The smartphone market is fiercely competitive and rapidly changing. Over the years since Apple introduced the iPhone, we’ve seen giants fall and new ones take their place even as Samsung and Apple continue their almost endless rivalry. Some of those names that have already faded into the background still evoke loving emotions in those who may be old enough to remember them. While the chances of them becoming themselves again, let alone their former glory, are nearly impossible now, there are still brands that we wish to continue doing business in the unique way they knew how.
BlackBerry – Productivity
The name BlackBerry is often immediately associated with two things: a physical QWERTY keyboard and office work. The former wasn’t just a trendy gadget and that’s what made the latter possible before the golden age of smartphones if there was a golden age. This input method, unfortunately, hasn’t aged well in the current design of touch-enabled smartphones, but that doesn’t mean it’s unwanted, just that manufacturers haven’t given much thought to bringing them to life. two worlds in harmony today.
BlackBerry was in fact in a better position than Samsung to compete with Apple at the ecosystem level. Its suite of services, including BlackBerry Messenger or BBM, could have been Android’s answer to iMessage, and its business-centric services would have been stars these days, especially during this pandemic. Unfortunately, BlackBerry was slow to accept that Android would be its way forward, and by the time it embraced Google’s platform, it was far too late.
Palm – WebOS
Even before there were smartphones, Palm devices were already doing things we take for granted today, at least when it comes to productivity tools and even some games. He wore a stylus long before the birth of the Galaxy Note and was even the original subject of the late Steve Jobs’ mockery. Before changing ownership, Palm even dared to challenge the duopoly of Android and iOS with its own operating system which, sadly, was perhaps ahead of its time.
WebOS still exists today, but almost entirely in name. While it’s understandable that Palm was determined to keep its identity, its name just wasn’t strong enough to sell the oddity that WebOS was at the time. There were certainly some great ideas that Android and iOS would eventually make their own. Almost ironically, the stylus never really went out of fashion, and the Palm Pilots of yore have been pretty much replaced by Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, which in turn could be replaced by future Galaxy S Ultra models.
LG – Innovation
LG was the last mobile industry giant to pull out of the smartphone market madness after nearly years of trying to keep wolves out of the door. The writing was on the wall for several consecutive quarters, but it was still a sad sight to read the company’s announcement. It’s especially tragic when you consider the things LG was ready to do that big companies like Samsung didn’t even dare to do.
LG, for example, was one of the first to install the fingerprint reader on the back of phones, a trend that continued until recently. He was the first to offer a commercially available modular phone and was said to have been the first to market a roll-up phone. Unfortunately, this willingness to take risks could also have been his downfall, but we can not blame him for lacking imagination and daring.
The real Nokia – Variety
Nokia is still there too, but only in name, really. While HMD Global has done a tremendous job of making sure the brand lives on in an Android world, its name doesn’t have the same weight in the industry, not for very long. Its near-disastrous chapter in the partnership with Microsoft almost cemented Nokia’s image as a company that couldn’t adapt to change quickly enough.
Ironically, Nokia was both popular and known to have moved too quickly, flooding the mobile market with countless phones of varying designs and confusing names. If anything, Nokia was famous for the variety it offered, especially when it came to design, even to the point of looking completely bonkers. Nowadays, however, taking such risks no longer makes commercial sense, which is why we end up with almost identical conceptions.