This list is going to ruin someone's day. One man's garbage is another man's treasure,…
This is a list of audio technology that essentially failed, or was too redundant or unnecessary that it never found an audience. When researching this blog entry, the sheer enormity of the number of now extinct audio formats that I came across was unbelievable. I think this should be prefaced by saying there are a lot of cool ideas here, and so many that I wish would have caught on for various reasons from being superior technology to just looking extremely cool. It’s amazing how many times this single area of audio formats, and their many media types were invented and reinvented, even in the wake of other new and widely adopted technologies, still companies both large and small took a shot with their own entry into the audio player technology space. In no particular order, here’s our list of audio equipment that should have never been invented.
These wearable works of art, created by Oakley were endorsed by Dog The Bounty Hunter, and sold for a whopping $495 when they were first introduced. Beyond their stellar celebrity endorsement, and style that looks like it could have hoped right off of one of Wesley Snipes enemies in Blade, they had extremely limited storage when they were first released compared to the standards of mp3 players of that time. People say they were difficult to use, however they also say you have to suffer for fashion, and inconvenience is a small price to pay to look this good.
Despite users who were so excited about the technology that it actually lead one man to get a Zune tattoo, these units couldn’t compete with the more ubiquitous Apple “Mp3” offerings. They actually had some cool features in which you could share music directly between Zunes, however there were some limitations, you could only play acquired tracks three times within three days of having shared them, among a few other drawbacks. They tried to reinvigorate interest with an updated HD version of the player, that included gaming, but it wasn’t long before the Zune became the first digital mp3 player to go the way of the 8-track.
Despite being promoted in almost every late 90s movie about hackers or futuristic crime, they never caught on as being a popular format. Not to say they didn’t have their extremely loyal cult, who still use mini discs to this day. Some extremely obscure sub-genres of music still put out albums on this format, but price and a transformation of digital downloads with the advent of Napster had already began to change the landscape of storage capacity, and how people were listening to music. From a design standpoint this was one of the most practical updates to optical format data storage, that allowed for protection of the media with a plastic covering, based on the same data access door used on computer floppy discs.
8-Track players, and the associated audio equipment, were extremely cool looking, so many of the players had incredible design, however many users had various complaints about these audio players. Many would report that the unites functioning and track switching were very noisy. It was also not a very reliable format, they would frequently have issues with playback and track switching. The 8-track tape players were also most popularly installed in cars, however the tapes themselves couldn’t stand up to the extreme heat of being stored in cars, as they would warp and melt into an unplayable condition.
Almost an identical clone of Sony’s mini disc technology, however there were a few twists to DataPlay’s offering that was incredibly unique. As illegal downloading began to slowly dismantle the commercial music market, the DataPlay discs and players utilized a complex digital rights management system, which almost all but prevented the illegal copying or trading of tracks. It also allowed for those who have purchased a disc to pay to unlock additional content that was already recorded to the disc itself with a secondary purchase. With limited commercial releases available on the format, fans could however get their hands on Avril Lavigne’s first record and then pay to unlock multi-media and extra content. If that doesn’t give you a picture of why we aren’t using this today, then I don’t know what will.
Take a look at some audio equipment that we are very grateful for here.