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Missing in action: The smartphones we didn't see in 2022
There was no shortage of quality smartphones in 2022. The high-end segment played host to top-notch devices like the Galaxy S22 line and Pixel 7 series. Meanwhile, wallet-conscious consumers could choose handsets like the Redmi Note 11 series and Pixel 6a.
Nevertheless, we were expecting several phones this year that never saw the light of day. Whether they were rumored handsets or simply expected based on a brand’s previous release strategies, here are the most notable devices we didn’t see in 2022.
Apple iPhone 14 Mini
The Cupertino company launched an iPhone Mini model in 2020 and 2021, so it stood to reason that we might see a new Mini model this year. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case; we got the iPhone 14 Plus instead. This wasn’t a complete surprise though, as we’d been hearing murmurs that the iPhone 14 Mini was killed off for months before the potential launch.
Was this the right move for Apple? Well, several reports point to the iPhone 14 Plus being a sales disappointment. It’s no surprise when you consider that it costs just $100 less than the more impressive iPhone 14 Pro. So, hopefully, the company will offer more sensible pricing if it launches the iPhone 15 Plus in 2023.
Samsung Galaxy S22 FE
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE was praised in 2020 because it brought a truly competitive affordable flagship experience to the table. But the Galaxy S21 FE follow-up didn’t quite receive the same positive reception, in large part due to its awkward January 2022 launch just a month before the more powerful S22 arrived.
Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review
Still, all eyes were on Samsung to reveal the S22 FE in the second half of 2022. This was not to be, though, as the device was apparently canceled. If there’s any consolation, it’s that the Galaxy S23 FE is apparently scheduled for launch next year.
The OnePlus 10 Pro launched in China back in January 2022, but it was a while before global users would get their hands on the phone. The wait was punctuated by speculation that the vanilla OnePlus 10 was in the works for a global launch too.
OnePlus would finally bring the OnePlus 10 Pro to global markets on March 31, but the standard OnePlus 10 didn’t tag along. This was unprecedented for the brand. The company would go on to release the OnePlus 10T in the second half of the year. However, aside from a few obvious upgrades (chipset and wired charging speed), the device lags behind even the OnePlus 9 in some areas.
More coverage: OnePlus 10 Pro review
This wasn’t the only OnePlus handset that went missing in 2022. The company was expected to launch the Nord 3 this year, with signs suggesting it was a rebranded OnePlus 10R. This was not to be, either.
Microsoft Surface Duo 3
2020’s original Surface Duo was a disaster of sorts for Microsoft. The company’s dual-screen smartphone was a buggy, overpriced mess at launch. It didn’t help that the handset lacked loads of features you’d usually take for granted in its price bracket, including NFC, 5G, and multiple rear cameras. Needless to say, we didn’t rate it very highly when we reviewed it.
Microsoft pulled its socks up with the Surface Duo 2, bringing previously missing features and more refined software and hardware, but still missing some crucial points. Would the third time be the charm? We didn’t get to find out this year, as Microsoft opted to skip a Duo 3 release in 2022. Instead, it’s believed the company is preparing for a 2023 launch.
Here’s an insider piece of trivia for you: We did get close to seeing a new Duo this year as an eBay listing for a mid-range Surface Duo (or Surface Duo Go) emerged in July 2022. Windows Central reported at the time that this cheaper Duo was supposed to launch in the second half of 2022. The device was apparently canceled in late 2021 so Microsoft could focus on the next flagship Surface Duo.
Asus Zenfone 9 Flip
Asus achieved a full-screen display with 2019’s Zenfone 6 by offering a flipping camera module. Although the cameras were rearward-facing by default, the shooters could flip up to face forward for selfies. The company retained this camera module for the Zenfone 7 series and the Zenfone 8 Flip.
We, therefore, expected the company to launch the Asus Zenfone 9 Flip in 2022, but this device didn’t materialize. Instead, we only got the pocket-friendly Asus Zenfone 9. So you’ll have to go back to buy the Zenfone 8 Flip if you still want this nifty camera design.
Vivo X80 Pro Plus
The Vivo X80 Pro was the BBK brand’s flagship smartphone for most of 2022, but the naming convention hinted that an X80 Pro Plus was on the way too. After all, Vivo had released the X60 Pro Plus and X70 Pro Plus in previous years.
GSMArena confirmed with a Vivo representative back in September that an X80 Pro Plus was indeed in the works but was canceled. The phone was tipped to arrive with upgraded zoom cameras and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset.
It’s not all bad news though, as the company just launched the X90 series, which looks like a hefty upgrade. It packs a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a one-inch 50MP main camera, and many other improvements. Here’s to these phones launching globally soon.