Well, 2016 has been a roller coaster ride for the technology world, especially for mobile industry. The evolutionary wheel kept spinning, some brands made it big while others managed to screw it badly. In this one year, we witnessed a wide variety of phones that offered unprecedented features and even those that were complete disasters. Here’s what different tech giants and minnows were up to in 2016.
Apple didn’t exactly have a great 2016. From declining sales numbers to facing a bitter backlash from iPhone fans over the removal of 3.5mm jack – the Cupertino giant had to endure it all.
Having said that, the company was hailed by many reviewers for its new dual camera setup on iPhone 7 Plus. After a 4-year gap, Apple also upgraded its popular Macbook Pro this year. Apart from upgrading specs and eliminating some mandatory ports, Apple has added a touch panel and fingerprint sensor in the new machine that shall cost you a fortune. Fans aren’t taking this very well either.
The Taiwanese company has tried to do a complete makeover of its image in 2016. From new handset designs to an ambitious attempt to step-up as the premium brand, it left no stone unturned. Asus has shifted focus from online driven approach to the offline sector which still registers more sales in Indian market. The introduction of Zenbo, a home robot, alludes to its ambitious plans and where the Technology company wants to see itself in the future. We like where the new Asus is heading.
Blackberry hasn’t had any luck in last 4-5 years now and in 2016 its fortune remains the same. To remain afloat, the Canadian smartphone maker relinquished the reins of its hardware business and has decided to focus on Software alone. All hardware design and manufacturing will be outsourced.
The Alphabet inc. subsidiary Google has launched various new products, apps, and services this year. Google made headlines with its premium Pixel smartphones and Android Nougat update. The arrival of its machine learning-based app Allo and video calling app Duo is yet another attempt by search engine giant to take on Whatsapp and Facebook.
The Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei continues to build upon the success it achieved last year, especially after the Nexus 6P helped it garner global admiration. It launched a number of new products this year but one that stands out from the crowd is its P9. The dual camera phone developed in collaboration with Lycra has paid its dividend well.
Indian’s are not the only ones paralyzed by cash-crunch. The Chinese internet company LeEco, who made a big bang entry to Indian and various another markets, is running low on funds. This was revealed by non-other than CEO Yueting Jia to its employee in a letter. Amidst this cash crisis, the company has temporarily put breaks on its electronic car project. However, on Indian front, the company did well as it successfully launched several smartphones and Series 3 TVs in India.
Lenovo kept things simple with is budget devices and tired to make some bold moves with its Moto smartphones. For instance, the Moto Z which stands out as the best implementation of Modular smartphone concept till date. It now holds a dense and diverse portfolio under 20,000 INR and is reaping great results.
This year LG tried its best to do something unconventional. It first came up with Always On display in its modular flagship followed by dual Screen and dual camera phones. Although LG failed to make deep inroad and its modular flagship G5 tanked, we have to give a thumbs up for its effort and to its spirit to do things differently.
It was sort of a comeback year for the Chinese company which finally managed to deliver a flagship killer. OnePlus acted all mature, even ditched its much-loathed invite system, and emerged as an unstoppable force. After the debacle of OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X, it returned with OnePlus 3 and 3T which helped OnePlus strengthen its position as a brand.
Unlike most Chinese brands, Oppo from the very start decided to use offline space as its playing ground and that strategy is finally yielding results. Its phones might not be winning the specs-game, but you can’t walk through a street without noticing an Oppo offline store in Delhi-NCR. Oppo has successfully developed a formidable ground presence, and has slowly and steadily gained consumer acceptance.
It has depended upon high octane promotion and marketing of its camera-first smartphones that has helped build brand recognition. On the technology front, apart from increasing megapixel count on selfie cameras, Oppo had nothing incremental to offer this year.
Samsung stock was flying high till Galaxy Note 7 started exploding. Samsung received rave reviews for its Galaxy S7 Edge which was followed by the Note 7. However, all those reviews went down the drain once Note 7 explosions started making the headlines, leading to an eventual market recall that weighed very heavy on Samsung. Samsung is rumored to be working on Galaxy S8 which is expected to make its debut early next year. We hope Samsung do everything its can so that it won’t explode.
Samsung is rumored to be working on Galaxy S8 which is expected to make its debut early next year. Of course, the south-Korean giant will pull together all its hardware might to regain consumer trusts.
Just like Oppo, its compatriot Vivo is treading a similar path. The company is betting heavenly on its camera especially the ‘Selfie’ camera. In the last quarter of 2016, Vivo changed its tagline to “Music and Camera phone” and is rapidly emerging as a well-founded offline force.
After a dull 2015, Xiaomi made a conscious effort this year to not disappoint its India fans. It won its opening bout with the budget range. The very successful Redmi Note 3 was followed by Mi 5, Mi Max and Redmi 3s Prime. Having said that, Xiaomi launched lot more products in China which are yet to make it to India. We hope that shall change next year.