Six Clicks: Biggest smartphone flops over the past four years

Six Clicks: Biggest smartphone flops over the past four years

Summary: We have seen phones targeted at teens, Facebook users, people with small hands, and more over the past few years -- and some failed devices only lasted weeks.


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  • Many things lead up to a failed device

    I have been using PDAs and smartphones for 17 years and over that period I have used hundreds of devices. Over the last few years we have seen some smartphones last just a couple of months before being discontinued.

    I have a feeling the Amazon Fire phone will soon be joining this list.

    Some devices were doomed to fail from the start and most had their existence questioned by the tech press. One was actually a rather amazing device; I still own it, and its death came about due to a change in company leadership.

    Recent data shows that businesses are readily adopting iOS over other mobile operating systems. As we look at these smartphone failures, we see that Apple's iOS is a safe bet with well-supported devices and a rather consistent, progressive mobile strategy where experimental devices and strategies are not launched and then killed just a few months later.

    Let's take a close look at these six failed smartphones in order of their release. Let me know if you think any of these should have lasted longer than they did. I have a feeling the Amazon Fire phone will soon be joining this list.

    Image: Nokia

    Read more:


  • Microsoft Kin (May to July 2010)

    Since the Microsoft Kin was targeted to the younger consumer, I gave my two oldest teen daughters the chance to test the Kin One and Kin Two when they were released in May 2010.

    Microsoft spent a reported $1 billion on the Kin project.

    I was expecting them to be a bit more excited about the phones, but neither recommended the Kin. A couple of months later, Verizon and Microsoft pulled the plug on the project.

    There were some great features in the Kin, and I think the idea behind them was pretty solid. However, Verizon treated them like all the other high end phones and at the time the monthly fees were too high for parents.

    Microsoft spent a reported $1 billion on the Kin project and it will go down as one of the biggest flops in the smartphone world.

    Image: CNET

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia, Smartphones

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  • Re: Nokia X (Feb 2014, discontinued announcement in July 2014)....

    The Nokia X had the makings of an outstanding smartphone. It was a squandered opportunity on the part of Microsoft to have a true quality product. The high quality build of the Nokia (now Microsoft) Hardware coupled with Android. Without doubt the makings of an outstanding success.

    Sure it would have been a drastic move to ditch the Windows Phone project but had Microsoft had done so and adopted Android it would have made for a far more compelling product.

    Windows Phone should have become the Microsoft X Phone.
    • Re: Nokia X and Microsoft Android Adoption....

      The Nokia X was as a smartphone not a failure fact is it was never really given a chance as it was seen by Microsoft as too much in the way of competition to the Windows Phone therefore it was pulled from production before it could get established.

      Android is established and strong and would have been a certain success combined with the quality Nokia Hardware.

      Had Microsoft adopted Android and dropped WP they could have had an incredibly strong product which would have provided some very real competition to Samsung and Apple.

      Microsoft is a brand name that many consumers are familiar with but this is mostly on the Laptop and Desktop and lesser so on the Tablet. Some consumers have never heard of the Windows Phone let alone considered it as an option not unlike the problem that blights the ChromeBook although I am not drawing direct comparisons between the two. But the same applies as in lack of product awareness.

      So the Microsoft X Phone would have no doubt of been a strong product but it would seem as though no one was bold enough on the Microsoft board to make the suggestion, indeed was it even thought of.

      I guess we will never know.
  • Palm, RIP

    After my Pilot, V, a couple of handprings, then two Treos, I was very excited to try the Pre, and liked it very much. Mine was Verizon, so I'm not sure about the Sprint comment.

    Still have it, it still performs pretty well.

    Oh, HP, how much you screwed up with this. Of course, your first mistake was hiring Leo, your second, giving him any authority above cleaning a bathroom.
  • Flops = Most Windows Phones

    The N9 wasn't a flop, it was deliberately shut down by Elop, trying to prevent release to the large markets, e.g. USA and UK. Still saw a lot of grey market imports, though.

    Interestingly you list a lot of old stuff, and then a Nokia Android device. Unfortunately that makes me doubt your credibility Matthew Miller. The real flop has been most of the Windows phones, which, despite billions of dollars invested, have failed to pick up volume. So bad that Microsoft is going downmarket "where the growth is."

    When Android grew 33% year on year in the last quarter, the war is over. It's such an amazing number it truly is astounding for a market leader to have that kind of growth. If I were a Microsoft executive I'd get a headache.

    I was waiting for WP to get its act together, but I gave up, caved in and got an Android device.