2015 is drawing to a close and it's time we take a look at the year that was, with an eye to the more significant events and changes. The past year saw some massive changes, such as the creation of Alphabet Inc and Sundar Pichai taking the reigns as Google CEO, but it was also witness to some real WTF?! moments. These are the biggest Android fails of 2015.
1. The Snapdragon 810 fiasco
The problematic Snapdragon 810 has been one of those enduring fails of 2015, mostly because it's still being used (and still causing problems).
Despite getting a “revision” after the 810s from the earlier part of the year starting wreaking havoc with smartphone performance, flagship reputations and Qualcomm's chances of remaining a market leader, the Snapdragon 810 is going to go down in history as one of the worst chipsets ever.
2. Samsung ditches microSD and removable batteries
This move was perhaps not entirely unpredictable, but it still came as a shock to most Samsung fans and industry veterans. With the Galaxy S6 series, Samsung removed two features that were widely regarded as critical to its previous success: microSD card expansion and a removable battery.
While the microSD card might make a comeback in the Galaxy S7, removable batteries have gone the way of the dodo.
3. The non-evolution of the HTC One M9 design
HTC design has been legendary for a long time, but when the company took a stance of “it if ain't broke, don't fix it” with the HTC One M9, it didn't go down so well.
The change in appearance between the One M7 and HTC One M8 was a natural progression, but when the creator of those devices left the company, the One M9 felt like it got lost down the back of the design couch. It showed few changes, other than a different shaped camera lens and a slight ridge at the sides. Needless to say, its designer also promptly moved on...
4. Everything about the Xperia Z3+
The Xperia Z3+ was a hot mess, literally. it was the first Snapdragon 810 device that we found to have serious performance issues (the LG G Flex 2 throttled a little and the One M9 got hot, but that was about it). The Xperia Z3+ went into full meltdown and force closed apps, limited performance and was otherwise unusable as an actual phone.
The Xperia Z3+ was such a mess that Verizon decided to ditch it entirely and it wasn't until recently that the Z3+ even made it to Sony's US web store. With the Xperia Z5 already out though, we don't expect anyone to even remember the Z3+ next year.
5. No NFC in the OnePlus 2
For a company that prides itself on making waves and attracting attention, OnePlus certainly attracted the wrong kind of attention when it made the surprisingly controversial decision to omit NFC from the OnePlus 2. The phone also omitted wireless and fast charging, but it was NFC that really polarized its fanbase.
The time, effort and money that OnePlus has spent explaining the decision to leave out a component that would have only cost a few cents to include, will have surely taught it a lesson about when corporate opinions should come second to consumer demands. Who would have thought a feature that hardly anyone uses would suddenly become so significant?
6. Everyone is copying Apple again
Plenty of Android manufacturers have historically been guilty of “borrowing” from the Apple design book, but in recent years Android seemed to have grown into an independent and original platform, with original and independent manufacturers building its hardware.
The Android OS is way ahead of iOS, and iOS is continually adding features Android has had for years. But in 2015, suddenly everyone had iPhone envy again and we saw phone after phone copying Apple: the Galaxy S6, Dakele 3, the HTC One A9, Huawei's Mate S with Force Touch and the OnePlus X. Some call it progress, others call it backsliding.
7. What happened with the Nexus 5X?
Despite impeccable previous form for building top-notch Nexus devices, LG managed to completely mess up the Nexus 5X somehow. A re-booted Nexus 5 was a dream phone for fans of the original, but when it finally came into being, it somehow flopped, despite being reasonably priced.
There is nothing wrong with the design of the 5X, and both the fingerprint scanner and camera sensor are lifted straight from the Nexus 6P. But the Nexus 5X only packs 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB or 32 GB of storage – exactly like the original Nexus 5, which is now two years old. That, my friends, simply doesn't cut it.
What do you think the biggest Android fail was in 2015? What are you expecting in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments.