Spectacular flameouts and products that simply ran out of gas litter the road to the mobile future we're all traveling
The mobile technologies that came to the end of their road this year
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
7-inch Android tablets
WebOS, the TouchPad, and the Pre and Pixi
Sony Tablet S
See another InfoWorld slideshow: From Android to iOS, where Google inspired Apple
Not all mobile failures occur in hardware offerings. Case in point is QuarkXPress 9.1, the newest version of the pioneering desktop publishing software. XPress 9 was supposed to allow the creation by designers anywhere of iPad apps for magazines, books, and other content via App Store container apps, with the kinds of reader-friendly controls such as resizable text "liquid layout" that you find in leading e-periodicals such as the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Economist.
When XPress 9 shipped this spring, the promised iPad e-reader features weren't there but were promised for a free update to ship in 90 days. Nearly four months later, that 9.1 update arrived -- minus the liquid layout. All you could create were glorified PDF-style static documents. Worse, I couldn't get the software's convoluted process for actually creating an e-reader container app to work outside the app's demo mode; Quark initially kept changing the process and finally gave up trying to help make its own App Store integration process work. Quark swears a couple customers have gotten this software to work, a damning defense.
The larger promise remains unfulfilled: easy iPad (and also promised for the future) Android publishing. Publishers of all stripes remain stuck in the horrible world of terrible mobile publishing tools.