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Vendredi, 18 Novembre 2011 12:30

9 Gadgets That Prove You're a Hard-Core Early Adopter

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9 Gadgets That Prove You're a Hard-Core Early Adopter

The early adopter: Part trailblazer, part pollyanna, he’s never met an unproven technology he didn’t like. He doesn’t just want the best gear, he wants to believe. He wants to believe that new tech is the best tech, and that products simply wouldn’t be released if they weren’t ready for prime time.

He’s an optimist. He’s a betting man. He’s pulling out his wallet, and going all-in.

In many cases, the early adopter has the right instincts, but pulls the trigger too soon. He buys consumer electronics premised on solid ideas, but handicapped by immature execution — like a good portion of the nine historical curiosities I present here. Not all of the following technologies were flops, but every single one required a brazen leap of faith.

Think you have better examples of early-adopter folly? Let us know in the comments section of this article, and we’ll use your best suggestions in an upcoming list.


The First Backward-Compatible Color TV

In 1954, RCA began producing the CT-100 — 15 diagonal inches of blurry, headache-inducing image quality. The set sold for $1,000 (about $7,850 in today’s economy) and included two sets of circuitry to ensure backward-compatibility with black-and-white broadcasts. Warned Consumer Reports: “Only an inveterate [and well-heeled] experimenter should let the advertisements seduce him into being 'among the very first' to own a color-TV set."

Only some 4,400 CT-100s were ever made, and unsold units were quickly reduced in price to $495. Given that color broadcasting didn’t become a prime-time staple until the 1966-67 television season, it’s easy to see how RCA’s 1954 launch was so egregiously premature.

Jon is the Wired.com senior editor in charge of Gadget Lab. On Google+, you can follow him here.
Follow @JonPhillipsSF and @gadgetlab on Twitter.


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