Over the past decade, smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives, and the industry has witnessed significant changes. Brands like Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung have been constantly striving to provide the best features to consumers. However, there have been instances when certain features failed to take off and struggled to garner attention. In this article, we will analyze five phone features that never got off the ground.
Six years ago, HTC launched its flagship U12 series, which had pressure-sensitive sides instead of physical buttons. Each squeeze triggered a different action, making it customizable. While the concept seemed interesting, the reality turned out to be quite different. Haptic feedback didn’t work correctly, leading to a terrible user experience. Additionally, these fake buttons needed power, which meant that they wouldn’t work if the phone ran out of power. HTC lost its goodwill due to these terrible pressure-sensitive buttons, leaving the future of the company in uncertainty.
Direction of movement
When Google launched the Pixel 4, it introduced Motion Sense, a miniaturized radar chip designed to control many functions of the smartphone. Precise movements of the hand could skip songs, among other things. However, the feature didn’t work well as the radar system had a high failure rate. The gestures didn’t work 50% of the time, resulting in poor reception. The Pixel 4’s successor lacked the “Sense of Motion” gestures, signaling the end of Google’s experiment with Soli radar.
In 2014, Amazon released the Fire Phonewhich had a glasses-free 3D display and multiple cameras to track users’ gaze and adjust the 3D effect accordingly. However, the device was a massive flop, and Amazon had to write off $170 million due to unsold inventory. Experts believe that the Fire Phone was always intended to fail, as the device had an uninspiring design, an ecosystem without strong app support, and a high price.
Motion detection games
Around 2008, Sony launched the Sony Ericsson F305, an entry-level feature phone that featured gaming powered by motion-sensing technology. The phone’s motion tracking gaming features were heavily marketed, but it could not replicate what the Wii did. The biggest problem with the technology on a mobile device was that you couldn’t see most of the game moves when playing games like bowling. After its experiment with Wii-like motion-sensing games failed, Sony moved away from it.
Samsung DeX promises to turn a smartphone or tablet into a full desktop experience. However, the feature hasn’t been widely adopted by the industry, and only Motorola provides a DeX-like mode for its smartphones. Despite a clever idea, Samsung DeX feels underutilized and remains in an identity crisis. Samsung’s inability to bring DeX to low-to-mid-range smartphones prevents it from getting mainstream attraction.
In conclusion, while smartphone makers have provided numerous features to consumers, certain features haven’t taken off due to poor execution or lack of demand. Although some features were interesting on paper, they failed to deliver the desired user experience. As per information from the source, it’s essential for brands to develop and test the features before launching them and focus on improving the user experience to avoid such failures in the future.