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March 20th 2014 6:00 pm

What is the real "worst tech product of 2013"?

The 2013 Engadget Readers' Choice awards are over! There were many winners, and one big loser. You can check out the full list of results right here: www.engadget.com­/2014­/03­/20­/winners­-2013­-engadget­-...

One of the more surprising results was for the worst product of 2013. The winner of this unfortunate category?

The iPhone 5c.

I know there's often a lot of irrational backlash toward Apple's design, marketing, and philosophical choices when it comes to consumer electronics, but I'm really surprised that a phone with the same internals of one of the best phones of 2012 becomes the worst product of 2013.

I'll admit that the iPhone 5c isn't the most inspiring or innovative device, but it's really not that bad. I can't help but to feel that there was some irrational carpetbagging going.

Anyway, some devices that I believe were far more deserving of this title last year:
  • The HAPIfork
  • HTC First Phone
  • Ouya
  • Samsung Galaxy Gear
Do you agree with the overall decision of the community? What do you think some of the worst products of 2013 were?

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11 replies

I don't think the iPhone 5c was the worst gadget of last year, but it's far from the top. I think the backlash came from the expectation that it would be much less expensive than it turned out to be. In the end it was just an iPhone 5 with a plastic back that cost about as much as you would expect a year-old phone to sell. There's nothing at all to laud about the 5C, so I really wouldn't bother defending it other than to nudge it from the absolute bottom of the list to somewhere closer to the middle where it belongs. I don't think that's worth the effort.

I think the more surprising choice is the Galaxy Gear. I thought everyone hated that thing, and it's super expensive and only works with a small selection of phones (is it still just the Note 3?). Clearly the 2013 wearable market wasn't as big as the 2014 market is shaping up to be, but I'd take the Pebble any day over the Gear.
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So what you're saying is everyone set the bar super high because Apple decided to use plastic, and when that bar wasn't met they freaked? Doesn't that happen every-single-year when they announce a new event?
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Nope. That's not what I'm saying. There was a lot of buzz leading up to the press event that Apple would release a phone with a shocking price tag. Instead, they took the previous year's model, put a plastic back on it, upgraded the processor, and put it out at the same $99 price tag they always sell the previous model for.

I'm not saying those rumors were substantiated by anything or made any sense, but when has that ever mattered for Apple rumors?

But you can't say the 5C was a rousing success, and I think it's clear that I wasn't lobbying for it to be labelled the worst product of the year. I was just saying that it's a product that belongs squarely in the middle of the pack as any year old phone would be.
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No, I wasn't implying it was a rousing success. I was trying to point out that every time Apple holds an event, or in the build up to one, industry analyst make wild speculations on what they're doing. In this case there was shop leaks of plastic shells and every was quick to rush that there would be a cheaper iPhone.

No doubt about the 5c didn't sell well.
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Well, I think you're arguing my point. I disagree that the rumors going into the last announcement were the same as every year, because never before had Apple released both a flagship phone and a "low-end" phone. Every single year, as I've said, Apple had announced a single flagship phone and then as a side note they mention that last year's phone can be had for half the price of the new phone.

This year, the rumors of the inexpensive phone swirled, and there were all those shots of the plastic case. You're focusing too much on my comments about the plastic case. I don't care about the case. I don't care what the phone is or what it does. My entire commentary here has been about public perception, not about the phone. The public perceived that Apple would be announcing an inexpensive phone, possibly one that was a great price off-contract. But all they got was exactly what Apple had done every year, and Apple was still trying to pass it off as the thing that everyone had been expecting, which it wasn't.
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Except the iPhone 5C outsold ALL flagship Android/Windows/Blackberry phones...

So, if the 5C didn't sell well, then the whole industry must be hurting.
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In the US, not worldwide. There is a big difference there, but there is also a huge difference in companies that aim for market share through small margins (LG, Samsung, etc) and those who just look to avoid low-margin markets (Apple).
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Galaxy Gear from the perspective of advertising and just how absurd the thing looked.

Ouya from the perspective of something that was supposed to change living room gaming and just fell on its face it seems.
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Yeah, I meant to mention the terrible Gear ads. Good thing those street urchins have an open field instead of slums that could shelter them from the elements. That's the power of Messi and the Galaxy Gear!
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This is the most ridiculous article I have seen in a long time. I guess selling 12.8 million 5c's just isn't good enough!
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How is the iPhone 5C the worst tech product of 2013, when it outsold every flagship Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android phone?

Why not talk about the flop of Samsung's watch line up?

Oh, I know why... Engadget needs to mention Apple for CLICK BAIT!
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