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TheStreet Open House

10 Best Tricks, Worst Treats In 2012 Tech

Stocks in this article: AAPLAMZNFBGOOGSNEZNGA

Trick
Sony's (SNE) PlayStation Vita

Maybe Sony wasn't paying attention when the whole video game world screamed at Nintendo not to release a new portable game system last year. Maybe it was busy when Nintendo figured out that nobody was going to buy its 3DS handheld for $250 when they could get an iPhone for $199, forcing Nintendo to cut $80 off the price.

Maybe it just thought the PlayStation Vita was too good an opportunity to ignore. It was wrong. The Vita, billed as the hard-core gamer's handheld and released with $250 and $280 price tags, has sunk like the shiny black rock it is. By the time it was released in the U.S. in February, the Vita's sales in Japan -- arguably the market it was made for -- had fallen below those of Sony's PlayStation Portable. That console was released eight years ago when smartphones still had keypads and lacked motion control gyros.

Nothing shy of disaster followed. Nintendo's 3DS may have been questionable, but it's sold more than 21 million units worldwide since its debut, according to video game industry tracking site VGChartz. The Vita? Three million. It's still outsold on a weekly basis by Nintendo's older, cheaper Wii console, which is waiting for the new Wii U to put it out of its misery next month.

How's it doing in the U.S.? It's sold fewer than 825,000 units here and finished dead last in sales last week, with roughly 9,600 units sold. By comparison, Nintendo's original DS sold 15,000 units and the once-derided 3DS sold 58,000. With Flurry Analytics noting that Nintendo's handheld market share had decreased from 78% three years ago to just 59% last year as casual gamers embraced smartphone apps and cheaper hardware, Sony just didn't seem to know how to take a hint.

Trick
Apple's Lightning adapters

One thing Apple failed to mention before introducing the iPhone 5 was that it would be switching from the 30-pin connectors it's been using for more than a decade to an eight-pin connector for this device.

Even when it did, it somehow mistakenly told iPhone 5 buyers on its U.K. site that "your phone includes a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter for connecting 30-pin accessories to devices featuring the Lightning connector." Not true at all. Apple scrubbed that reference from its site after customer service representatives started getting questions about it and clarified that iPhone 5 buyers would have to fork over $29 for an adapter or $39 for an adapter with a seven-inch cord. Oh, and those cords wouldn't ship until about a month after Apple unveiled the iPhone 5.

We understand why Apple would want a smaller connector for its incredible shrinking product line, but backwards-compatibility is no small matter in Apple World or tech in general. When you have an entire ecosytem that prides itself on never having to change peripherals like some schmuck flip-phone or PC user, it's pretty easy to see why they'd be so easily peeved by a $30 progress tax.

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