Phone releases are getting increasingly elaborate these days with weeks of teasing being followed by a launch event or worse, teasers followed by an announcement event, then a subsequent launch event. Of course, fans these days don’t really have to wait for the actual announcement or launch to know about the phones. Leaks and rumours paint a pretty good picture leading up to the event, making us wonder if there is any good sense in a long-drawn unveiling. But companies persist with this strategy nevertheless, resulting in over-hyped phones that actually turn out to be duds in terms of sales and reviews.
Nokia Asha 501
When ex-Nokia CEO and alleged Microsoft Trojan horse Stephen Elop came all the way to India to launch the Asha 501, we thought the company could bring a low-cost smartphone revolution for the Indian masses. Unfortunately, Nokia got a lot of things wrong and the Asha 501’s launch timing clashed with an unprecedented drop in prices for Android smartphones, thanks to the Chinese mass-production model. This meant the Asha’s semi-smart OS, snazzy UI and decent build lost out to Android and its army of apps, not to mention the more attractive Nokia Lumia 520. The grand launch and the big promises of an impending revolution turned out be duds.
Asha 501 failed to impress Android-loving Indians
Micromax Canvas 4
When it comes to hype, there’s just no holding back Micromax. The company’s hype machine is whirring even on regular days, but in the build up to a phone launch, everyone is subjected to a slew of teasers and tidbits of information. The Canvas 4 was flashed on TV first during a cricket tournament and since then the company proceeded to use its Facebook and Twitter accounts to drive the buzz up. Of course, when the Canvas 4 launched, it had only a few changes over the Canvas HD and the launch event with its excruciating humour and ‘blow-to-unlock’ shenanigans just made matters worse.
The much-hyped Canvas 4
To be fair to BlackBerry, the launch of the revamped BB10 OS and the first devices did deserve a worthy occasion. But in terms of sales, reception and subsequent development, the Canadian smartphone pioneer’s first BB10 device has been a failure. The Z10 would have been a fantastic vehicle for BlackBerry, but unfortunately, it was priced way ahead of its peers and became the butt of online jokes. A recent price drop may help the Z10 sell better, but it’s looking increasingly underspecced in today’s heavy-duty hardware climate. Especially when comparing it to the newer Z30.
BlackBerry Z10, the first BB10 device
Google announced the Moto X earlier this year and the phone was brought in with much fanfare. The company’s marketing machinery made sure that Moto X had all the right buzzwords attached to it. Customisable body? Check! Made in America? Check! But yesterday’s earnings call proved Motorola is a $248 million loss-making unit of Google, despite profits ringing in from almost all other divisions. While the revenue raked in by Moto X will only be properly reflected in the next quarter onwards, that’s still quite a loss for the company. The Moto X definitely got its share of great reviews, but wasn’t helped by the competition’s similar pricing and use of more high-powered hardware. The display, CPU and camera, especially, left a lot to be desired and ultimately, rivals like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the new iPhones made the Moto X seem out of place. A wider roll out beyond the US might have helped, but at this point, with limited availability and considering the competition, the Moto X is certainly not looking as hot as it was before the launch.
Cover image: Phone on stage (shutterstock.com)