Business is a numbers game and selling 1 million units of anything is always a good reason to pop open a champagne bottle. The big names in the mobile industry do it easily, but we’ll look at some of the celebrations that have faded from memory. We’ll also take a peek at Nokia’s attempt at computers and a couple of cancellations.
Million sales club
iPhones and Galaxy quickly blow past the 1 million sales mark, but those get enough exposure. Let’s think back to phones that have been largely forgotten instead.
Back in 2009 LG was on a roll. It sold 5 million Viewty phones, a touchscreen device known for its camera. Afterwards the affordable touchscreen feature phone, the Cookie, also hit 5 million. Then the LG Arena reached the same benchmark, a premium flagship handset.
Samsung’s low-cost touch feature phone, the Star, was doing great too. It reached five million sales in about three months.
In 2009 “touchscreen” was a must for a hot-selling device, but smartphone wasn’t necessarily a requirement even though the iPhone and Android were already changing the market. Eventually smartphones took over and some of the biggest companies on Earth are phone makers.
A new class of device has been heating up recently. The Pebble smartwatch reached 1 million sales even without Apple or Samsung’s marketing presence. To put things in perspective, the Apple Watch sold 1 million units on its launch day. At one point in 2013 Samsung sold 1 million phones each day.
Another underdog, OnePlus, also celebrated 1 million sales this year. Even Samsung isn’t successful in everything it does – it’s still trying to develop an alternative to Android, but after Bada failed and despite delays Tizen found some success. The only phone so far – the Z1 – made it to 1 million sales in 6 months and celebrated with a gold color option.
Nokia started life when a paper mill and a rubber factory joined but you probably know it for its phones. The rubber business expanded to communications, insulation for telegraph and telephone cables at first but this was a gateway to electronics.
The company even made a computer for a Finnish nuclear plant and there were Nokia home computers too. In 2009 the Finns tried to rekindle that business with the Nokia 3G Booklet – a beautiful aluminum netbook, 20mm thick and weighing 1.25kg.
Nokia 3G Booklet is Nokia’s first notebook
As the name suggests it packed a 3G/HSDPA modem and a GPS receiver, plus Nokia Maps (naturally). The 10″ netbook boasted up to 12h battery life and sounded like a great option for road warriors but it never caught on.
Nokia would return to non-mobile Windows with the Lumia 2520 tablet but that didn’t catch on either. These days the company is back to communication (for cell carriers) after selling the maps division. The rubber business is still going.
We started on a positive note, but couldn’t help noticing some high-profile cancellations in our archives dating to the last week of August.
In 2011 HP cancelled the Pre 3 launch in the US and slashed the European price. Earlier the company had started a fire sale of the TouchPad tablet at just $ 99 – a steal, especially after devs started working on an Android port for it.
Either way, these were the death knells of WebOS as a mobile platform. At least until LG resurrected it to power the LG Watch Urbane LTE though the company was very reluctant to even mention “WebOS.”
A year later T-Mobile US quickly axed the Samsung Galaxy Note. Samsung’s original phablet wasn’t at fault though, it was a case of the carrier being tardy – by the time it was supposed to launch the Note, the Galaxy Note II would have been only a month away. Yep, T-Mo trailed the AT&T launch by seven months (a year if you look at the international launch).