Failure teaches success and is the first step towards learning and improvising. Many phones have failed, often because they are just too creative for the average consumers or just ahead of their time without the proper resources. Some smartphones fail because the idea doesn’t seem captivating anymore when implemented (like the HTC Facebook phone). While some phones make us even question their existence. Let’s get straight to our top ten smartphone flops between the 2000 and 2011 unordered list.
10 Biggest Smartphone Fails of the 2000s
1. Blackberry Storm series (2008 and 2009)
Blackberry Storm was Blackberry’s answer to iPhone’s entire screen with a home button design, except it failed badly. It failed so badly that Blackberry had to move to its iconic keyboard design with the launch of the blackberry tour. Verizon’s chief marketing officer, John Stratton, told Mr. Balsillie, “Virtually every one of the 1 million Storm phones shipped in 2008 needed replacing. Many of the replacements were being returned as well. Storm series was a complete failure, and Mr. Stratton wanted RIM to pay… close to $500 million to cover the carrier’s losses.” The initial sales resulted from Blackberry’s image, even which couldn’t bolster sales after the initial use and response.
2. Nokia N-Gage (2003)
Back in 2003, when phones were not gaming devices, Snake was probably the most famous game. So, launching a gaming-hybrid mobile phone wasn’t a mainstream idea. But Nokia, the best manufacturer back then, could afford to take such a huge risk. Unfortunately, it didn’t payback. It was a disaster as it didn’t fulfill the purpose of either a gaming device or a phone, let alone both. It just didn’t have many games as there weren’t just serious mobile games developers then and poor battery life.
Another awkward thing was to make/receive calls on it. Because of the speaker’s location on the side, you had to keep it sideways when talking on the phone.
Critics claimed it to be unfinished and launched in haste! It was a solid idea but unfortunately failed to make any positive impact on the market.
3. Motorola Aura R1 (2009)
Aura looked very fashionable for a mobile phone then, and it was undoubtedly a treat to look at one. However, it was awful as a smartphone because of its software and hardware limitations. A round display has its limits. It was complicated to click pictures with a 2 MP camera as the corners were cut off because of the shape. Surfing the internet was also not a satisfactory experience as the web is designed for rectangle web pages. The UI of AURA was also not optimized for a round display which made it a pain to use from day to day. The camera system lacked a flash and, the video quality of Aura was dark and dingy when used inside. TLDR; ‘Aura’ was a show phone without much practical use besides phone calls.
4. Nokia Lumia 900 (2011)
Nokia Lumia 900 was pushed by Nokia and AT & T (including a launch at times square) as the flagship beside iPhone 4s and Samsung Galaxy S2 but failed miserably because of Microsoft’s own short-sightedness.A consistent criticism of the phone was that its screen resolution was weaker than competitor phones and bad cameras. More importantly, Microsoft’s Windows operating platform had a shortage of apps. The flagship phone did not get an update for the latest windows 8 (released 8 months after the launch of the phone)due to hardware limitations. Sales were so bad that AT&T had to drop the price from 100$ to 50$- and even that didn’t work.
5. Motorola Droid Bionic (2011)
Droid Bionic was an LTE-based 4G phone powered by Android. Despite lengthy delays intended to allow improvements, the humped Droid Bionic failed to please owners with a positive review.It was the first dual-core Android handset to use Verizon’s 4G LTE network, which came with a 4.3-inch LCD display, a 1 GHz OMAP4 dual-core processor from Texas Instruments, and 1 GB of LP DDR2 RAM. Droid featured an 8-megapixel camera capable of 1080p HD video and a front-facing camera that supported video calling. But with poor battery life and Android’s worst skin – MotoBlur; critics expressed concerns over its slow and laggy performance, with some having significant issues only with the skin. PCWorld, in their verdict, wrote, “This is a very nice piece of hardware. It’s very similar to the Atrix on AT&T. I could really do without Motoblur. Still, if you install a 3rd party launcher (like Launcher Pro), most of those woes may go away.”
6. HTC Thunderbolt (2011)
The HTC ThunderBolt was the first 4G LTE smartphone on the Verizon Wireless network. It was announced at CES on January 6, 2011, but the launch was delayed several times. The limited availability of 4G Network, poor battery life, software issues. Multiple software problems were reported repeatedly, with patches coming in slow. Answering a GIZMODO chatroom question, Steve Wozniak claimed Thunderbolt to be the worst gadget he actually paid for. Another gadget he mentioned in reply was an “iridium phone,” which he ultimately returned.
7. Sony Xperia Play (2011)
Sony Xperia Play (or PlayStation Phone) was a hybrid phone with the appearance and limited capabilities of PlayStation Portable (or PSP). The play was Sony’s awful attempt to create a sister device of PSVita, but more of a phone, less of a console. The slider phone slid up to reveal a gamepad with standard PlayStation buttons instead of a keyboard. It was powered by Android 2.3 and had a dedicated PlayStation store but with limited titles. Even the titles present weren’t satisfactory, with that vast price constraint (600 £). Online retailer Expansys slashed the phone price to a mere £199.80 in just 5 months because of poor sales. Rory Reid of CNET claimed it to be waste even for 200£, “We warned you it was pants, but you wouldn’t listen — you dove in headfirst with your insatiable lust for decade-old PSOne games. Believe us when we say there are far better ways to blow £200. Donate it to charity, blend it and make a cocktail, get it changed into twenty thousand pennies, and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck.”
8. Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two (2010)
If you thought that Lumia was the only phone series Microsoft failed miserably at, then you were wrong. It was such a massive fail that Verizon discontinued Kin within 50 days of launch. Kins had some severe issues, which made the whole project seem rushed. It didn’t have an app store but had Facebook, Twitter, and some other social networking sites. Software skin was so ugly and buggy that it even made using these pre-installed social media apps a pain. Imagine how bad the experience would have been when the software is not polished, even for the pre-installed apps. In 2011, Microsoft closed Kin.com (a website dedicated to kin phones) and scrapped the project, which they should have done sooner.
9. Motorola Atrix 2 (2011)
Motorola Atrix 2 (or Atrix HD) was a good idea but much ahead of its time. The Atrix 2 was meant to slide into a $200 device called the Lapdock and power a bigger 10.1-inch screen. It has decent specifications but with a poor camera. The lack of 4G LTE was a big disappointment as Motorola had launched LTE phones by then. In addition to that, Atrix 2 used Motoblur – one of the worst Android skins ever. This was probably ahead of its time, considering Samsung’s DeX does something similar via Galaxy-branded phones, but does anyone use that either?
10. Toshiba G450 (2008)
Toshiba is well known for its laptops, but not so for its phones. G450 has the weirdest design among the phones listed here, such as a numeric keypad that was divided into two circles – when we saw it, we were shocked as well. It could also be used as a portable modem which was useful back then. It worked well as a PC modem but was painful when used as a phone; it lacked Bluetooth, camera, and even email support! The screen size was a joke for a phone (similar to Motorola Aura). CNET’s Shannon Doubleday, in her verdict, said, “It works well as an HSDPA modem, but it’s a pig to use as a regular phone or MP3 player.”
We hope you enjoyed reading our picks for mobile phone fails. If you want another list covering phones from 2011 to 2021, let us know in the comment section.
Liked 10 Biggest Smartphone Fails of the 2000s? Also read: Most Unusual Mobile Phones Ever Made.