The 84 biggest flops, fails, and dead dreams of the decade in tech


The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we've had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments -- and gadgets -- arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped. This is the decade we learned that crowdfunded gadgets can be utter disasters, even if they don't outright steal your hard-earned cash. It's the decade of wearables, tablets, drones and burning batteries, and of ridiculous valuations for companies that were really good at hiding how little they actually had to offer. Here are 84 things that died hard, often hilariously, to bring us where we are today. Everyone was confused by Google's Nexus Q when it debuted in 2012, including The Verge -- which is probably why the bowling ball of a media streamer crashed and burned before it even came to market.

China's AI Industry Has Given Birth To 14 Unicorns: Is It A Bubble Waiting To Burst?


A staff member displays a DJI Phantom 3 4K drone during CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada. It may come as a surprising fact that there are now 14 Chinese AI companies valued at $1 billion or more. These unicorns are worth a combined $40.5 billion, according to a report China Money Network recently released during the World Economic Forum's Summer Davos gathering in Beijing. Just to put these numbers in perspective. Google bought DeepMind for over $500 million in 2014. Chinese voice recognition giant iFlytek Co. has a market capitalization of 63 billion yuan ($9.2 billion). Chinese AI startups raised $27.7 billion via 369 VC deals in 2017, according to a recent report from Tsinghua University. So naturally, it raises questions on if there is a bubble waiting to pop in the Chinese AI space. How could these companies, with an average age of less than five years, be worth so much money?

Dual-screen Finney phone is 'world's first blockchain smartphone' – and it wants to bring cryptocurrency to the masses

The Independent - Tech

An Israeli startup behind one of the world's most expensive phones has unveiled its latest device, which it hopes will simultaneously revolutionise smartphones and deliver cryptocurrency to the masses. In contrast to its predecessor, the new device aims to reach as wide an audience as possible with a more modest price tag of $1,000. It is unique both in terms of its software and hardware, having ditched the monolithic slab design adopted by most modern-day smartphone manufacturers. A twist to this ubiquitous design means the introduction of a hidden screen that slides up from behind the Finney's main display to reveal a cold-storage cryptocurrency wallet. "We're blockchain enthusiasts," Nimrod May, Sirin Labs' chief marketing officer, tells The Independent.

MORGAN STANLEY: These are the best stocks to own for the connected-car revolution Markets Insider


Back when smartphones were first introduced, mobile data was less than one-tenth of carrier revenue. Now that smartphones have all but taken over the world, Morgan Stanley is betting that an even bigger disruption will come from the introduction of data-hungry autonomous vehicles. The bank estimates the connected-car revolution could net cell phone carriers more than $1 trillion annually. But getting there won't be easy - it will take significant investment by telecom services companies, tower providers, and other communications infrastructure providers - to shore up the grid in order for data-hungry cars to take the road. "The list is populated irrespective of specific 12-month recommendations and so includes some Underweight-rated names, in addition to M Equal-weight and Overweight-rated names," the bank said.

5G, VR, AI, blockchain: What to watch out for at Mobile World Congress


By Stefan Nicola and Joe Mayes Mobile World Congress, the wireless industry's biggest conference, begins next week in Barcelona, where more than 100,000 people are set to see the latest smartphones, artificial intelligence devices and autonomous drones exhibited by roughly 2,300 companies. The event is also the industry's largest networking opportunity for executives, bankers, analysts and the like to talk shop -- and potential deals. Here are the big themes likely to dominate the event: Samsung to Sony in device battle MWC has long been a venue for companies to show off their latest mobile devices and vie for consumer attention. This year, Samsung is back to unveil its latest flagship phone, widely expected to be the Galaxy S9. Sony created buzz when it posted a video on Twitter last Sunday for what looks like it could be a new Xperia device with curves, and gadget blogs such as Wired have speculated whether foldable phones will make their debut this year.

BlackBerry shares soar by 12% as software sales hit record

The Guardian

The transformation of BlackBerry from a bombed-out, loss-making smartphone maker to a new-look software firm appears to be working: the Canadian business has reported better-than-expected quarterly profits, boosting its shares by more than 12%. The company, which was famous for its tiny keyboard phones and in 2010 had more than a third of the US smartphone market, was almost driven to extinction by the iPhone. By 2016 it had less than 1% of the US market. Thousands of workers were laid off as losses mounted and the business eventually gave up making phone handsets and decided to reinvent itself as a software and services specialist selling to large corporations. In its profits update on Thursday the company said sales at its high-margin software unit had hit a record and the outlook for the rest of the year was robust, boosting investor confidence in its turnaround strategy.

The $1tn question: how far can the new iPhone 8 take Apple?

The Guardian

Apple's stock market value is heading towards a new milestone and its latest product launch on 12 September could push the tech giant closer to becoming the first ever $1tn (£760bn) company. At the end of last week, the company's market capitalisation hovered around $830bn, continuing a 10-year run that has generally headed upwards since a low of $69bn in January 2009, during the financial crisis. Tuesday's event, with the iPhone 8 the star attraction, will strive to meet investors' – and customers' – vaulting expectations. But what will Apple tempt users with to justify Wall Street's faith in its future profits? An Apple spokesman declined to discuss what will be revealed at the event in the company's $5bn, spaceship-shaped Cupertino headquarters. - Artificial Intelligence Stocks, The Opportunity and Market; (NASDAQ: $EA), ($GOOGL), (OTCQB: $GOPH), ($FB), ($IBM)


For investors trying to understand the opportunity and the size of the market, a report from Statista says that, "In 2017, the global AI market is expected to be worth approximately 1.25 billion U.S. dollars. Some current major uses of artificial intelligence include image recognition, object identification, detection and classification, as well as automated geophysical feature detection. The largest proportion of revenues come from the AI for enterprise applications market." Featured Company: Gopher Protocol, Inc. (OTCQB: GOPH) is a development-stage company developing Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence enabled mobile technology. The Company has a portfolio of Intellectual Property that when commercialized will include smart microchips, mobile application software and supporting cloud software.

ARM Gains Stronger Foothold In China With AI And IoT


China represents a huge opportunity for chip designer ARM as it looks to extend its low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture beyond the mobile and embedded devices spaces and into new areas, such as the datacenter and emerging markets like autonomous vehicles, drones and the Internet of Things. China is a massive, fast-growing market with tech companies – including such giants as Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent – looking to leverage such technologies as artificial intelligence to help expand their businesses deeper into the global market and turning to vendors like ARM that can help them fuel that growth. ARM Holdings, which designs SoCs and licenses those designs to third-party companies, has more than 1,000 such partners worldwide, including more than 200 in China alone, where over the past decade, the number of ARM-based chips shipped by Chinese partners has jumped 114-fold. The company has a dominant position in the mobile device market, with ARM-based chips powering the bulk of smartphones and tablets on the market around the globe. The rise of the IoT, the growth of hyperscale computing environments and the greater focus on energy efficiency in the datacenter has created opportunities for ARM to push beyond those mobile and embedded computing areas and rapidly grow its addressable market possibilities.

Apple, Google locked in battle for Silicon Valley supremacy

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – At the top of the corporate world, Apple and Google are in a back-and-forth battle to be No. 1. It is not clear which of the two Silicon Valley giants will emerge on top in a contest that highlights the contrast of very different business models. Apple then regained, lost and recovered the leader position in May in a battle that appears set to continue for some time. As of the end of Friday, Apple was worth some 522 billion, to 496 billion for Alphabet. The two companies have both been hugely profitable in recent years, for different reasons.