Pocketnow’s Biggest News Stories of 2017

Happy Boxing Day from the Pocketnow team! Regardless of whether or not you’re celebrating today, today does mark the beginning of the last week in the Gregorian calendar year 2017. Seeing as we’ve made it through to this point, we thought we’d take a look at some of the bggest stores that our newsroom put out up to now.

Our methodology for this list is a mix of traffic rankings and a bit of non-duplicative pruning — sometimes, popular topics tend to come through in multiple articles — with my fellow News Editor, Adrian Diaconescu. That said, we’d love to hear feedback on your top stories of 2017 as well as how we cover the news going forward. You can submit your comments below this story or take a look at my profile bar just above the comments section for ways to connect with me.

With that out of the way, here’s our top ten!

10. Galaxy Note 7 post-mortem: Even though the Note 7 launched and imploded on itself within the late part of 2016, it took months for Samsung to fumble through with a salvage effort to continue retail sales before a massive, messy recall was able to be completed. In the meantime, speculation and projection on why the device’s batteries exploded during normal use ran rampant.

But Samsung officially placed most of the blame on the manufacturers of the batteries and then promised the public that it would test its batteries with vigor and then test them again. Sure, the power cells themselves may have a part in the failure, but when a 3,500mAh battery gets fitted into a slot that should, by at least one informed estimate, only hold a 3,200mAh battery, there’s always going to be some doubt about what could have been with a different overall design for the Galaxy Note 7.

As for the salvage, it seems that the “fans” are getting the front of that attempt now.

9. When will the iPhone X ship?: Anticipation is one hell of a drug.

You know how Apple is now able to ship its new $1,000 iPhone in as little as two business days to several regions around the world? Didn’t used to be that way. Six weeks was the delivery benchmark promised to consumers shortly after pre-orders launched on October 27. In the preceding month, investors estimated that the rate of production for the iPhone X was inadequate to satisfy the full breadth of the initial demand and it would take months before sales truly picked up.

And then on October 28, one analyst from RBC Capital Markets said that the “5-6 weeks number is conservative and users would likely receive it before that timeline.” One piece of evidence to help that along was the fact that shipping times were frequently updated to be shorter through the home stretch of the Christmas shopping season.

Can we be sure that those initially galled about a six-week wait who acquiesced to it were pleasantly surprised, say, two weeks later? We can’t. But we can’t say that didn’t happen.

8. That LG V30 launch: There was a little something special with the V30. Of course, anyone who has been following LG’s press strategy for the past few years know that they look to tease and do what we’ve been calling “pre-announcing” for some major features of its upcoming flagship smartphones.

Some might lay it on the OLED screen made by LG Display, the first OLED phone from the company since the mediocre-looking G Flex series. Others might give credit to those f/1.6 and f/1.9 on the main and wide-angle cameras. Further others could say “all that” and the graceful, water-resistant design. We just think it’s a pretty good phone.

7. Windows Phone dies: Some could say that Windows 10 Mobile was done in 2015.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL were the best objects Microsoft could muster, but it had already dragged its feet on amping consumer sentiment in the two years prior. Once the app developers and the enterprise customers couldn’t be bothered with the platform — Microsoft already admitted a silent defeat by increasing its commitment to its own-make apps on Android and iOS — the company said it would be dropping forward development on Windows 10 Mobile and that the operating system would be forever relegated to Redstone 2.

Our Adam Z. Lein wrote a lovely tribute to a platform he had admired, obsessed and used from Windows Mobile to even today. As for the future, well, there’s a hope that Windows 10 could be adapted to all form factors with a project in the background called “Andromeda.”

6. Sprint and T-Mobile don’t merge: It’s the wireless market’s favorite merger that will never happen.

In 2014, then-third place Sprint and fourth-place T-Mobile had a proposal to merge that withered under regulatory scrutiny. In 2017, their competitive standings may have switched places, but the merger still wanted to exist — while their combination would still rank behind AT&T and Verizon in subscriber base, they’d be within shotgun distance together as one. Instead, Sprint’s parent company, Japanese megaconglomerate SoftBank, was hesitant on giving up a mandate on one of its largest foreign assets. That hesitance scuttled any potential handshake.

While competition may still survive, analysts expect that Sprint will invest in its inferior network and cut down on promotions, thus allowing the industry to inch prices up on consumers — not what many people had in their logical views.

5. Samsung still makes flip phones we like: Smartphone components in a very dumb form factor.

One of the more anachronistic tendencies of the chaebol has been releasing top-of-the-line flip phones in select Asian markets — namely China — and price them far above cost as some sort of freak “limited edition” release. The so-called Leadership 8 is the more reasonable of this year’s models while the W2018 gets wrapped in prestige. Two HD screens? A camera with variable aperture? Snapdragon 835? Even metropolitan concierge service? Sounds right down our alley.

Alas, Android flip phones outside of Asia just can’t excite us as much as the W2018.

4. OnePlus 5 flipped-turned upside down: Never Settle… for bass-ackwards engineering design.

Actually, there’s only so much blame we can put upon OnePlus for the distorted “jelly scrolling” effect on the display for the OnePlus 5. The display, which was made by Samsung, was the same component used on the OnePlus 3T. The only difference between the two was that, for some reason, the part on the OnePlus 5 was oriented opposite the way it was placed on the 3T and was programmed as such for that orientation. And yet, for some reason, this behavior was dug up to have been apparent on another device with that peculiar situation.

While OnePlus should have conducted more research on its display calibration and also should have been a little more conciliatory to complaints, we do have to wonder where Samsung screwed up in making its product.

3. Microsoft patents the 3.5mm jack’s last stand: We don’t have to go into how the past months have been brutal to analog listeners with digital outputs on their phones.

But at third-place in the most-viewed column, there had to be an upswell of hope coming into play. Microsoft launched patent applications for a potential headphone port design for enclosures shorter than the jack’s width. The secret? Foldaway or flexible membranes with metal contacts that can be expanded in profile to take in a phono jack.

It is hoped at the very least that we should see this technology on future Surface tablets since those are the only mobile devices anyone’s really buying off of the company these days. If the technology successfully gets licensed out to other manufacturers, though, think of the field day we’d have covering this.

2. The iPhone X’s display is just like all the others: People like a good story about hubris and admission. If it’s an Apple story, it’s got to be our runner-up.

Apple hyped up the Super Retina display on the iPhone X like it was no other AMOLED display on the planet — side note: Samsung, which made the displays for its own phones as well as for many other manufacturers’ phones, made the Super Retina display for the iPhone X. OLED technology has its native perils, though, and all of Apple’s talk about the extra testing it did and padding about how it will be the best to endure things… yeah, the drop has to come in somewhere.

It posted a support article for the display along with a very specific care guide for the Super Retina display. Safeguards like keeping the brightness down over prolonged use and turning the display off when it is not in use were suggested to prevent maladies like burn-in and pixel rot. Even when iPhone X owners take great pains for the sake of the display, they still will be subject to color shifting.

No need to be humble here.

1. The OnePlus 5T tell-all: But it’s back to the tech enthusiast’s favorite idol of a manufacturer (and yet, their favorite punching bag of a manufacturer), OnePlus.

The big story that everyone flocked to Pocketnow for? A big, fat break of embargo as all the contents of the reviewer’s kit for the OnePlus 5T. We splayed out all the information we saw, giving full transparency to listed details page by page. That included specifications, regional availability and the talking points the company wanted people focused on. And there was a hands-on video to boot.

It provided review watchers and readers a renewed persepective of how editorialists process a phone for judgment while also giving consumer the quick of hits of information they need to pre-judge the OnePlus 5T with prejudice. Funny how the internet works, huh?

Pocketnow hopes you enjoyed the year’s biggest stories — after all, you were the ones who blew them up! We wish you a happy 2018 and look forward to serving you over the next 52 weeks!

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.