High tech hot air: 10 technologies that failed to set the world on fire

3G

The UK's first 3G mobile phone network went live in March 2003, promising effortless videoconferencing and high quality live streaming of football matches. Ten years on and we'd be happy with a decent data connection in city centres and phone calls that didn't get dropped forty-two times in the space of three minutes. We weren't the only ones taken in by 3G's promises. The networks were too, spending so much on their radio licenses that they faced financial ruin. Still, there's always 4G to look forward to...

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Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft did almost everything right with the Surface RT. It teased and hinted for months, building anticipation. It held marketing events that revealed just enough, but not too much. It designed a beautiful piece of hardware. It just forgot to give it a sensible price and a good operating system with lots of apps. Surface RT has lost Microsoft a fortune - $900m in the last financial quarter alone - but it's staying in the tablet business. Here's hoping version 2 is a lot better.

Voice recognition

"Send Dave a message: I'll be there at two. I have big news." "Okay, here's your message: Dave, screw you! Your wife is a goose!" It's much better than it used to be - if you compare recent Android or Apple phones' voice recognition with the PC-based dictation systems of the 1990s the difference is dramatic - but it's still not quite as good as we hoped.