The smartphone market has gotten undeniably more competitive over the last few years. However, just as everyone aims at being at the top of the best smartphones list, some devices stay behind and are just straight unusable.
Recently, the race has turned narrow, with a particular focus on Samsung vs. Apple regarding design, features, specifications, performance, price, and usability of their respective operating systems. Other manufacturers fight fiercely for a spotlight of their own.
However, every once in a while, even the biggest companies put out a product that just makes no sense, that’s hard to use, that is remarkably ugly, or that makes people say it just plain sucks. Here are five excellent examples of that.
HTC Thunderbolt: The small tank phone
Back in 2011, around this same time of the year, Verizon announced the new HTC Thunderbolt, the first 4G LTE smartphone they would carry. It looked great, and it had decent specs except for one unexpected issue: battery life was non-existent.
Imagine you shell out nearly $249.99 for a flashy Android 2.2 device with a built-in kickstand, only to have it die on you after two hours of use. Word spread quickly, and it was a PR disaster for HTC to such scale a representative apologized for the entire ordeal two years later.
LG Chocolate: The deceiver
If there is a device that deserves both being on this list and not being on it at all, that is the LG Chocolate. As some of you may remember, the LG Chocolate was a great phone, but not a smartphone. Not at all.
It was 2009, and the iPhone was soaring above the competition, so LG went and did the logical thing: launch a feature phone with a deceitful marketing campaign that made it look like it was a smartphone. It flopped, but not before fooling a lot of people into buying it.
Amazon’s smartphone was on fire
It seems like it was a long time ago, but it hasn’t even been three years since Amazon launched the Fire Phone. Much excitement and a lot of expectations came with the company’s latest device, but Fire OS was the sole responsible for its abysmal failure.
A handset that was initially touted as a third contender in the Android vs. iOS race, the Fire Phone went down in flames after only a few thousands bought it and even fewer figured out how to use the damn thing. It was put to rest in 2015, only to be brought up whenever people ask again: will Amazon ever launch a smartphone?
Motorola Flipout: The weird one
Yes, Flipout was a real name of a real Motorola device, and it went down just as well as you would expect. Looking past the awful branding, this Android smartphone had a physical keyboard that “flipped” out of the device and remained hidden when folded.
As a result, the phone’s dimensions were unique. The screen supported touch gestures, but it was such a small square that it was downright unusable. The same thing happened with the novelty keyboard, which was awkward more than innovative.
BlackBerry Storm was full of bugs
It was the year 2008, and the iPhone was driving everyone crazy with its fancy design and touchscreen capabilities. RIM, not one to be left out at the time, came up and took everyone by surprise with a cool new device marketed as the BlackBerry Storm.
However, the handset took no one by storm, as its capacitive touchscreen was far from it and the software was incredibly buggy. The Storm couldn’t even browse the web properly, and it cost RIM half a billion in repairs and returns of faulty handsets.
Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was the Android device to dethrone all other Android devices, but those aspirations went up in flames once users found out their batteries could explode and set their houses on fire.
Indeed, all it took for the company to recall the Galaxy Note 7 worldwide was a couple of people losing their homes or getting injured due to the explosive smartphone. The phablet did not receive its entry on this list because, other than that malfunction, it was an outstanding device.