Top 5 most disruptive smartphones in the last 10 years

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
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Being evolutionary is one thing, but being revolutionary is another. After yesterday's big iPhone unveiling, there are already murmurs about where the iPhone X stands in Apple's long storied history. Several new changes are prevalent in the iPhone X, but the more we began to absorb all of the information that came out of its event, the more we question ourselves as to whether or not it's the revolutionary, landmark smartphone that'll set the bar for the next decade to come. 

Ten long years have passed since the original iPhone came roaring onto the scene, ushering a new age for the smartphone landscape. And now that the iPhone X is almost upon us, it made us wonder more about some of the most disruptive phones that have been released in the last ten years. We've seen several smartphones that attempted to redefine the norm, but very few have been able to rise above to prove their revolutionary intentions.

Knowing that, we decided to look back and uncover the top 5 most disruptive smartphones in the last decade. There are perhaps dozens that come to mind, however, there can only be a few that can be considered to be disruptive thanks to the indisputable innovations they brought to the table. So, with that in mind, we present to you the list!

Apple iPhone 4

Starting off the list is none other than the Apple iPhone 4, the last iPhone ever to be introduced by none other than Steve Jobs himself. Not only was it a stunningly designed phone with its stainless-steel frame and glass surfaces, but it was disruptive due to the fact that it was more forward-thinking than its rivals at the time.

Take for example its Retina Display, which was not only the highest resolution display at the time of its announcement, but it also one of the most pixel-dense as well – and this was at a time when most high-end phones topped out at WVGA resolution, 800 x 480.

In addition, the iPhone 4 brought us a usable video chat feature, dubbed FaceTime by Apple. This solution seemingly put all other video chatting services to shame. These are just a few of the reasons why the iPhone 4 was such a disruptive phone when it came out back in 2010. 

Google Nexus line

Our number four slot isn't occupied by a single smartphone, but rather, an entire line. Well, to be honest, it was tough to determine which one in the Nexus line would fill the slot, just because each one was very unique. Overall, though, the reason why the Nexus line was disruptive was because it was a unified effort on Google's part for its Android operating system.

On top of being the brains behind the software experience, the Nexus line consolidated things by giving Google control of the design, marketing, and development of the phones. They spanned the gamut, consisting of manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Huawei. At a time when manufacturers were customizing the experiences to their liking, as well as skinning the interfaces, the Nexus line brought consistency with their vanilla experiences.

More than just the software, the hardware covered high-end, cutting-edge smartphones that competed nicely with other premier phones at the time. At the same time, too, they struck a chord with consumers by bringing to market the budget-conscious Nexus 5 – without compromising too much in the specs and hardware. For these many reasons, this is why the Nexus line has proven to be disruptive. 

Samsung Galaxy Note

It's been through a rough patch last year, but Samsung's Galaxy Note line is still trucking along nicely. However, it was the original Samsung Galaxy Note back in 2011 that proved to be the most disruptive.

Smartphones kept on seeing this trend of becoming larger in size, but it took the original Samsung Galaxy Note to realize that reality. Attributed in coining the term "phablet," a cross between a phone and tablet, the Note was a larger than life smartphone that started conversations from random strangers. Mainly due to its obnoxious size, easily dwarfing its closest competitors, the Note easily became the topic of conversation wherever it went.

By this time, too, the stylus was thought of as being extinct – primarily due to the infiltration of capacitive screens. Well, the Note also introduced us to the nudgy accessory once again, dubbed the S Pen, which impressively added to the experience in more ways than originally believed. All of this shifted consumer perception, as it proved that bigger sized phones were highly coveted.

Motorola DROID

DROID!! Anyone that was looking for their next phone back at the tail end of 2009 will surely remember that audible tone. When it comes to being disruptive, the Motorola DROID was undoubtedly a phone that redefined the Android landscape and steered it into a new direction. Many purists will agree that the original Motorola DROID is deserving of being in this list.

For starters, it was a landscape QWERTY smartphone, which is something we rarely see nowadays. Not only did it provide users with a physical keyboard, but its design was an overhaul from Motorola's previous efforts with its MOTOBLUR-running smartphones. Of course, it was a specs powerhouse in its own right – like its FWVGA 854 x 480 display, which was ahead of the pack at the time.

More importantly, though, Motorola and Verizon delivered a memorable line with its "DROID does" campaign. For example, it was the phone that introduced us all to FREE turn-by-turn navigation with Google Maps. Secondly, it drilled into some of the iPhones deficiencies at the time. When you can't multi-task between apps, customize the look of your home screen, or even swap batteries, DROID does. 

Apple iPhone (the original)

This shouldn't be a surprise, even though we're coming off the introduction of the new iPhones. In the last ten years, we've seen several phones that have upped the ante, but none of them have been able to surpass the disruptive nature of the original Apple iPhone – released back in 2007. It was a landmark smartphone like no other, redefining the entire segment in one fell swoop.

Looking back at the original iPhone, it's tough to imagine that it brought so many innovations to the table. That's probably because we take for granted many of its marquee features, which some of us might've forgotten at this point. Before its arrival, smartphones looked geeky, they performed sluggishly, and they weren't as intuitive. But the iPhone changed all of that! From its gorgeous design, to multi-touch technology with its capacitive display, and even that buttery response with its performance, the iPhone wasn't just another smartphone, it was a revolution on its own.

Some of the insignificant things we do on our smartphones today can all be attributed to the iPhone's innovations. That pinch zoom gesture for example, it was something brought to life by the iPhone. Kinetic scrolling? That too was introduced by the iPhone. And how about simplicity? Well, the iPhone brought that as well with its single home button and its new iOS platform.

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