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The 3 Worst Phone Hardware Ideas


Working as a mobile phone designer is like trying to recreate evolution single-handedly, and that’s got to be frustrating. You have to keep trying changes, but 90% of the changes you can make are stupid and then something ridiculous like “paint it white” or “have opposable thumbs” dominates the market. With phone companies releasing several new handsets every year, hoping to convince customers that there’s a single reason to buy one beyond “the old one’s broken”, some have tried spectacularly stupid ways to stand out.

1. The SUB Phone

The SUB is an “Outdoor Bodyware Smartphone”, and they’re thinking outside of the box by ignoring conventions! Conventions like “convenience” or “compatibility with sleeves”. The SUB is designed to take over your right forearm, and looks more like an alien tracking device for human slaves than the fashion statement they so desperately want it to be.

Unfortunately for TRON you can’t buy a SUB, but they’ll let you give them money anyway. Which is only one of the ways their understanding of business is deeply flawed. Round Trip Investments are offering chances in invest in this project, which is pretty ballsy for people who can’t even pay stock models to wear their product.

Protip: successful projects usually have action shots larger than forty pixels across.

Those are the full-size promotional shots from the site, where they think that scaling it down to postage-stamp size will prevent you from noticing how they’ve used MSPaint to draw colored pixels over innocent models. Though that level of stupidity does explain how they expect people to give the money. Perhaps they could spend some of it on rebranding themselves, because “Round Trip Investments” sounds scammier than “Follow Me Down This Dark Alley Incorporated”.

2. Ununbreakable

We get upset when a CEO challenges a technology journalist to destroy an “unbreakable” phone. Not as phone lovers, but as comedy writers – how are we meant to make what happens next any less obvious?

Guess what just didn’t not break?

When Sonim CEO Bob Plaschke claimed that their phone could withstand a fall of ten stories, being submerged in 20 feet of water and could even hammer nails into walls, they didn’t factor in the the raw investigative might of BBC reporters. Dan Simmons destroyed the phone in about four seconds with a fishtank, which you might recognize as not actually being a weapon.

It turned out that Sonim’s testing hadn’t anticipated someone actually hammering at the screen, the phone’s weak point, meaning they’re probably the same company who provide Bond villains with nuclear bombs covered in easily-defused exposed wiring and those big videogames spaceships with red spots painted on the middle.

3. The Flickr Photo Bike


On the plus side, it’s a beautiful bike. Which is why the camera is aimed to never see it.

Flickr are masters of the endless, uninteresting photo album – where users don’t even have to view the photos themselves to inflict them on the rest of the world – but they were clearly dared to make the average mobile phone picture even worse. By bolting a Nokia N95 onto the front of a bike they guaranteed that every single picture would be taken while moving, unfocused, and with all the careful aim of a leaf in a tornado. And because the system is set to constantly take, tag and upload pictures to a photostream, this idea could double the number of unnecessary pictures online single-handedly.

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