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5 Big CES Products That Tanked

2. Palm Pre

Nearly two years into the iPhone era, Palm's WebOS system, Deck of Cards multitasking, slide-out keyboard, outstanding voice quality and Synergy for contacts, calendars and messages from various sources including Facebook (FB), Outlook and Gmail all seemed like they could be key to the smartphone's future.

It was a nice dream.

The Palm Pre was the right phone at the wrong time. Its Web search automatically pasted search terms into various engines, the pinching and double-tap zoom was as easy to navigate as the iPhone's and it had Wi-fi, Bluetooth, an airplane mode, Microsoft and Mac compatibility and the voice quality of a landline phone.

Unfortunately, in 2009, the iPhone and BlackBerry were the top smartphones and the Pre tried to be a little bit of both. It fell short in each case. Most of the Pre was left over from old Palm products - PDAs, as they were known in ancient tech times -- and its newest apps bore little resemblance to the iOS and Android offerings of today.

The Pre was supposed to get a shot at redemption in 2010, when Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) bought Palm for $1.2 billion and seemed destined to create the new Android. By Aug. 18, 2011, or little more than a month after HP released the WebOS-driven TouchPad tablet in the U.S. and one day after the Pre 3 phone's release in Europe, HP stopped making and supporting any WebOS hardware whatsoever. Palm saw its smartphone market share slide from 4% in December 2010 to just about nothing today.

On ComScore's smartphone market share chart, Nokia's Symbian comes in dead last at 0.5% of the market. Somewhere below that are a few holdout open-source WebOS users who just can't let their dream go.

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