Vapourware (or Vaporware) is a term used in the Tech industry (later broadened to include products from other industries) to describe products that are marketed heavily sometimes in the form of concepts but are never actually get released and get stuck in limbo.
The first instance of vapourware was first observed back in the year 1983.
The tech world was in its infancy and was excited about the new IBM PC and the MS-DOS operating system, while a company called ovation technologies announced to the world that it would provide a word processing, spreadsheet functionality, and data management — a tall order at the time.
Having burnt through seven million dollars of its funding without having produced even a single product, a year later the company filed for bankruptcy.
More recent offenders include Half-Life 3, Atari 2700, Xenix, CST-01, Elio Motors scooter, Zano autonomous drone and many more.
Industry insiders have often accused developers and manufacturers of intentionally promoting vapourware to secure funding from investors, donors and keeping customers from switching to competitors.
Now since we have an idea of what a Vapourware is let’s see how we could spot one.
How do you spot one?
Before you get excited about a new interesting product, it’s always best to keep the following factors in mind.
- Feasibility: Is the product even reasonable? Can it be conceptualised?
- Track record: Is the producer of said product legit? What’s their background?
- Backing: Who’s backing it and what is their track record?
- Market: Does it have competing products? Why is this different from the rest?
- Hype: Don’t fall for the hype check how they are marketing the said product/service.
- Funding: How much are they demanding? Will they break even with their product?
- Longevity: How will it fare in the long run? Will it be sustainable?
Many factors come into play during the development of a product and determining a product’s future can be a tricky task.
When you’re interested in a product/service, it’s best to do some digging regarding the more delicate details and use rational logic to come to a decisive judgment.
The tech industry is full of groundbreaking and innovative ideas, but not everything can always be conceptualised in real life.
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