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Chutzpah: Tech's Biggest Broken Promises

By Cliff Edwards - 2012-03-05T20:01:26Z

SSPL via Getty Images

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Apple Newton MessagePad (1993)

Known as Newton, the name of its operating system, the line of Apple handhelds set out to revolutionize computing with its touch-screen and handwriting-recognition software. The technology was so bad in the $700 debut models that it became the butt of "Doonesbury" jokes: "I am writing a test sentence" became "Siam fighting atomic sentry."

Though handwriting recognition vastly improved with later models, the Newton line was discontinued in 1998. By then it had again been immortalized in an episode of "The Simpsons" that featured a character writing "Beat up Martin," which translated to "Eat up Martha."