complained about errors in the mapping app causing some to get lost (I had experienced this on the way to the birth of my niece). Other missteps were the Fly Over 3D view would show iconic constructions like the Brooklyn Bridge appear to look collapsed, and some parts of the world were completely covered by clouds in satellite view. The verdict was clear - Apple Maps was a half-baked product and Apple took a beating for releasing a half-baked product. Only days after iOS 6 was released, Apple issued a statement of apology for the Maps debacle and promised it would continuously improve the Maps app and would offer suggestions on third party map apps while it worked to improve its Map app. Apple followed through, it has since greatly improved its Maps app and, thankfully, has approved Google Maps app for iOS.
The second biggest personal technology flop would be RIM's BlackBerry. Well, really the delay of the promised BlackBerry 10 hardware and software. RIM's BlackBerry, once the king of the smartphone world, watched itself lose its throne to competitors like Apple's iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android OS.
Rim also failed to deliver BlackBerry 10, the next-generation operating system BlackBerrys would run on to compete better with iOS and Android, on time. RIM had to announce in June that it would not be able to deliver BlackBerry 10 until 2013, which only sent RIM into a massive decline and faithful users of the BlackBerry platform began jumping ship in favor of the competition. RIM continued to lose its market share as the months passed and in November of 2012, even Sony and HTC sold more devices than RIM did. This was an embarassment for RIM. Its staggering growth was now down by almost 40% compared to the previous year.
RIM has the chance to gain some of the market share it lost, in 2013, as it will launch BlackBerry 10 devices and software in the first quarter of 2013. Will it be enough to bring the once-market leader back to being a serious player in the smartphone world? It's tough to say. RIM is going to face a serious uphill battle to try and regain almost a year of market share it lost with the delay of BlackBerry 10 and more importantly, the trust and confidence of the BlackBerry users.