At 2007’s MacWorld event, the talismanic head of Apple Inc Steve Jobs revealed a new phone design that had only one button and instead used a capacitive touch screen to bring a wide range of features to a user’s fingertips.
At the time, people claimed that it would be a complete disaster in one of the greatest examples of an opinion ageing like milk.
Whilst smartphones have introduced some new issues such as hygiene concerns that are solved using touchscreen fingertips, they have been a revolutionary change in how most people live their lives.
However, other ambitious experiments intended to evolve the smartphone further were far less successful, as the following stories demonstrate.
The big complaint about the early iPhone models and other contemporary smartphones is that they lacked the tactile feedback that comes with a physical keyboard. Research In Motion tried to replicate that feeling but ended up with a slow, barely-usable touchscreen phone instead.
Much has been written about the Storm and how it effectively ended BlackBerry as a genuine competitor, but the issue of making a touch screen feel real is still a challenge even with technology such as haptic feedback.
Energizer Power Max P18K Pop
With the smartphone market so saturated, there are many phones made to fit specific niches, and battery makers Energizer thought they had cornered the market in 2019 and found a universal problem they could fix.
Smartphones have infamously low battery lives, and so Energizer made a range of phones which were much bulkier and effectively had a battery pack inside them. Customers ultimately avoided the otherwise mediocre specifications and the phone never saw full production.
Samsung Galaxy Fold
Whilst Samsung would later refine the concept of a foldable smartphone, their initial Galaxy Fold Device was filled with issues relating to its hinged screen concept, with a notable rate of display failure, notable creases, bulges and design issues.
The Galaxy Fold was discontinued just three years after launch, replaced by the much improved Galaxy Z Fold 2, even if the concept of folding smartphones is still seen more as a status symbol than a practical option.