No matter how cool the things which make it to market are, there will always be some things that may have ended up being even cooler that we will never see. Kyle Russell of Business Insider lists seven smartphones he thinks are pretty cool, even though we will never see them here in the U.S. or, in some cases, ever anywhere.
He says the reasons these phones didn’t see the light of day range from failure to raise enough development cash to dumping millions of dollars into a phone which ended up with hardly any apps.
Smartphones with early problems
Two phones on the list have only made it into the concept stage and not out into the consumer market. E Ink made a concept phone using the same screen it developed for the Amazon Kindle. The benefit of an E Ink display on a smartphone is significantly longer battery life. This handset was able to last weeks on just one charge. However, it died in the prototype stage.
Samsung also has a phone which languished in the concept stage for a long time. It runs the Tizen operating system, which is Samsung’s home-grown OS. The company showed these handsets off for a number of years without offering them for sale. They are expected to land on the market next year but with few available apps. As a result, they might not do very well.
Smartphones which didn’t end up in the U.S.
The U.S. smartphone market is one of the largest in the world, so launching in the U.S. is a big deal. Unfortunately, however, a few of the smartphones on Russell’s list didn’t make it to the U.S. Take, for example, the Nokia N9. He calls the design “beautiful” and the operating system “unlike anything on the market.” The problem Nokia had was making a deal with U.S. carriers.
Another example is the YotaPhone, which has an E Ink display and an LCD screen. The screen on this phone is able to switch back and forth from regular into E Ink when the user needs to conserve battery life. However, this handset is only going to be sold in Russia.
The Lenovo K900 has a 5.5-inch 1080p screen and decent specs. However, the company has only released it in China, so U.S. residents probably won’t be seeing it.
Smartphones which failed to raise funds
Two of the smartphones on Russell’s list failed because the makers did not raise enough money for development. The Ubuntu Edge asked for $30 million via Indiegogo over the summer but only raised $12 million, so the handset won’t make it to market. What would have been unique about this smartphone is the fact that it would be a high-end handset which runs Ubuntu, a Linux distribution.
The other phone which didn’t raise enough money via crowd-funding was the Project S. This one didn’t get near the attention of the Edge because it is essentially just an Android phone.