Right idea, wrong time: the tech that turned up too early

Microsoft's iPad, Sega's Kinect and how Apple nearly invented the World Wide Web
Apple Newton MessagePad

Technology isn't just about having bright ideas. It's about having those ideas at the right time. Time it right and untold riches await - but turn up too early and you'll end up as a footnote to someone else's success story. Here are ten technologies that could have been contenders...

Sega's Kinect

You plug it into your games console, it watches you move and it turns your wavy arms and kicking feet into killer kung-fu moves. No, not Kinect: Sega's 1993 Activator, which Destructoid called "the crappiest game peripheral ever made". The idea was sound but the implementation wasn't: your $80 didn't quite deliver the full-body tracking the ads implied - your movements were mapped to basic up, down, left, right, A, B, C and so on  - and it was bulky, ugly and a pain to set up.

Seiko's smart watch

Samsung's Galaxy Gear is a very old idea: Seiko was making smartwatches such as the RC-1000 back in 1984. The RC-1000 was little more than a very simple PDA that you could control from a PC, but then again the Samsung Galaxy Gear doesn't do very much either.

Apple's premature iPhone

The MessagePad Newton was the iPhone a decade too early: battery technology was primitive, with early models sucking triple-A batteries dry in the blink of an eye; today's bright, capacitive touchscreens were many years away; and wireless connectivity and mobile broadband were yet to deliver on their promises. The Newton was a nifty tool, but it arrived too early to be the world-conquering monolith that 2007's iPhone would become.