To quote a long-dead English author, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Indeed, 2013 had its share of good times and tech innovation. More companies invested in private and public cloud services and started using data analytics to improve bottom lines. Advancements in robotics got a boost as major players like Amazon and Google bought various robot companies (many call this progress, but it qualifies as a letdown if your job is replaceable by a robot).
The tablet craze continued this year as more sizes and designs hit the market. An influx of Android-based tablets helped reduce Apple's tablet market share to about 50%. Apple also acknowledged that the iPad needed to evolve by releasing the iPad Mini and iPad Air. At the same time, mobile apps and smartphones got better and more plentiful, and more employees found work-life flexibility with BYOD programs.
So cheers to progress. But this slideshow ain't about progress.
This is about the worst of times. A tale of 10 losers, if you will. Disappointments. Letdowns. The tech products, companies, events, or trends that fell short of their potential -- or worse, scared or frustrated us.
Security and privacy worries reached a crescendo this year. A 30-year-old contractor blew the whistle on the NSA's Prism program, revealing that the agency has been snooping on our private communications. It was one of the biggest stories of the year.
Another security event that stirred anxieties was a mammoth data breach at retail giant Target where attackers stole 40 million credit card numbers. This was a letdown but with a heavy dose of fear and exasperation for consumers. Also ranking high on the letdown scale: a certain government healthcare website that failed very publicly to live up to expectations.
Poor beleaguered BlackBerry let down anyone hoping that the company could make a comeback. Samsung released a smartwatch before it was ready for prime time. And Microsoft tried in vain to make sense of Windows 8 as the public shrugged.
If there's a silver lining, it's that failing is often the best -- maybe the only -- way to ultimately improve a product or situation. Though the following selections were letdowns this year, they are all salvageable (except maybe BlackBerry). Read on to see if you agree.