The smartphone industry has recently reached a plateau and OEMs are struggling to get consumers to upgrade their smartphones. As a result, over the past year, they have had to discontinue several smartphone lineups.
When it comes to halting a smartphone series, OEMs do it either because the smartphone tops it expected sales (for marketing reasons) or because it does not do well in the market at all. In any case, we saw some pretty amazing smartphone lineups being axed by OEMs in 2019.
Xiaomi Mi Max
Xiaomi’s Mi Max that was discontinued earlier this year was one of the biggest surprises this year. The series was pretty popular for large displays (close to 7 inches) and huge batteries. It was a common fan favorite owing to the high value for money. Hence, the news of its discontinuation was a huge disappointment for consumers all around the world.
Mi Max 3, the last entry in the lineup, was hands down one of the best smartphones of its time. Xiaomi decided to bench the lineup so that it could focus more on Redmi smartphones and other lineups from the OEM. One of the main reasons for benching the series is that the company did not foresee a good future for the device since other OEMs have started providing screens as large as 6.5 inches in their mid-range smartphones. Still, consumers are waiting for a reversal to this decision based on what happened with the benched Mi Note lineup.
Asus ZenFone Max Pro
After releasing the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 in December 2018 the company discontinued it within a few months. Mainly because the smartphone was a huge disappointment for the consumers as well as for the company. Most of the customers who bought the smartphone claimed that they got ‘defective’ devices. Even though the smartphone came with a massive 5000 mAh battery, according to consumers, it did not charge beyond 69 percent. The series was a huge blow to the Company’s reputation.
Samsung Galaxy J series and Samsung Galaxy On series
Samsung’s Galaxy J series was one of its most successful entry-level and mid-range series. It has not exactly been halted but has been merged into Samsung’s Galaxy A lineup mainly because both lineups had a very slight difference between pricing and specifications. On the other hand, the Korean tech giant also introduced the M-series in the same time frame, making the consumers believe that it was a fitting successor to the J-series. Since Samsung, under its M-series and A-series, have been launching several mid-range and entry-level smartphones, nobody has missed the J-series much.
As far as the Samsung Galaxy On series is concerned, most of the consumers are not aware that the lineup even existed. It was a successful smartphone lineup specifically targeting the Asian consumers; however, it was also discontinued with the J-series.
Blackberry was acquired by the Chinese tech company TCL in 2016 after which the Company started manufacturing rebranded Blackberry smartphones. The first smartphone was released in 2018 under the name Key2 LE. However, since the smartphone was a major disappointment for customers around the world, sales were pretty much non-existent. Hence, in October 2018 TCL announced that it will not be releasing anymore rebranded BlackBerry smartphones.
Lenovo’s S-series was one of the Company’s most affordable smartphone lineups. The last device launched under the lineup was the Lenovo S5 GT Pro, that became a fan favorite in a very short time. Since it offered amazing mid-range internals for less than €200.
Customers around the world were anxiously waiting for a successor, but to our disappointment, Lenovo S6 Pro did not make it to the market in 2019. The lineup was taken over by Lenovo’s Z-series though. It’s recently launched Lenovo Z6 not only offers better specifications but comes with a better value for money.
Sony Xperia Compact
Earlier this year, Sony underwent major personnel changes at the decision-making level, that kind of complicated the matters in the Company. Analysts believe these changes led to the discontinuation of the Compact series. Another reason behind the discontinuation can be the ever-increasing demand for larger smartphone screens. This was bound to happen sooner or later considering the unstable tradition of the compact range at Sony. The Company usually skipped Compact derivatives for an Xperia smartphone that had a short product cycle.
Motorola Moto Z flagship
Even though the company released Moto Z4 this year, the smartphone, unlike its successor belongs to the mid-range category. Motorola Moto Z3 launched last year was a flagship smartphone. This major change is most probably due to Motorola’s focus on the Motorola Razr 2019.
HTC U flagship
As far as the smartphone sector is concerned, HTC is plummeting fast. The company has been releasing entry-level and mid-range smartphones, however, it is not getting the attention it once had. The last flagship by the company, HTC U12+, was launched in 2018 but unfortunately, did not do well in the market. Hence the series was benched a few months after.
Wrapping it up
As mentioned, after a decade of epoch-making rapid growth, the smartphone market has reached a point where growth has come to a screeching halt. This is why, in an attempt to spur another round of rapid growth, OEMs around the world are constantly experimenting with new form factors.
2019, as compared to previous years was slightly better when it comes to new technologies and advancements. However, the end of this year still marked the end of many smartphones. With the year coming to an end, we are eagerly waiting to see what 2020 has in store for us.