Launching a smartphone can usually lead to lucrative profits, but quality control issues pop up. Sometimes, the actual product just doesn’t live up to the hype after it is launched. Other times, the product is great, but it explodes in people’s faces. With all that said, it’s time to list the worst smartphone launches ever (which means the past 10 years).
5. iPhone 4 (2010)
On June 24, 2010, Apple launched the first iPhone with a Retina display. It was smaller and more slick than previous iPhones. This smartphone launch caused lines to form at Apple Store retail locations that went for several blocks. Engadget gave the new iPhone an almost perfect review.
“We’re not going to beat around the bush — in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package.”
Then, Antennagate happened. Many who purchased the new iPhone noticed that if they held their fingers over the joint on the iPhone 4 where the antenna is, the service drops. It became a huge quality control issue that even led to some lawsuits. Eventually, Steve Jobs announced that Apple would provide free bumper cases that took care of the problem. The iPhone 4 still sold tremendously well.
4. HTC EVO 3D (2011)
The HTC EVO 3D, which launched on Sprint, was supposed to be the coolest smartphone in the world. It allowed you to take 3D videos and even watch them on your screen without glasses. However, the phone proved to be nothing but a gimmick.
“‘If you’re thinking about buying the HTC Evo 3D on Sprint, the first thing you should do is ignore the 3D. The phone’s namesake features — a glasses-free 3D display and dual cameras to shoot your own 3D content — amount to little more than a cheap party trick,’ said Jared Newman of Technologizer.”
However, the smartphone wasn’t even good as a 2D phone. The screen looked washed out, and despite running the latest version of Android at the time, it was very sluggish. HTC lost its hold in the smartphone business after 2011, but they revived their brand in 2016 with the HTC Vive virtual reality headset.
3. Blackberry Storm (2008)
The Blackberry Storm was supposed to be RIM’s answer to the iPhone, but it ended up being the answer to many nightmares. Not only did quality control fail to notice the bugs with the touchscreen (many times, touches didn’t register), but the software was even worse. The Storm is often seen as the device that brought the downfall of the Blackberry, which was the top business smartphone maker of the 2000s.
BGR listed the Blackberry Storm as the worst smartphone ever made.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say the BlackBerry Storm is the single worst smartphone I have ever owned. From the silly push-in touch display to its incredibly buggy software, the device made me absolutely miserable until I eventually returned it for an older BlackBerry model,” complained columnist Brad Reed, who added that almost every Blackberry Storm that was shipped in 2008 had to be replaced.
2. Palm Pre (2009)
Sprint thought it had a winner when they launched what was referred to as an “iPhone killer” in June of 2009. The Palm Pre seemed to have everything going for it — good reviews, a great screen and, unlike the iPhone, an actual physical keypad.
On launch day, the author of this article even did a YouTube report.
It all seemed fine until people opened their boxes. Several Palm Pre smartphones had dead pixels, cracked screens, and defective keypads. This smartphone launch was so disastrous that it killed Palm, which was eventually purchased by HP. The purchasing company eventually put out their own version of the Pre that was a much improved device, but it completely failed in the marketplace.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (2016)
What makes this the most depressing smartphone launch isn’t the fact it was recalled, but the fact that the Note 7 was perhaps the best smartphone ever made. It continued Samsung’s comeback into smartphone relevance, which began in March with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Unfortunately, the Note 7 was too good to be true.
Almost immediately, reports of Note 7 explosions started pouring in. Samsung recalled the Note 7 and immediately put out replacement units. One wonders how the situation could get even worse, but it did — the replacement units exploded too. Let’s hope Samsung can revive itself from this debacle and can continue to be a groundbreaking smartphone company.
Is there an awful smartphone launch that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]