Smartphones that ruled 2016
Smartphones that ruled 2016Redmi India via Twitter

Smartphone shoppers were overwhelmed by a series of launches that covered all price ranges, starting from Rs 251, and specifications in 2016. As the year comes to an end, we get a chance to look back at the blockbuster smartphones of the year.

Budget smartphones dominated peoples' interest this year while premium handsets such as iPhone 7, OnePlus 3 and Google Pixel also had quite an impact. Google shared its 2016 "Year in Search" trend report with us, giving us a peek of what people searched for the most this year.

Read: Sultan, Kabali, Pokemon Go, Rio Olympics 2016 dominated Google search in 2016

Without much surprise, Freedom 251 by Ringing Bells, which generated a lot of controversy as well as interest in India for its ultra-low price tag and specs, was the top trending mobile device in 2016. Apple's latest flagship, the iPhone 7, secured the second spot, while Xiaomi's popular premium budget device Redmi Note 3 completed the top 3 spots.

Google's list of top trending mobile devices in 2016 includes Lenovo K4 Note, Samsung Galaxy J7, Moto G4, OnePlus 3, iPhone SE, Google Pixel and Lenovo K5 Note. This makes the top 10 popular smartphones that Google found based on user searches online.

We aren't surprised by the results as all of the aforementioned phones were most talked about before and after their official launch. For instance, Freedom 251 – the world's cheapest smartphone priced at Rs 251 – generated global attention, but also attracted controversies about its maker pulling off a massive scam.

If we talk about the iPhone 7, it was one of the hottest topics throughout this year. Rumours about the device started appearing months before the official launch of the phone in September. Even after the launch, Apple managed to keep people interested in its phones through a series of software updates.

Similarly, Xiaomi sold thousands of Redmi Note 3 phones this year, which reportedly broke several online sales records. Budget smartphones tend to attract a lot of interest in India, where people are budget-conscious while buying or upgrading their phones. A handset like Redmi Note 3 offered premium-level specs without drilling a hole in the pockets.