Some of this you remember—and can even have actually owned. Others room justly forgotten. Yet they all earn a richly deserved clues in the poor Phone room of Fame.

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Bang & Olufsen’s Serene, Nokia’s N-Gage, and Motorola’s Aura R1
These days, virtually every far-reaching phone is a touchscreened rectangle with a quorum the features, from voice assistant to general practitioners navigation, that room industry-wide standards. They’re great—but most of lock are an excellent in pretty comparable ways.


The history of destructive phones, however, is pockmarked v models the were genuinely unique. Part were too clever for their own good; others weren’t clever enough. Castle added brand-new features lock didn’t need, or left the end ones they did need—or, oftentimes, go both.

Such phones don’t merit celebration, exactly. But they’re worth commemorating nonetheless. Maybe they even offer part lessons because that the providers designing brand-new models even as we speak.

Herewith, our picks because that the 20 many memorably negative phones introduced since 2000—plus another five that come oh-so-close to making our list.


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The worst that the worst, in order

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The Kin two was the bigger of Microsoft’s two social phones, through a broader slide-out keyboard.

1. Microsoft Kin One and also Kin 2 (2010)

In the spring of 2010, Microsoft, which was gaining ready to launch an ambitious new smartphone platform dubbed Windows Phone, unaccountably come out with two phones that weren’t based on it. Actually, the Kins may not have actually counted together smartphones, since they didn’t have actually an app Store. But the devices, which the company targeted at “the society generation,” did include a chaos of functions designed because that hip young civilization who love Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other networking sites. The problem was the they to be ugly, sluggish, rife v troubling style decisions (social write-ups went out just periodically, not as you produced them), and also generally unappealing. Even Microsoft’s beginning event, organized at a san Francisco nightclub, feel halfhearted, as if the firm knew it to be making a mistake.

Mitigating factor: Kin Studio—a attribute which let you acquire to her phone’s photos and other contents from a desktop computer browser—looked neater than the phones themselves.

Upshot: A Verizon exclusive, the Kins lasted just two months on the market before the carrier traction the plug. The puts lock in the rarified firm of such legends flops together HP’s TouchPad amongst the most short-lived tools of all time.


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The BlackBerry Storm showed the worth of the renowned physical key-board by doing away v it.

2. BlackBerry Storm (2008)

When Steve jobs unveiled the original iPhone in January 2007, study in Motion—the machine of BlackBerry, and at the time, a smartphone kingpin—didn’t take Apple’s new an equipment all that seriously. In late 2008, however, RIM exit the BlackBerry Storm, i m sorry grudgingly slathered an iPhone-esque veneer come the classic BlackBerry Experience. The Storm ditched the above BlackBerry physical keyboard for a touchscreen—and as soon as you pressed it, the entire screen clicked, together if it to be one large key. New York Times doubter David Pogue compared the endure to using a manual typewriter, and found the phone for this reason rife v bugs that he called it the “BlackBerry Dud.”

Mitigating factor: Reviewers such as PCWorld’s Yardena Arar concluded the the Storm can have to be a pretty an excellent BlackBerry if it had stuck v the classic keyboard rather than sacrificing it for the sake of producing a superficially iPhone-like feel.

Upshot: because that years, in salt had built exceptional smartphones. Yet the Storm showed that the didn’t have actually a clue just how to evolve in the iphone phone era—and later products, such as the Playbook tablet, just made matters worse.


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Getting music ~ above Motorola’s Rokr E1 was a hassle also by 2005 standards.

3. Motorola Rokr E1 (2005)

By 2005, the consumer who had actually made Apple’s iPod a phenomenon to be salivating because that a maker that to be both a cabinet phone and an iTunes-compatible music player. They gained one in the the type of the Rokr, i m sorry Steve tasks announced at an Apple event in September. But there was nothing iPod-like around the phone, i m sorry was restricted to a dinky total of 100 songs and forced you come download them from a computer via a archaic, woefully sluggish USB 1.1 connection. The Rokr to be the “one more thing” announced in ~ the same Apple occasion as Apple’s outstanding iPod Nano, i beg your pardon Motorola CEO Ed Zander felt moved to dis in an interview: “Screw the Nano … that the hell listens to 1,000 songs?”

Mitigating factor: If all you wanted to execute was do phone calls, the Rokr E1 was supposedly competent enough.

Upshot: after ~ collaborating on the E1, Motorola and Apple walk their separate ways and also designed music phones on their own. Moto released extr Rokr models the synced with RealNetworks’ RealPlayer or Microsoft’s home windows Media Player quite than iTunes. And also Apple … well, friend know.


4. Nokia N-Gage (2003)

This effort to take it on Nintendo’s game Boy development with a hybrid Symbian-based cellphone and also gaming device was a clean act of hubris in ~ the elevation of Nokia’s power. The N-Gage to be thrice the price that Nintendo’s handheld, and also it came through an awkward switch layout and tall aspect ratio that made gamings like Sonic N much less enjoyable come play. That didn’t help that the N-Gage only launched with six games, if the game Boy advancement was backwards compatible with Nintendo’s whole Game young catalog. Probably worst that all, the speaker and earpiece resided follow me the N-Gage’s top edge, i beg your pardon made human being look choose they were conversing with a taco.

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The N-Gage to be optimized for gaming—in theory. Mitigating factors: Some movie critics enjoyed Pocket Kingdom: very own the World, one RPG that you might play virtual from anywhere. Much more importantly, the N-Gage provided us “Sidetalkin,” a proto-meme in which world photographed themselves holding progressively ridiculous objects–home video game consoles, pizza boxes, really tacos, and so on–to their ears.

Upshot: In 2004, Nokia released the N-Gage QD, which was smaller and also didn’t have actually the awkward side-mounted earpiece, but it still fell well quick of Nokia’s sales targets. Nokia tried come revive the N-Gage brand because that a cell phone gaming organization in 2007, however that initiative only lasted a pair of years. The most likely killer? Apple’s iPhone, which in ~ last ceded the kind of gaming phone that people wanted.


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In an alternative universe, Samsung’s Galaxy keep in mind 7 might have been a competitor for a perform of the finest phones.

5. Samsung Galaxy note 7 (2016)

Unlike other phones on this list, Samsung’s Galaxy keep in mind 7 promised to be a top-notch handset, earning high worship from reviewers front of its respectable launch. However it’s additionally the only phone on this list to be banned native air take trip by the federal Aviation Administration, due to defective batteries the were at risk to smoldering, recording fire, or exploding. Samsung’s early recall failure to settle the problem—one replacement note 7 even recorded fire on a aircraft and the company threw in the towel in October, discontinuing the phone for good. And just in case any kind of Note 7 diehards got any kind of ideas about ignoring the recall, Samsung bricked their phones v a software program update.

Mitigating factor: If not for the battery hazards, the note 7 would have been a hit, v a gorgeous bent display, lengthy battery life, and a camera that can rival the iPhone. “It was the best phone Samsung ever before made — prior to it began exploding,” wrote Engadget’s Chris Velazco.

Upshot: Samsung started offering a “Fan Edition” the the Galaxy note 7 (with a smaller, much safer battery) in mid-2017, however only in south Korea. And while practically every Galaxy note 8 mentioned its predecessor’s battery debacle, the new phone apparently sold well. That provides the keep in mind 7 the rare bad phone that resulted in something good.


Too small too late

Palm Treo 700w (2006)

Apple’s 1997 Macworld Expo keynote—at i m sorry Bill entrances appeared, via teleconference, to announce a Microsoft partnership with Apple that elicited boos native the audience—is among the most famously tense moment in computing history. However for pan of Palm Computing—the creator of the Palm Pilot and Treo—Gates’s live appearance at a 2005 Palm press conference in san Francisco was even an ext dismal. The Microsoft CEO to be there to assist announce that Palm would release a Treo smartphone running home windows Mobile, an intermingling of two platforms expected to an outcome in a phone through appeal for corporate buyers. Offered the year of fierce competition between the 2 companies—and the Palm OS’s condition as a defining Treo feature—it felt favor abject surrender ~ above Palm’s part. The phone, once it arrived early on in 2006, was missing most that the software program touches that made other Treos delightful. It likewise felt choose it lacked a soul.

Mitigating factor: Palm did provide the 700w some valuable tweaks, such together a “Today” summary screen and also the capacity to speed-dial favourite contacts by assigning them to their own keys.

Upshot: The Treo 700w was adhered to by a marginally boosted version, the 700wx, later on in 2006. However the arrival of the an initial iPhone in January 2007 soon turned all home windows Mobile gadgets into dinosaurs. Palm went on to gambling the company on one all-new phone dubbed the Pre—and ended up being swallowed, and also then destroyed, through HP.


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The BlackBerry Z10 to be the very first phone to usage the all-new BlackBerry platform—and, that turned out, one of the few, period.

BlackBerry Z10 (2013)

The Z10 was the first phone the ran ~ above the BlackBerry 10 operation system, a belated (and oft-delayed) effort to modernize BlackBerry phones because that the touchscreen era. If the hardware to be adequate, BlackBerry 10’s shortage of apps was an instant fatality sentence, and also the operating mechanism was invited with small annoyances. For all however the most serious BlackBerry devotees, there to be no reason to even take into consideration the Z10, and even those fans were much better off wait for the keyboard-equipped Q10 that launched later in the year.

Mitigating factor: The Z10 did incorporate some interesting principles on the software application side, like gesture-based navigation, a “Hub” application that aggregated different interaction sources, and a software key-board whose word predictions hovered end the following sequential letter.

Upshot: BlackBerry placed on a brave face and also kept loading BlackBerry 10 on new phones till 2015, as soon as thecompany finally gave up and also started do Android phones instead.


ZTE open (2013)

If over there was ever a tech agency you want to instinctively root for, it’s Mozilla, the non-profit whose Firefox internet browser permenantly adjusted the internet for the better. And the goal behind its Firefox OS—to carry out an operating mechanism for use in super-low-cost tools for arising markets where also a cheap Android phone might be unobtainable—was laudable. Yet compared to phones that expense just a bit more, the $80 ZTE open was slow, unresponsive, and also much worse at making phone call calls, acquisition pictures, and other straightforward tasks. And also Firefox OS, i m sorry was claimed to be streamlined and also simple, feeling downright rudimentary.

Mitigating factor: The phone call was accessible in your selection of blue or orange—Firefox’s signature colors.

Upshot: as the cheapest Android phones dropped to sub-$100 price points, Firefox OS lost much that its initial rationale because that existence. The platform never caught on, and also Mozilla officially terminated that in 2016.


Misplaced luxury

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Motorola’s Aura R1 could have used a camera that took round photographs.

Motorola Aura R1 (2009)

A te ago, two of the sexty applications for wireless phones were acquisition photographs and surfing the web. Photos and also web pages, in case you hadn’t noticed, are both rectangular. But Motorola’s Aura R1–a $2,000 dumbphone—had a round display and also was therefore fundamentally destructive at displaying anything with corners. Choose Vertu, Moto to be fixated ~ above the idea of structure a phone the felt prefer a sophisticated hand-crafted wristwatch; the Aura also had a home window that permit you watch the gears that rotated as you swiveled it open. Which to be cool—but a garbage of Moto’s time together the iPhone was busy an altering the phone sector forever.

Mitigating factor: In 2009, Moto exit a unique edition that the Aura come commemorate the 40th anniversary that the Apollo 11 moon landing. It gift the very first unit come Neil Armstrong, who definitely deserved a cost-free phone.

Upshot: companies such as Motorola experienced luxe phones as a sector unto themselves, with pricetags that put them out of the reach of just mortals. In 2010, Apple’s iphone phone 4 lugged slick industrial design and posh materials to a phone designed for a whole lot more people—a move that involved influence the totality industry, and made phones such as the Aura feel even an ext pointless.


Aesir AE+Y (2011)

Superstar designer Yves Béhar helped create this phone because that Denmark’s Aesir. That was as dumb together the dumbest low-end burner phone, with no internet access or apps. Yet the company gilded that is lily with had high-end attributes like a ceramic case and also discrete buttons. Also the metal screws were an upgrade from the plastic norm. Heaven assist you if you shed the phone call in a taxi: the went because that $8,100, or $60,000 because that an 18K yellow version.

Mitigating factor: follow to Aesir, the AE+Y to be designed with antenna strength and also and audio high quality in mind—and who can object come that?

Upshot: Aesir’s founder said that he intended the AE+Y to be as relevant in a decade as it to be the work it launched. If you recognize of everyone who’s still using one, drop us a line.


Vertu Constellation search Blue (2012)

Vertu, a spin-off from Nokia, to be the brainchild of a prolific Nokia designer who proposed the idea of an ultra-luxury phone department in 1997. The brand didn’t come the end with any type of phones until 2002, but when it did they to be fashioned of valuable materials, laden with jewels, and also priced as much as $19,450. Vertu cared only about glitz, no technology: The blinged-out Constellation search Blue, launched virtually five years after the arrival of the first iPhone, ran the antediluvian Symbian operation system and didn’t have a touchscreen. How much did the cost? us don’t know—the price was only available on request.

Mitigating factor: The Constellation Blue featured an to exclude, ringtone videotaped by the London Symphony Orchestra, which sounds pretentious yet neat.

Upshot: Vertu (which at some point went bankrupt but resurfaced critical year) was started to answer the inquiry “Why shouldn’t a phone be as luxurious together a deluxe watch?” The answer—because phones aren’t irreversible investments, allow alone heirlooms!—doesn’t seem to have emerged to the company’s founders or customers.

Gimmickery gone awry

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Tragically, you can’t view the EVO 3D’s huge feature—its 3D screen—in this photo.

HTC Evo 3D (2011)

The EVO 3D’s signature feature contained a glasses-free 3D display and double cameras for shooting 3D photos. The novelty of those features easily wore off, in ~ which point users were stuck with a middling camera, weak battery life, and also a design that short the handy kickstand of HTC’s remarkable EVO 4G.

Mitigating factor: as a gadget reviewer, mirroring off the EVO 3D at parties to be pretty great.

Upshot: HTC never ever made one more 3D phone, yet it did bring back twin cameras a few years later on with the excellent HTC One M8.

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HTC’s Surround fail to make a compelling dispute in favor of Microsoft’s intriguing however ill-fated home windows Phone software. USC/Wikimedia Commons>

HTC Surround (2010)

Offenses: provided the rough shape of home windows Phone 7 at launch, Microsoft really essential some standout phones to placed its new mobile operating device on the map. The HTC Surround failed to fit the bill, through a slide-out speaker that included bulk yet didn’t do much to improve audio quality. Linked with a shortage the apps and lacking features choose copy-and-paste on the software side, the Surround assisted ensure that home windows Phone 7 would loss further behind than it already was.

Mitigating factor: The Surround was one of the couple of HTC phones that shipped through a kickstand, which is a rare-but-handy feature.

Upshot: ever before the trouper, HTC continued to release home windows Phones into 2014, consisting of much much better ones prefer the vivid HTC 8X. However the home windows Phone platform was never ever able to capture up v iOS and Android, and also Microsoft successfully stopped functioning on that in 2017.

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If foldable phones record on, the brains behind the Kyocera Echo deserve to say lock told us so.

Kyocera Echo (2011)

To stand the end in a crowded field of Android phones, the Kyocera Echo had a second screen the folded external on a hinge, letting customers run two apps simultaneously, kind on one display screen without spanning up the other, and also stretch the end individual apps come cover both displays. The technology just wasn’t ready, though, as users finished up through bulky hardware, weak battery life, and also software the was often poorly optimized. Being a sprint exclusive more than likely didn’t help.

Mitigating factor: even the many hardened doubters have to admit that running 2 smartphone apps side-by-side on separate display screens is pretty cool.

Upshot: The two-screen phone ide went right into limbo until late 2017, when ZTE exit the Axon M together an at & t exclusive. It to be a much better device than the Echo, but had a the majority of the same an essential problems. Probably someday, phones with foldable displays will fare better.

Red Hydrogen One (2018)

Although Red has built its call around huge format, high-resolution pro cameras, the Hydrogen One instead focused on 3D, through a glasses-free “holographic” display and dual-lens cameras for snapping 3D photos. And also much choose HTC’s Evo 3D from 7 years ago, those throwaway functions seemed to damage on whatever else, with reviewers panning the phone’s dim display, bulky construction, and subpar camera performance in 2D. Meanwhile, Red’s long-promised add-on modules–the key attribute the the Hydrogen One has actually in usual with Red cameras–have however to materialize and have also disappeared indigenous the company’s advancement materials.

Mitigating factor: Those modules can be interesting someday, despite the troubled background of modular phones would imply otherwise.

Upshot: The Hydrogen One simply launched late last year, therefore its fate isn’t sealed yet, but the truth that it just gets a footnote mention on Red’s key website doesn’t bode well.

Acts the hubris

HTC very first (2013)

Mark Zuckerberg has long appeared wistful that iOS and also Android got traction prior to he was in a position to develop his own rival: “One the my big regrets, that told Fast Company in 2015, “is that on facebook hasn’t had actually a significant chance to shape the cell phone operating system ecosystem.” for this reason it’s not shocking the his firm came up through Facebook Home, an alternate home screen and lock display screen for Android that emphasized friend activity over apps. HTC’s an initial was the first (and, that turned out, only) smartphone to come pre-loaded through it. The idea to be interesting, however it make a hassle the end of launching apps and also was less valuable than simply loading on facebook proper. Meanwhile, HTC’s hardware had actually a subpar camera, which to be an unfortunate choice for a call whose key selling clues revolved approximately sharing photos.

Mitigating factor: some eagle-eyed reviewers detailed that you might disable Facebook home entirely and also get a bloatware-free phone running stock Android at a reasonable price.

Upshot: One source told BGR’s Zach Epstein that the HTC an initial only marketed 15,000 devices in its very first month. Carrier partner AT&T promptly discontinued the phone, marketing off inventory in ~ 99¢ ~ above contract. While a facebook phone might’ve been unappealing in 2013, the ide just seems disastrous now.

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A how amazing small number of people made decision to buy and unbox Amazon’s Fire Phone.

Amazon Fire phone (2014)

Rumors of an Amazon smartphone began popping increase in 2011, fueling speculation the aggressively priced hardware and an easy software would pose a actual threat come Google’s Android ecosystem. The eventual product was in fact no much less expensive than other flagship phones, however it had much fewer apps–including none indigenous Google–and unrefined software. The Fire Phone’s unique features, which had face-tracking cameras because that perspective-based graphical effects and a switch for identifying points in the actual world, weren’t beneficial enough to move the needle.

Mitigating factors: The phone included a year of Amazon prime membership, therefore users can enjoy movies, books, and music out of the box. The “Mayday” attribute that soon summoned a support rep over video chat was likewise neat.

Upshot: establish the phone to be a flop, Amazon easily slashed prices and also liquidated that is inventory, acquisition a $170 million write-down in the process. CEO Jeff Bezos—who to be deeply involved in the Fire Phone’s development, yet seemingly less hands-on with much more recent hits such as the Echo—has because put a positive spin top top the ordeal, claiming that it assisted the agency learn from its mistakes.

Just level odd

Toshiba G450 (2008)

Offenses: This tiny phone/MP3 player sported bizarre architecture elements such together a numeric keypad that was divvied right into two circles. It additionally lacked basics choose Bluetooth and a camera. Simply reading CNet’s review (“Each switch performs a different function depending ~ above what component of the menu system you’re in at any kind of one time”) is enough to do you wince.

Mitigating factors: The G450 doubled together a to move modem for her laptop—which, in 2008, to be a handy gadget to have. You could likewise use it together a USB thumb drive.

Upshot: despite it to be released after the iPhone, the G450 was a dried heave native the pre-iPhone era as soon as phone devices aspired to cram many bits that functionality right into one device, and also ended up v something that wasn’t an excellent at anything.

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There may be a factor why few Android phones have adopted a small, square screen like the of Motorola’s FlipOut.

Motorola FlipOut (2010)

Back in 2010, Motorola wasn’t yet persuaded that all smartphones have to be oblong rectangles. So it released the FlipOut, a square-shaped phone call whose display screen swiveled the end to disclose a physics keyboard. In a way, that was favor a collapsible BlackBerry, however much that the smartphone-using world was currently moving far from physics keys. The Flipout’s 2.8-inch display screen was as well dinky to make Android usable, and also Motorola’s MotoBlur interface didn’t do it any more appealing.

Mitigating factor: Sliding out the display screen revealed a mirror on the rear panel for taking selfies, which to be a novel idea prior to front-facing cameras became the norm.

Upshot: back Motorola placed out a grasp of succeeding phones v physical keyboards, it never released a smartphone through a display screen as tiny as the FlipOut. And also for the most part, no did anyone else.

Dishonorable mentions

These poor phones—some of which were nominated by ours Twitter pals—didn’t make our 20-worst-phones cutoff, however are as well distinctively off-putting not to cite.

LG 1010 (2002): The page for this innocuous-looking acceleration flip model at Phone Scoop is rife through comments indigenous phone sales human being reporting the an alarmingly high portion of units—like, um, 90%—would shed signal and never acquire it back, rendering the phone call a brick. One claims it occurred to a customer’s 1010 within two hrs of purchase.

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Bang & Olufsen’s calm dispensed through conventional wisdom such as the idea a phone’s dialpad must be below its screen—but you could flip that around, as shown here. Bang & Olufsen tranquil (2005): B&O collaborated v Samsung top top this $1275 phone, which placed a circular dialpad top top the top half, a display screen on the bottom, and also the camera top top the side. (You can flip it around to put the display up prior if you chose.) “It looks favor a hoax, yet it isn’t,” composed one pundit.

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It to be probably inevitable that Nokia’s 7280 would certainly be nicknamed the “lipstick” phone. Nokia 7280 (2005): The tube-shaped “lipstick” Nokia impression reviewers with its daring design, but didn’t have actually a dialpad. Friend could, however, get in numbers via an iPod-like role wheel—slowly and tediously.

Pantech Jest (2010): because that years, phone call makers and wireless companies preferred to slap names on brand-new models that were all at once evocative and also generic. The Jest had actually one of the weirdest monikers that all—but it wasn’t a negative match for the phone itself, a square-shaped oddity through a small slide-out keyboard.

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HTC rhyme (2011): Aimed in ~ women, the purple Rhyme’s signature feature was a “charm” accessory the flashed if you were getting a call. The was theoretically advantageous if the phone call was buried in a purse, however the charm occupied the headphone jack, was hard to fasten to a handbag, and blinked as well dimly to be visible in every environments.