Tag Archive | "year"

What was the worst year in modern smartphone history?

Google Calendar stock photo 3

We’d like to think that each year is a bonanza when it comes to smartphone releases, but some years are definitely worse than others.

We’ve already chosen 2014 as the best year of the last decade, but what about the worst years in modern smartphone history? Well, we can think of a few middling or even disappointing years in our book. Whether it was a general trend that was adopted by everyone or just several companies releasing bad phones in one year, you can check out our five picks below. Don’t forget to take our poll at the end of the article!

As bad as 2020 is so far (i.e. ludicrously expensive phones, power-sapping 5G and screens, oh… and delays caused by a global pandemic), we’re excluding it from the list as the year isn’t over yet. But it’s definitely a dishonorable mention.


Samsung Galaxy S Original

The Samsung Galaxy S
Credit: Samsung
  • This was the year that saw manufacturers and networks play hard and fast with the term 4G. From Wi-Max to HSPA, there was no shortage of brands claiming that their technology was indeed 4G. For what it’s worth, LTE and HSPA+ were generally considered to be proper 4G at the time.
  • Microsoft also launched the promising but ill-fated Windows Phone 7 platform, with the firm going so far as to hold a mock funeral for the iPhone at the time. If that wasn’t bad enough, the company also released two smart feature phones dubbed Kin that were terrible and mercifully became discontinued after only two months.
  • The iPhone 4 release was marred by “antennagate” after it emerged that the phone drastically lost signal when you held it… like a phone. It didn’t help that Apple initially told customers to stop holding it in the lower-left corner, before eventually offering a free bumper case to users.
  • It was a tough time to be a Nokia fan as the firm still stuck with Symbian for the most part. Sure, you had the Nokia N8 with its fantastic 12MP camera and the slick Nokia E7, but who cared when they ran a slow, unintuitive platform that was practically held together with duct-tape? At least we got the Meego-toting Nokia N9 and the first Nokia Windows Phones in 2011.
  • Samsung also launched the Galaxy S in 2010, kicking off the all-conquering Galaxy flagship range. Unfortunately, a US court ruled that the manufacturer had actually copied the iPhone’s design and software flourishes in the process. And it’s hard to argue otherwise when you look at the two side-by-side, serving as more ammunition against Android and Samsung for Apple fans.


HTC First review

The HTC First

  • The Galaxy S4 may have been the best-selling Android phone of all time, but Samsung definitely made a few bad decisions regarding it. Unarguably the biggest issue was the bloated software that was TouchWiz, as the firm tossed in a ton of features without considering performance. Throw in a cringeworthy launch event stacked with plenty of awful stereotypes and it definitely makes our list.
  • HTC debuted the HTC One M7 in 2013, which earned a reputation as one of the best phones of all time. The company also debuted the ill-fated HTC First that year, which was not one of the best phones of all time. The First was made in partnership with Facebook, running the Facebook Home launcher (remember that?) and offering solid specs for the time. The Facebook integration couldn’t save the phone from poor sales, reportedly moving just 15,000 units.
  • BlackBerry 10 was finally released in early 2013, delivering a proper touch-focused platform that was built from the ground up. This wasn’t enough to save the company though, as Android delivered more variety and apps (even though BB10 supported many Android apps). Another major blow was the fact that the BlackBerry Internet Service (which was available as an all-you-can-eat plan in many regions) wasn’t supported on the new platform. I know tens of people who lost interest in new BlackBerry phones when it emerged that BIS wouldn’t be available.
  • Apple’s iOS 7 also made headlines in 2013 for the wrong reasons, as the update introduced a host of bugs and crashes. From connectivity woes and iMessage issues to (ironically) the Blue Screen of Death, this was an update that the Cupertino company and customers would like to forget.


  • The Snapdragon 810 flagship silicon reportedly suffered from manufacturing woes, with many early phones powered by the chipset said to have performance or thermal-related issues. Early testing by the likes of Ars Technica showed major performance drops as phones with the processor heated up.
  • The HTC One M9 was a disappointing follow-up to the fantastic device that was the One M8, offering a less capable camera for low-light shooting and worse endurance. This also marked the third time we saw the metal design, with only minor changes compared to the HTC One M7. Truth be told, it seems like HTC never really recovered from this release.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy S6 series offered an all-new glass design, but ditched water-resistance, microSD storage, and a removable battery to get there. And the tiny battery in the standard S6 only added more salt to the wound.
  • This year also seems to have marked the start of LG’s bootloop issues, as the likes of the LG G4, Nexus 5X, and LG V10 all experienced this major problem to some extent. Cue the photoshopped Froot Loops images.


  • Samsung’s Galaxy S7 series was one of the best phones of 2016, but the year will always be remembered for the company launching the IED that was the Galaxy Note 7. Faulty batteries and over-ambitious design resulted in phones that were susceptible to bursting into flames. No wonder the company offered an update that killed the phone entirely.
  • The year also saw brands ditch the headphone port, with Android players like Motorola and LeEco doing so. Apple did the same with the iPhone 7, and we’ve seen loads of companies follow suit since then.
  • LG had a run of solid to great high-end phones up until 2016, when it launched the modular LG G5. The phone’s magazine slot-style design enabled you to use add-ons like a 360 camera and a Hi-Fi DAC. Unfortunately, a combination of questionable build quality, a smaller battery than the G4, and very few Friends (as the add-ons were called) killed any hopes of major success. At least the firm also offered an ultra-wide camera that’s now become standard on almost every major phone.


Samsung Galaxy Fold Review against the wall

  • The Pixel 4 delivered a smaller battery than previous Pixels, no fingerprint scanner in lieu of face unlock only, and gimmicky Motion Sense tech. No wonder many reviewers derided it at launch. At least the company introduced a long-overdue budget phone in the Pixel 3a.
  • Foldable phones were supposed to be the big thing in 2019, but the first wave of foldables made us realize just how fragile they could be. Between the Galaxy Fold’s delayed launch due to hinge/screen issues and the general trend of scratch-prone plastic screens (including the Mate X), foldables definitely fell short of the hype.
  • Arguably the biggest disappointment in 2019 was the US ban against Huawei, instituted in May. This meant that phones released after this point lacked Google services. It’s a real shame, because phones like the Mate 30 Pro were definitely among the best phones of the year on paper, but the lack of GMS means it’s a no-go for many.
  • Up until 2019, Samsung’s Galaxy Note series was known as the range of choice for power users looking for a quality, feature-packed phone. Unfortunately, the vanilla Galaxy Note 10 failed to live up to this ethos. Your $ 950 got you a battery that was significantly smaller than the Plus model and Note 9, no microSD card slot, and no 3.5mm port. The Plus variant also lacked the latter two features, but at least you got extras like a bigger battery, QHD+ screen, and faster charging.

What do you think was the worst year for smartphones? Take our poll below and leave a comment!

Please wait.. Loading poll

More posts about smartphones

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Despite disappointing Pixel 4, 2019 was Google’s best year for phone sales yet

Google Pixelbook Go Review closed with Pixel 4

  • A third-party analyst firm says Google Pixel sales hit 7.2 million in 2019.
  • This would make it the best year yet for the Pixel line, although that number pales in comparison to the top-five brands.
  • It’s very likely sales of the Google Pixel 3a make up the bulk of that 7.2 million figure.

A few weeks ago, news broke that Google was allegedly disappointed with the Google Pixel 4, even prior to that device’s launch. However disappointing it may have been, it doesn’t appear to have stopped Google Pixel sales from hitting a record high in 2019.

According to third-party analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Google Pixel sales hit 7.2 million units in 2019. Although the numbers don’t get broken down by device, it’s likely most of those sales come from the two 2019 phones launched — the Google Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 4. At least some of the shipments are probably made up of Google Pixel 3 sales, too.

However, it’s estimated that the Google Pixel 4 only sold around 2 million units over its first six months, which would mean a portion of that number wouldn’t count towards the 2019 total. Therefore, it’s basically a guarantee that the bulk of the Google Pixel sales in 2019 came from the Pixel 3a line.

Google Pixel sales likely dominated by the Pixel 3a

The budget-oriented Pixel 3a line was a big hit critically, so it likely being the best-selling phone in the line would make a lot of sense. The series is also easily accessible from many major carriers around the world and is available in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market. The Pixel 4 is not available in India, which likely didn’t help its sales.

Related: Google Pixel 3a review: The phone made for everyone

While 7.2 million Google Pixel sales might be great for Google when compared to its previous years, it should be noted that it pales in comparison to the top-five manufacturers. Huawei, the second-largest smartphone OEM in the world, shipped 230 million phones in 2019, to give you an idea of Google’s market share.

However, the apparent success of the Pixel 3a gives more credence to the rumor that Google’s Pixel 5 phone will be a more mid-range affair with a weaker processor but a cheaper entry price. This news also makes us even more excited than we already are for the Google Pixel 4a, which still does not have a confirmed release date.

More posts about Google Pixel 3a

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Following T-Mobile’s footsteps, Verizon kills the two year contract

VerizonRedLogoBackground Huffington Post

There’s no denying that T-Mobile’s uncarrier movement has had a pretty big impact on the cellular industry over the past few years. Not only have we seen T-Mobile rise to third place in the market, bypassing Sprint, we’ve also seen all the carriers attempt to make uncarrier-like moves in hopes of winning new customers or keeping existing ones from defecting.

Verizon is now taking things a whole step further, following T-Mobile’s example and killing the two-year contract altogether. While Verizon had already offered optional device payment plans through its Edge service, going forward all Verizon customers interested in a new phone will either pay for the phone all at once or will sign up for a device payment plan.

We know what you’re thinking, the Moto X Pure Edition has now become even more enticing considering its $ 400 price tag, lack of carrier branding and software, and its full support for Verizon’s network.

As part of its restructuring, Verizon is ending the “Edge” naming convention as well, simply referring to it as a device payment plan. Furthermore, they are simplifying their data plans and pricing.

From now on, you simply pay $ 20 per line, and then you choose one of the following shared data buckets: S ($ 30/month for 1GB), M ($ 45/month for 3GB), L ($ 60/month for 6GB), or X-Large ($ 80/month for 12GB). Other larger plans exist, but will require you to ask Verizon directly for a quote.

Verizon’s new plans will go into effect on August 13th. If you still are under contract, however, you won’t see any immediate changes.

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Google posts Q1 2015 earnings, revenue up 12% year over year

Google logo aa

Just yesterday, Google posted its financial reports for Q1 2015. While overall revenue and net income increased year over year, those numbers would have been much higher had the company’s Nexus program not seen a decline. But before we get into the bad news, let’s talk about the profits Google earned from January through March of this year.

Google earned $ 17.3 billion this quarter, up 12% from what the company earned Q1 of last year. Net income for Q1 has also risen to $ 3.58 billion, up from $ 3.45 billion the year prior. Sites owned by Google generated $ 11.9 billion, an increase of 14% year over year, making up roughly 68% of the company’s overall revenue.

The always vague ‘other revenues’ portion totaled $ 1.7 billion in Q1, up 23% year over year, making up roughly 9.8% of its overall earnings. This section includes highly-profitable products on the consumer end, like Google Play and the Nexus program. Oddly enough, the company’s ‘other revenues’ section is down 3% compared to Q4 of 2014, and we have a pretty good idea as to why. As Google CFO Patrick Pichette explained in the Q1 2015 earnings call yesterday, the ‘other revenues’ section declined due to the Nexus program. Pichette explains:

Other revenues grew 23 percent year over year to $ 1.8 billion, and was down 2 percent quarter over quarter, driven really by year over year growth in the Play Store, offset by decline in Nexus. Year over year it hasn’t been as strong given the strength of the Nexus 7 last year.

As you probably recall, Google released the Nexus 6 ($ 649) and Nexus 9 ($ 399) at higher price points than it did with the Nexus 5 ($ 349) back in 2013. Taking into account that the Nexus 6 launched at a higher price point and is definitely a device meant for a niche market, we’re not surprised that the Nexus program has been losing its steam over the past few months.

Read more: Google reveals Nexus program has “seen a decline” – post by Andrew Grush

Moving right along, Google’s operating costs totaled a massive $ 6.45 billion, up $ 5.34 billion year over year. It should be noted that Google hired just about 9,000 new employees this quarter alone, which contributes a lot to that total.

If you’re interested, feel free to check out Google’s full financial report at the source link below.

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Samsung’s tough year ahead

A fresh new year is already well underway. CES is in the rear view mirror. MWC is on the horizon. Samsung has a tough challenge ahead to arrest its slump in profits and maintain its dominance of the smartphone industry. Can it cope with Chinese competition and falling prices? Can a combination of brand power and innovation help a slimmed down Samsung soar to new heights? One thing’s for sure – there’s a lot at stake this year for Samsung.

A year to forget

It’s tough at the top. The weight of expectation is enormous. The new narrative in town is that Samsung is in trouble. We heard that Samsung sold 40% fewer Galaxy S5s than expected. Mobile sales for Samsung hit a peak in Q3 of 2013 and they’ve been steadily declining since then and so, consequently, have profits.

Samsung Q3 2014 Profit

A couple of major trends have hit Samsung hard. Commoditization is driving the average selling price of smartphones down. Developed markets in Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea are saturated. The growth is in emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil.

Samsung is being significantly undercut by a wave of Chinese manufacturers that includes Xiaomi, Lenovo, and Huawei. Samsung is spending more on marketing and R&D, but charging less for its smartphones. Even Samsung’s South Korean compatriot, LG, is selling its flagship smartphones for less. To sum it up simply, the competition is getting tougher. We took a look at this in Samsung is falling, but who is rising?

How bad are things for Samsung really?

There’s plenty of room for Samsung to arrest the decline and it will maintain its dominant position for quite some time even if the downward trend does continue.

Let’s not get carried away here. Samsung generated $ 4 billion net profit in the third quarter of 2014 and it estimates the fourth quarter will be worth $ 4.5 billion. That doesn’t sound like a company in free fall. It’s more than Google made, and to put it in perspective, the ascendant LG’s net profit for the same period was $ 193 million.

According to Gartner Samsung sold 24.4% of all the smartphones sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2014, down from its all-time high of 32.1% for the same quarter in 2013. Apple was a distant second on 12.7% and then came Huawei (5.3%), Xiaomi (5.2%), and Lenovo (5%).

There’s plenty of room for Samsung to arrest the decline and it will maintain its dominant position for quite some time even if the downward trend does continue. But there’s also a dawning reality that the days of bumper profits from Android smartphones may be over. Everyone is already looking to the next new must-have category and most are betting big on wearables.

Cutting the dead wood

Failing to react to a slump will kill you. If that narrative about Samsung in trouble continues to gather pace it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The stock market is a confidence game. A continuous stream of negative articles about any company is going to impact consumers eventually. Just ask RIM and Nokia.

There are signs that Samsung is taking it seriously and addressing major criticisms.

Some of these moves are clearly designed to answer critics. Samsung has long been criticized for its throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach to smartphone lines. The fact it doesn’t use premium materials in its flagships, preferring plastic, has garnered much derision. Complaints about the poor quality and bloated nature of its software and services have followed Samsung around like a bad smell.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Touchwiz 2

These are issues that have loomed large in the tech press, on forums, and in comment sections. If we’re really honest about it, there’s no evidence that the general phone-buying public cares about these things. After all, Samsung just beat Apple for consumer satisfaction according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

Are these the right moves?

It makes sense for Samsung to scale back on software and services. It has failed to gain traction here. Why throw good money after bad? People are not going to buy into a Samsung ecosystem and there’s no way the company can afford to lose Google services that it can’t hope to match.

Tizen is being aimed at the budget market and possibly new device categories, it’s not a competitor for Android, as evidenced by the news it will support some Android apps. Maybe it will in the future, but that’s a distant prospect right now.

If Samsung does scale back TouchWiz and start producing premium metallic designs will it win over critics?

If Samsung does scale back TouchWiz and start producing premium metallic designs will it win over critics? Will people applaud it for scaling back its product lines? We’ll have to wait and see. The Galaxy S6 is obviously going to be key.

For all the criticism Samsung gets about copying, people forget that it significantly outspends the competition on research and development. It may not have created the phablet category, but it certainly popularized it with the Note line. The Galaxy Note Edge was one of the few glimmers of originality in the smartphone market last year.

samsung galaxy note edge review aa (8 of 26)

If Samsung can come up with a gorgeous premium design, optimize that software, and offer something innovative into the bargain, then it can turn the current perception around. But it’s a big ask to pull off the complete package in the forthcoming S6.

Check out our Galaxy S6 rumor roundup for all the latest speculation.

Is the budget battle worth fighting?

Going toe to toe at the budget end could prove tougher. Should Samsung even try to do it? Does it have to? Samsung exec Robert Yi was recently quoted on Xiaomi saying, “They are a mysterious entity. I don’t know where they create profit.” The truth is Samsung can’t match low prices and continue to spend big on R&D and marketing or the margin will be squeezed and squeezed. There’s a reason that Apple doesn’t compete in the budget market. Maybe Samsung should focus on the premium end of the market and seek out pastures new in wearables instead.

What do you predict for Samsung this year? Would you give it another chance if the S6 impressed you? Are you engaging in schadenfreude over the downward trend, or do you hope the company will return to form?

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Samsung Promotion, 1 year Netflix with new Galaxy S5, Note 4 or Tab S

samsung galaxy logo 2

Samsung is working on a little treat for new Galaxy S5, Note 4 and Tab S buyers. Starting January 4th, Samsung is giving eligible U.S. buyers one free year of Netflix to go along with their new Samsung device.

If you are looking to buy one of these Samsung devices this weekend, you best hold off until after noon EST on Sunday. Of course, you best not procrastinate either, Samsung is only offering the promotion to the first 115,000 buyers.

With purchase in hand, head on over to SamsungPromotions.com to register. If you get in on time, and are a U.S. mainland or District of Columbia consumer that is 18 or older, Samsung will get you a credit for your new or existing Netflix account, good for 12 months of streaming service. Worth more than $ 100.

netflix-buffering BoxSlant

The information for this deal is not live yet, but the folks over at Android Central captured a shot of the promo flyer, see below. In addition to Netflix, the flyer is proud to announce that you’ll also get access to Samsung’s music streaming service Milk Music.

Again, those eligible devices are Samsung’s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, their handy tablet the Galaxy Tab S, and the phone that lives in between those two in terms of size, the Galaxy Note 4. If you are not looking for a phone or tablet, there are also 10,000 4K streaming Netflix promos up for grabs for certain 4K Samsung TV purchases.

The Samsung promo for one year of free Netflix streaming starts this Sunday, January 4th, and runs until either January 17th or until 115,00 people claim the offer, whichever comes first.

Is a free year of Netflix worth picking up one of these Samsung devices?

Samsung Netflix Offer Jan 2015

Android Authority

Posted in Android NewsComments (0)

Android Central Podcast Ep. 216: Welcome to the new year!

It’s our first podcast of 2015! And our last before CES, which lands this weekend in Las Vegas. So. We’re going to take a quick look back at our favorites from 2014. Then we’ll leap ahead…
Video Rating: 5 / 5

Posted in VideosComments (6)

Related Sites

Powered by WP Robot