H1 2014 in review: 7 surprises from the past 6 months
And so we continue our review of the year's first half with a post dedicated to the surprises that we witnessed over the past six months. Because really, who doesn't like surprises?
One of them came out of a smartphone camera comparison that we did earlier – one that featured a couple of underdogs made in the Far East. Yet unexpectedly, the two stood their ground really well against some serious high-ends.
The Flappy Birds craze is also on our list of surprises for 2014. It is fascinating how such a simple game can keep millions attached to their smartphones. Its rise of fame was totally unexpected, and its subsequent removal from the iOS and Android app stores was no less of a surprise.
Another event that wasn't quite expected was that of Google selling Motorola only a couple of years after acquiring it. Although it wasn't shocking given that Moto couldn't generate much money while being part of Google. Anyway, Motorola is now under Lenovo's wing.
Flick through the slideshow below to read more about 7 of the year's biggest surprises so far. Is there anything that we've missed? Let us know down in the comments!
In February of 2014, we witnessed the announcement of the Nokia X, X+, and XL smartphones – three low-cost smartphones powered by... an Android-based operating system. Their launch, while not entirely out of the blue, was a surprising move given Nokia's position as a top Windows Phone smartphone manufacturer owned by Microsoft itself. And the latter might not be planning on killing the series as we now have the Nokia X2 – a successor to the 4-month-old Nokia X bringing slight hardware and software improvements.
Here at PhoneArena we do in-depth camera comparisons each time a new flagship from a popular brand comes around. But a couple of months ago, we decided to spice things up a bit by letting two flagships of not-so-well-known brands to compete, namely the Oppo Find 7a and the Huawei Ascend P7. Little did we know that the two were going to dominate the camera comparison! They didn't win by miles, but proved that they could give the big-name smartphones some serious competition. Take a look at the camera comparison in question if you haven't done so already.
Flappy Bird is a game you've surely heard of. After all, it was all over the internet after its popularity spiked in early 2014. The game was bashed for its addictive nature and despised for the frustration that it brought, yet nevertheless, people kept on playing it. In fact, after the developer pulled the game (even though he was making a fortune out of it), phones with Flappy bird still loaded on it could fetch thousands on eBay.
Motorola – once a U.S. company, the one that brought the cell phone into existence – is now part of Lenovo. It was acquired by the Chinese tech giant from Google in exchange for $2.91 billion, or 4 times less than what Google paid for it back in 2012. Why? Well, it is presumed that projects like the Moto X, the Moto G, and Moto Maker didn't spark enough interest on consumers' side and didn't really bring in much money into Google's bank account. Or perhaps it was the patents that Google really needed, not Motorola's phone division itself. Either way, it is good to know that Lenovo will be keeping Motorola's distinct brand identity.
Speaking of acquisitions, Apple agreed to purchase Beats – a brand associated with premium headphones before anything else – for $3 billion. The reason? Don't be expecting to see Apple-branded cans to materialize anytime soon as Apple won't be touching the Beats brand for the time being. Actually, it appears that Apple is interested in the Beats Music streaming service. The massive revenue from the Beats headphones division will be welcome in Apple's bank account, of course.
The Sony Xperia M2 is a rather unimpressive smartphone. (You can read our review here.) On one hand, it has a lovable design and is powered by a decent processor, but on the other hand, its screen is mediocre and the camera is barely passable. Still, it managed to wow us with one thing – its battery life. As a matter of fact, the M2 is currently the second best smartphone on our battery benchmark chart and is the longest lasting device in its class.
For the longest time, we've had mixed feelings about Super AMOLED screens. The deep blacks and punchy colors that they produce instantly catch one's eye, but technically, the colors that they produce are quite inaccurate. But the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 and Tab S 10.5 put an end to the latter, it seems – you can read more on our post dedicated to their display measurements. So yeah, we finally have AMOLED screens that can actually be very accurate color-wise, and that's something we weren't expecting out of Samsung's newest slates.
This story is part of: H1 2014 in review(7 updates)