And it wasn't just the weekly political dramas, sexual harassment scandals or a massive security breach that affected nearly half the population that had us down. There was also a slew of terrible consumer devices that sullied our mood this year. Before we say goodbye to them, though, let's relive the horror one last time. Here's hoping that 2018 brings us better gadgets than this sorry lot.
LOS ANGELES -- Tech products have gone out of business before, but they usually leave traces for consumer contact. The fitness tracker and bluetooth speaker company Jawbone, which is in the process of liquidating, is taking a different tack. Visitors to its website see a company that looks like all is well, and is promoting products--except that there are no links to buy them. A phone number contact directs callers to a general voicemail box. Customers complain in online review forums of leaving many messages in e-mail and phone form that haven't been answered.
Social media served up a schadenfreude shake Friday on news that Juicero, a startup that created a widely mocked Wi-Fi-compatible juicer, went under. Juicero was supposed to do to the cold-press juice market what the Keurig machine did to the world of boutique coffee -- make every consumer into a barista, and make some venture capitalists very rich. For a while, Silicon Valley believed in Brooklyn hipster-vegan Doug Evans. Google's venture capital arm was among the investors that threw millions of dollars into Evans' $700 machine and its subscription-based juice bags. It wasn't long before wags were dubbing Evans' creation "smart juice."
As gadgets go, Juicero is pretty plain. The cold-press juicing machine consists of a square-shaped, tablet-sized silver block of aluminum that's affixed to a rounded, trapezoidal white base. Looking at it, you'd never guess that it secured 120 million in funding, incited a maelstrom of incredulous headlines, and prompted one investor to call it "the most complicated business that I've ever funded." That's how Yves Béhar wanted it. Not the media storm--that came two years after Béhar met and began working with Juicero's founder, Doug Evans.