Microsoft Surface RT
Surface is a bundle of terrific, brave ideas about what a computer should be, bound together with old twine and sloppy execution. As a concept—the best of a tablet mixed with the best of a laptop—it's terrific. As an actual thing you can buy for $500, it's a total failure, hamstrung by a weak OS, a dearth of apps, and overall mediocrity. This isn't what Microsoft told us it'd be—just an awkward halfstep—and that's a shame. But we can still keep hope alive for the Pro version.
Google TV still doesn't know what it's supposed to be, and it's still entirely unpleasant to use. Search is overly complex, nobody wants shoehorned Android apps on a 50-inch screen, and almost all of the remotes are dreadful. After all the setup, your TV becomes more complicated to use, not more enjoyable. Sony and Vizio, two hardware powerhouses, both gave Google TV a good shot this year, and neither are products anyone should even be tempted to own. A year will come when TVs are "smart" and even more fun to use than they are now, but this ain't that year, and it doesn't look like Google will make that TV.
Apple made a name for itself, in part, but making the most beautiful, clever software in the world. No need to regurgitate months of frustration—we all know that Apple Maps ended up being pretty far from beautiful or clever. But at least we can stop thinking about it.
Google Nexus Q
The black ball that was supposed to transform your entire living room into the future of home entertainment by connecting everything to everything ended up so crappy that Google had to stop selling it. This thing should've never made it out of Google R&D.
Mattel's Back To The Future Hoverboard
Mattel said it would hover. It doesn't hover.
Finally! A gadget that's not another phone or tablet. This could've been old school Sony at its new school best: a watch that hooks into Facebook, Twitter, and all sorts of other great pixelated stuff. Thinking about it was enough to spark giddiness. Until you tried it on, and realized that it was garbage.
The iPad Mini's Screen
The iPad Mini is a good tablet, but it's screen is unforgivably primitive for the price. When was the last time Apple put out a product packed with tech that's worse than something it produced earlier? It's downright regressive—and until the inevitable retina iPad Mini drops, a lot of people will be (rightfully) looking toward the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 instead.