Large technology companies work year after year to innovate in the market and offer a wide range of products that cover a large number of needs for all users.
Of course, this implies that most companies have very different products. There are some very specialized in a specific type of device , such as those that are mainly dedicated to manufacturing smartphones.
But these companies also often create other products, such as peripherals for their terminals, or accessories in general that have no direct relationship with the smartphone market.
On the other hand, there are large technology companies that instead of focusing on a specific type of product, or on a range of related products, have chosen to diversify as much as possible .
Thanks to this, it is relatively easy to find companies of this type that launch a wide variety of products on the market: from home appliances and other household appliances , to laptops, tablets or headphones.
Index of contents
- Motorola messages
- Netflix Mail DVDs
- Military tanks made in Samsung
- Amazon brand smartphones
- Teletubbies dolls made by Microsoft
- Miniature sonar made by Bandai and Nintendo
- The video game console made by Apple
But sometimes, the technology giants make questionable decisions , or at least strange enough that we wonder who has thought to launch a product of a certain type or with specific characteristics.
And it is that, in the last decades, many of these companies have put on sale some rather curious objects . Not only for having a strange appearance, but because it is directly not the type of product you would expect from these brands.
There are many of these products that only lasted a few months on the market, or that were only sold in one country. And consequently, most have been forgotten . So let’s take a look at some of these rarities that have been sold in recent decades.
We are currently used to taking our smartphone everywhere. It allows us to be connected at all times, and thanks to current technology, it is practically like carrying a computer in our hand .
But smartphones have not been with us for two decades . And ordinary cell phones, which had mainly limited calling and texting features, aren’t much older, either: The first ones appeared in the 1980s.
But the first mobiles were very expensive, as well as huge. Some companies decided to look for alternatives that were more practical and affordable for the general public. And based on this, Motorola put the first messaphone up for sale .
If you hear the word messaphone, depending on your age, it may not tell you anything or you don’t know what we are referring to. But if we refer to the messages as a paging device, or directly “search” , it is probably much more familiar to you.
The pagers were devices that fit in the palm of the hand and were mainly used to send short messages . They were extremely popular in the 90s, and Motorola was the leading company in the manufacture of these devices.
Of course, as mobile phones began to become more common and to be sold for more reasonable prices, the pagers lost popularity. But for a whole decade it was the communication device of choice for many .
Netflix Mail DVDs
Many of us grew up in the days when video clubs were everywhere . We rented movies and games, and eventually DVDs, to be able to spend entertaining evenings and weekends.
But little by little, video stores began to disappear thanks to the increase in the use of the internet for leisure consumption . And when streaming platforms appeared globally, video stores became completely obsolete.
However, some streaming platforms have an important link with video clubs and their business model, and they owe them for having succeeded in different countries and making millions of profits.
This is the case of the well-known Netflix , a streaming platform that has reached practically everyone and has also become a producer of successful series, films and documentaries.
Before Netflix had a web platform and numerous apps for users to view content online, the company was in a quite different business: They were basically a subscription service that sent DVDs to its customers by mail .
It’s funny enough to think of Netflix sending letters to someone with DVDs inside, but this allowed the company to achieve enough success to grow in the market. And in fact, for a time they ruled out the possibility of opening an online platform for believing that it would not generate enough profit .
Military tanks made in Samsung
If there is a company that knows what it is like to engage in radically different businesses even in the field of technology, that is undoubtedly the South Korean company Samsung.
Samsung sells practically everything you can imagine : smartphones, headphones, televisions, fridges, alarms, smart home devices … It seems that nothing is too complex for them.
But as we discussed a few days ago in this article on the history of the company, Samsung has a much wider variety of products than we are usually aware of . The company has subsidiaries dedicated, for example, to insurance and food products.
And some of its subsidiaries are dedicated to the manufacture of naval and military equipment . Not surprisingly, that information isn’t widely known, as they generally limit those deals to agreements with the South Korean government .
Whether or not it is known, Samsung, through its subsidiary Samsung Techwin , has manufactured tanks and other weapons material in recent decades. Among them are the K-9 Thunder tanks, one of the main tanks used by the artillery corps of the South Korean army.
Amazon brand smartphones
Amazon has established itself as one of the leading companies in the field of online sales , both with respect to those that they manage themselves, and to those that are carried out by secondary sellers through its platform.
Many of us have become used to depending on Amazon to buy some specific products. And considering that they have practically everything , it is not uncommon for some people to buy more through this website than in physical stores.
But as you may already know, Amazon does not act only as a sales website: it also has its own services, such as Amazon Prime Video, or even various ranges of technology products .
Some of the best known are Kindle e-books, and of course the wide range of Fire devices . Within the latter, you probably know the Fire tablets, or even the Fire TV Stick.
However, there is a Fire device that very few people have heard of, and that almost everyone has forgotten: the Fire Phone , Amazon’s first and so far only attempt to make a smartphone .
And frankly, it’s not a project that Amazon did particularly well . For some reason, they decided to include 3D technology similar to that of Nintendo 3DS consoles to the phone, but in practice, that function was only used in the graphics of the lock screen.
Also, the device was riddled with problems . The camera didn’t work well, the operating system was confusing and buggy, and the smartphone was also sold under an exclusive contract with an American phone company.
To this we must add the fact that the Fire Phone came standard with an object recognition engine designed to encourage purchases through Amazon. It seemed that the smartphone was more made to show advertising than anything else .
It is not surprising therefore that this device lasted just one year on the market, and generated considerable losses to Amazon.
Teletubbies dolls made by Microsoft
When we think of Microsoft, we associate this company mainly with computers, operating systems , software in general, and maybe even smartphones.
In general, it is what Microsoft has been dedicated to throughout its history. But as with so many other companies, on more than one occasion they have diversified .
And this has led them to manufacture quite curious products, such as interactive toys for children . In the 90s Microsoft created some dolls called ActiMates , which could speak, sing, dance and play various games.
They were not just stuffed animals. Microsoft collaborated with several television production companies in the manufacture of ActiMates to make dolls with the appearance of popular characters from children’s series .
Thanks to this, ActiMates of the Teletubbies , the purple dinosaur Barney , and Arthur, the protagonist of the series of drawings of the same name, came to the market . And depending on the doll, they included some functions or others.
For example, Barney’s ActiMate had robotic mechanisms inside that allowed him to move and dance, and the Teletubbies’ ActiMates had a small gut screen that displayed images and played music.
In addition, some ActiMates had accessories that allowed them to connect to computers and interact with the website of the series from which the character came, or connect to television and react when the series was being broadcast.
Miniature sonar made by Bandai and Nintendo
Namco Bandai is one of the best known Japanese video game companies, especially for producing video games based on different manga and animation series in Japan.
However, before Namco Bandai was a single company, Namco and Bandai were different companies , sharing certain markets but generally engaged in manufacturing different products.
In the case of Bandai, his work focused on making toys, games and figures of popular characters. And from time to time, they also developed some pretty quirky gadgets .
This led to a collaboration with Nintendo to manufacture a fishing sonar for the original Game Boy called the Game Boy Pocket Sonar . Yes, you read correctly, a sonar for the Game Boy.
The device in question was connected to the Game Boy and could be used to locate fish in shallow areas . Once the sonar detected something, it displayed the position data on the console screen.
The product is rare in itself, but perhaps the strangest thing is that it seemed like a logical peripheral for a video game console. After all, only amateur fishermen would have a minimal interest in buying something like this .
Probably because of this, the Game Boy Pocket Sonar hit the market accompanied by a few fishing mini-games . With this, at least the device would have a minimum appeal for other players.
The video game console made by Apple
When it comes to electronics, Apple has done almost everything , and video games are no exception. In the 90s, the apple company decided that it was time to get their head into the video game industry, and this led them to develop a project that few people know about.
It is the Apple Pippin , a device that was actually a mixture of a game console and a computer . Much of its components came from Apple computers, and used the Mac operating system of the time.
In theory, creating this console was a good idea. You could use it to play games you had on CD, as long as they were suitable for the Apple operating system .
And technically, it could function as a computer; In addition to connecting to television, it had an Internet connection and certain functions present in common Apple computers.
The problem is that that made her expensive. Extremely expensive . Around $ 600, which if it is an exaggeration today, it was much more at that time. They promoted it mostly as a console, rather than a computer, and perhaps that was the reason it sold so little.
And it is that in a market already dominated by very successful and much cheaper consoles, such as the Nintendo 64 and the first PlayStation, the Apple Pippin had no chance of succeeding . The lack of games did not help, but only the price must have been sufficient reason.