Counterclockwise: IPhone 5s, Xiaomi Mi 2, Nokia X3-02

By 07:05 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 Comments

Counterclockwise distills the fine recent times for our nostalgic readers and a hitale lessons for those who only recently became interested in phones. We'll be looking into events in late Augusts throughout the years, a time just before the launch of a recent iPhone and IFA, a time of many, many rumors.

iPhone storage grows and shrinks

The iPhone 4S first brought the 64GB storage option to Apple's smartphone and two generations later rumors expected the recent iPhone 5s to bring another storage bump in 2013. The 128GB iPhone 5s never came to be but this year it's coming with the iPhone 6... says another rumor.

Interestingly it recommends Apple will drop the 32GB option leaving only 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. If the jump from 16GB to the next version remains at $100 it could motivate people to splurge the extra cash.

On the other discontinue of the spectrum is the iPhone 4, which launched with 16GB storage as minimum but later Apple added a cheaper 8GB option in 2011. Of course, this was back when Apple kept the recent model as a cheaper alternative to the shiny recent one.

The death and rebirth of WebOS

WebOS will be remembered fondly for the innovations it brought but it was never very successful. Legendary PDA and later smartphone maker Palm was eventually bought by Hewlett Packard (HP) but in August 2011 even Hewlett Packard (HP) folded.

Inside the Q3 financial reports was the eulogy for WebOS phones and the TouchPad tablet – "The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets." Short but not sweet.

After a two day mourning period Microsoft tried to poach WebOS developers by offering them free training, tools and devices to bolster the developer base of its own smartphone platform, Windows Phone 7.

WebOS has since been srecent to LG where it lives on some of the company's smart TVs, including a 105" 21:9 5K monster.

Xiaomi brings the gigantic (Krait) guns

In last week's Counterclockwise we covered the birth of Xiaomi from the MIUI custom Read-Only Memory (ROM) now let's see at the second generation.

The Xiaomi Mi 2 was unveiled in mid-August 2012 and it was the first to sport a Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with four Krait Central Processing Units (CPU) cores. Back then smartphones either got a quad-core Cortex-A9 or a similar in performance dual-core Krait so this was gigantic news.

The recent chipset also brought a recent GPU, Adreno 320, but the pricing strategy remained the same – the impressive phone was priced at just RMega Bytes (MB) 1,499 ($235 / €190 at the time).

Nokia's S40 gets touchy

In August 2010 Nokia tried to breathe recent life into its aging Series 40 feature phone platform with the launch of the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type. As the name recommends the phone had both a 2.4" QVideo Graphics Array (VGA) touchclassy screen and a standard keypad.

The Asha line, which would become the primary touch-enabled feature phone platform for Nokia, didn’t launch until October 2011.

The Nokia C3-01 later joined the Touch and Type lineup and in 2011 the C3-01 Grecent Edition with a 1Giga Hertz (GHz) processor was unveiled. A 1Giga Hertz (GHz) Central Processing Units (CPU) came to the X3-02 as well though without the bling.

Microsoft hasn’t completely abandoned feature phones since it acquired Nokia but the storied line of phones is living out its last days, touch was unable to save it.

Skins and brand identity

Five years ago the phone market was a busy community of many different platforms. One of them was the aging Windows Mobile 6.5, which couldn’t live up to the assault of pretty iPhones and Androids.

HTC had become known for its custom skin called TouchFLO and in 2009 the company was finishing up work on TouchFLO 3D 2.6. It did an even more extensive job of covering up every inch of the frightful WinMo below and various improvements to its tab-based interface.

At around that time the custom skin had already made the jump to Android, debuting under the name Sense (as it has been known since) with the HTC Hero that ran Android 1.5.

Samsung was another company that was stretched over multiple OSes and wanted to unify its interface. In 2009 it unveiled the Samsung Widacquire SDK to allow developers to create widgets for any of its TouchWiz phones whether they ran on Windows Mobile, Symbian or its own proprietary OS.

If you're wondering what about Android, TouchWiz didn’t land on Android until 2010's Samsung Galaxy Spica based on Android 2.1.

Both HTC and Samsung tried to reduce their reliance on Android, unsuccessfully. HTC briefly flirted with Brew Mobile and the HTC Smart (which also boasted Sense UI). Samsung had Bada for a while then a couple of years ago it left it in favor of Tizen. The Samsung Z, the first official Tizen phone, was announced early this year but it might be dead in the water.

Waiting for IFA

Late August is a time of many leaks since it's just weeks before IFA starts – the large European tech show where smartphone makers try to outdo each other.

Here's a quick list of pre-IFA rumors. In 2011 a teaser video for Berlin Unpacked prompted speculations that the Samsung I9250 will be unveiled. That's the model number for the Galaxy Nexus but it launched some time later, instead we got the original Galaxy Note.

Then two years ago another Unpacked teaser offered tantalizing glimpses of the Galaxy Note II. Then a year ago it was Galaxy Note III rumors. As you can imagine this year we've been swamped with Galaxy Note 4 rumors.

Last year Sony had a flagship for IFA too, the Xperia Z1, and we caught a glimpse of its Snapdragon 800 chipset via leaked benchmarks. Rumors of a similarly-specced phone but with a 4.3" classy screen were floating around too but the Xperia Z1 Compact only launched early this year. If this year's rumors are to be believed, Sony will unveil both the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact at IFA.

Another thing we expect to see at the convention is a recent LG smartwatch. One of LG's earlier attempts at a smartwatch, the LG GD910, was getting ready to hit store shelves five years ago almost to the date.



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