Innovation

Even after these 5 tech flops, people are still giving will.i.am cash

By Oliver Smith 7 November 2017
Image: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images.
Summary

Where is the love?

Want to burn a pile of money, and call it a ‘tech investment’?

Try giving it to will.i.am.

The Black Eyed Peas frontman has an incredibly impressive track record of ‘innovation’ when it comes to technology, having launched not one, not two, but at least five colossal failures in as many years.

Despite that, this morning i.am has reportedly raised another $117m in cash, this time to build a voice assistant and chatbot called Omega for big businesses to use instead of call centres…

We’ll wait and see just how successful his latest venture is, but if his past record is any indication, it’s going to be a total disaster.

Here are will.i.am’s 5 biggest tech flops (so far):

Image: Monica Schipper/FilmMagic/Getty.

1. The Puls

Maybe what will.i.am is best (or worst) known for in the world of tech, this ‘smartwatch’ was heralded by some reviewers as “the worst product I’ve touched all year”.

With its own SIM card and the ability to make phone calls in 2014 – a full four years before Apple managed to with its Apple Watch Series 3 – Puls certainly had raw ambition.

Sadly that’s all it had, and Puls was quietly killed off.

Image: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for i.am+.

2. The Dial

But will.i.am refused to accept defeat in the smartwatch space.

Just two years later the rapper came back with the Dial, a UK exclusive which added a camera, a streaming music service and a Siri-like voice assistant called Aneeda.

But while the reviews were more kind, The Dial never really went anywhere and is today listed as ‘out-of-stock’ with Three, which is probably the kindest way of putting it.

3. V.4

Before The Puls, back in 2012, i.am’s first dabble in the tech space was a rather garish gold smartphone case for iPhone 4 called V.4.

Sold in Selfridges with a hefty £299 price tag, the V.4 boasted a vintage looking camera lens (which was purely cosmetic), a keyboard, a built-in flash, some photo filters, oh, and will.i.am’s own Instagram social network rival called i.am.

Unsurprisingly, none of the above still exist.

4. BUTTONS

More recently will.i.am created maybe his most successful tech product to-date.

An expensive pair of wireless headphones.

Unlike everything else on this list, BUTTONS are still on sale and are… pretty average based on the reviews.

But, when you look over i.am’s huge expensive tech disasters, average is pretty good.

5. IAMAUTO

Oh yes, long before Apple spent billions on developing a smart car, before pulling the plug, and Tesla lost similar billions building its humble electric car empire, there was will.i.am.

In a bizarre series of events, i.am unveiled his IAMAUTO car brand on US TV (a modified DeLorean with a souped-up Beats sound system), decided to drive it around without licence plates or proper registration, found his car quickly impounded by the police, and that was the end of that saga.

Still, will.i.am clearly on top of the latest trends. He recently told students at a high school robotics competition that “this shit is mutherf**king dope“.

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