Tech Flop Shows in India, Few WTF Moment of 2009

Recap of 2009  and we start with top 5 technology vaporware of 2009.2009 in review

The $10 laptop

Indian government surprised everybody with the announcement of $10 laptop, and within few moments the price was increased to $100.

The laptop, when produced, will prove to be a breakthrough device that could solve the problems of low computer literacy and e-learning not only in India, but also the world over – HRD Ministry

“The computer will be a small equipment with expandable memory, LAN and Wi-Fi facilities. The government will also produce e-content on every subject which will be made available free of cost.

..lot of testing has to be done to ensure that the technology works properly. Once the testing is over, the computer2009020457282001[1]s will be made available on commercial basis. The target is to make it available in six months time. – details

Breakthrough? Huh?

The product when it was launched turned out to be a storage device, containing megabytes of data info which can be accessed by a user by connecting this device to a laptop!

“..the computing device is 10 inches long and 5 inches wide and has been priced at around $30.
The 10” long and 5” wide hand-held device, resembling a palmtop or a modem, helps e-learners access the Web easily. Priced versions of e-content available on the Net can be accessed through this device.[more details]

How different is it from a USB drive? What’s the state of this ‘$10 laptop’? Nobody knows. Nobody cares.

ISRO Bhuvan

Touted as Google Earth killer, an impressive feature list jazzed with approval from government (and that means access to data which Google Earth cannot even dream of), ISRO Bhuvan was first announced in 2008 (ISRO’s Bhuvan to beat Google Earth) and after repeated delay in the launch, finally took off in August, 2009 (Download ISRO Bhuvan).

isro bhuvan screenshot
isro bhuvan screenshot

Features promised:

  • Zoom levels upto 10 mts
  • Multi layer info
  • Indian satellites
  • Images to be upgraded every year …and lot more.

But what really happened can put a lot of technologists to shame. The product quality sucked so badly (look at the 280+ comments here, that ranges from die-hard patriotism to questioning ISRO’s ability to build software product) that if you can install and launch the product, you might as well get a Tech-Arjuna award, if one exists.

The product, which was prematurely launched (to coincide with Independence day) is not really a usable product (atleast for consumers) and expecting Bhuvan to open up API etc (read: How can ‘Bhuvan’ beat ‘Lagaan’ of Google, Yahoo and Bing(MicroSoft) Maps) is as good as relying on ‘$10’ laptop for all your computing needs.

Next: More Tech ‘WTF’ Moments of 2009.

What has been your ‘WTF’ tech moment in 2009?

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