Now that Black Friday is over you probably have a lot of stuff that you just like… Bought for no reason because you convinced yourself it was a good deal. If you were able to convince your family to stay strong and avoid the pull, you’re not in the clear yet. You have Cyber Monday coming up, because if there’s anything the bigwigs in their ivory towers want, it’s for you to consume products. Or something. Anyway, there are a lot of things that have come out of Silicon Valley. Some of them cool, some of them really dumb. Let’s talk about some of the really dumb stuff today. Here are some weird pieces of consumer technology you might regret buying. Or you still make fun of the friend who bought in.
1. The Juicero
Juicero is probably the epitome of Silicon Valley spending millions to solve problems that didn’t even exist. No seriously, Juicero raised $120 million in venture capital. The machine itself cost like $400 (they had to bring it down from $700), and it was supposed to do what the name implies. It was supposed to juice stuff. Even at first blush this seems kind of ridiculous, since you can squeeze many of the fruits you would want to juice for a similar effect.
So the premise was already kind of dumb, why would you spend $400 on a machine that juices stuff? But it gets worse, because the Juicero could only juice things from proprietary bags. That you had to put in the machine so the machine could put the pre-juiced juice into the juicing machine so the machine could give you juice.
Oh, also you could just squeeze the juice out of the pack with your hands without even using the machine. No wonder they went defunct in 2017.
It’s not consumer technology but this is one of the dumbest startups ever we had to include because you need to know that at some point it existed.
Ever been doing your laundry and realized “oh no, I don’t have any quarters?” Well Washboard had you covered. In theory, because this firm also went under, to nobody’s surprise.
Because their game plan was to mail you $20 in quarters while charging you $27.
Also how much are you really raking in by charging 25 cents so we can clean our clothes? Just like… Add a dollar to the monthly rent payment or something if you’re an apartment.
This is a weird Google collaboration that was supposed to make a smart jacket or smart backpack that could interact with your smartphone. They even worked with Levi’s to make a smart denim jacket for cyclists who can’t reach their phone while biking or whatever; you’re supposed to be able to control your music or answer calls and stuff by tapping your sleeve.
Here’s a secret. If you own a smartwatch you’re basically doing the exact same thing. If you’re wearing earbuds or headphones, you can also do the exact same thing by touching the side of your head.
4. The Selfie Toaster
It’s a toaster that will sear your toast with a custom image. Which means you’re paying more for toast that isn’t evenly made. You’ve paid for objectively inferior toast.
They didn’t even hover, they had wheels. So they’ve already lost a lot of points for not letting us fly.
Also their batteries exploded a lot.
6. A Super High Tech Mood Ring
Here we have found a smart ring that measures your mood. Why you couldn’t tell what mood you’re in is beyond us. We’re not sure how this makes us feel, so we’ll probably have to order one to know exactly how confused we are.
Though in fairness one of the services this firm aims to provide is letting healthcare professionals or even employers measure the stress of their employees or whatever. Our jobs knowing how we’re feeling at any given moment probably isn’t a work-life boundary that needs breaking now. Or ever, really.
7. Google Stadia
If you play video games you already know how bad Google Stadia is. Google seems to know too, because it only took a year for them to start winding down development on it. For $10 a month you can cloud stream games in your browser to your computer! Except it was so unstable when it came out many games were straight up unplayable due to latency. It’s a shame because Google advertised “negative latency.” Does that sound like absolute marketing nonsense? Congratulations if it does, because you’re right and that also means you probably play video games.
You also still have to buy games on Stadia (though some come with the subscription). This is a huge problem when Stadia is competing with services that are more stable and also just less expensive. Nvidia’s directly competing service is compatible with games you already own, so you don’t have to double dip and repurchase your games. Microsoft has one too that comes with their own library of (a lot) of games that you can also just download locally if you don’t like latency.
Honestly, we could do an entire post of dumb things Google made and killed. Stadia might just join the library soon.
Speaking of technology, here’s a technology word ladder.