Now that we’re a month into 2013, we can finally look at last year’s official sales numbers and see just where things went right for big tech companies, and where things went very, very wrong. And after some close observation, we’ve found that 2012 saw some huge tech flops! Check them all out:
- 3D Televisions. These saw a mere a 3% rate of adoption in American homes last year. The glasses are bulky and headache-inducing, picture quality in these TVs varies greatly, and they’re too expensive.
- BlackBerry. Last year, RIM announced that the new OS BB10 would come out before the end of 2012. It was supposed to be RIMs comeback and it sounded exciting enough… but it didn’t come out until this year. As a result, several fans of the company have lost interest.
- Nokia Lumia 900. Nokia and Microsoft launched their first major phone together in the beginning of 2012, and despite its cool-looking unibody design and beautiful 4.3 inch screen and 8 megapixel camera… no one really cared.
- Sean Parker’s Airtime. This startup turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. It was supposed to revolutionize communication through Facebook, but it suffered from a stagnant user base despite its $33 million in funding.
- Apple Maps. Apple Maps proved to be a complete disaster. Not even the fancy new features like 3D imagery and spoken turn-by—turn navigation could save this error-filled product.
- Play Station Vita. Vita had amazing graphics, excellent design and build quality, and promised a strong online community and cross play with the PS3. But it never really became a must-have for anyone.
- Google Nexus Q. Google decided to postpone the launch of this high profile hardware product indefinitely, just days before it was expected to ship the first units. As impressive as the hardware specs were, it was a little more than an Apple TV aimed at Android users… and the Apple TV sold for a fraction of what Google was asking of Nexus Q.
- Facebook’s Reach Generator. Facebook started promoting a new product called Reach Generator last March that was supposed to increase the frequency with which brands would hit users’ news feeds. But after six months, Facebook totally forgot about it.
According to the latest comScore MobiLens report, Samsung remained the most popular phone maker in the U.S. in the third quarter ! Thanks to the number of successful smartphones under its belt in 2012, among which are the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, Samsung ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer with more than 26 percent of the U.S. market, an increase of 0.7 percentage points.
Apple remains at a distant second with 17.8 percent of total mobile subscriberss, after a 1.5 percent increase. This which helped the company outrank LG by 0.2 percentage points as the number two phone maker. LG dropped nearly 1 percent in the third quarter, the three months ending in October 2012.
Motorola and HTC have also seen small declines in mobile share in the third quarter.
The mobile OS market share figures also show that Android is dominating with 53.6 percent share after a 1.4 percent increase, with Apple creeping up at a much closer second – they have a 34.3 percent share after a 0.9 percent increase this quarter.
The comScore figures indicate that 121.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones this quarter, a 51.9 percent penetration of the mobile market, and an increase of 6 percent since July.
TmoNews, the “unofficial T-Mobile blog”, released a new roadmap filled with possible release dates for a bunch of T-Mobile devices.
- Blackberry Armstrong 10/24
- Samsung Galaxy S II Color Refresh 10/29 — pics to follow
- Huawei Summit 10/31 — Unknown Android device
- LG Optimus L9 10/31
- Samsung Toba 11/7 — New Samsung tablet?
- Dell BMW Launch 11/14 — we believe this is a new Windows 8 laptop
- HTC Windows Phone 8X 11/14
So, it looks like the next few weeks will be pretty busy for T-Mobile, at least as far as product launches go. They definitely need the products to do well, too… in the second quarter, T-Mobile posted a net loss of 205,000 subscribers, including prepaid and postpaid. They will have to invest billions in an LTE network and possibly start carrying the iPhone – which means paying high subsidies to Apple – if they want to compete with Sprint, which said Thursday it was in talks to secure a significant investment from Japanese carrier Softbank. If that happens, the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier will have a stronger balance sheet and greater ability to invest in its network.
Influential reviewers’ group Consumer Reports openly blasted the iPhone 4 in 2010 for having a faulty antenna that gave off spotty reception when the phone was held in a certain way… so readers were eager to hear if they’d recommend the new iPhone 5. Well, turns out… they like it!
Consumer Reports just gave Apple’s latest smartphone a thumbs-up , despite widespread public complaints about its mapping service. Despite admitting its mapping function fell short, they said laboratory tests confirmed that the new iPhone 5 deserves to be ranked among the best smartphones.
Chief Executive Tim Cook apologized last week for the mapping issues, and directed users to rival services run by Google Inc and others. The Maps service was created by acquiring companies and employing data from a range of providers including TomTom NV and Waze, and was at first billed as a highlight of the updated iOS 6 software.
Errors and omissions quickly emerged after the software was released. Misplaced buildings, mislabeled cities and duplicate geographical features were among the many issues. Users also complained about the service lacking public transit directions and street-view pictures.
Do you have an iPhone 5? Do issues with the Maps feature ruin your opinion of the phone, or would you still give it two thumbs up?
Have you ever wanted to leave your Starbucks barista a tip, but didn’t have any money on hand to do so? Well, you’re in luck… Starbucks is making an app for that.
Starbuck plans on including a digital tip function to its currently existing mobile payment app (which we’ve been using to buy our coffee since September ’10!) starting next summer. A similar option will also be available on Square, the new payment app that customers will be able to use starting in November. To use either of the programs, customers just need to download the apps and then link their credit or debit cards to the account… so when it comes time to pay at the register, they can just open the app and wave their phone in front of the scanner. But that’s not all – customers can even earn rewards when using the app!
The announcements were made at the company’s Houston leadership conference; about 10,000 Starbucks store managers are gathered there for training through this Saturday.
Is ‘digital tipping’ reason enough to make you excited for the new Starbucks app, or is that just a little bit… too much?