Happy Tuesday, everybody. Hope you enjoyed Memorial Day. I know it's never easy to get back into the swing of things after a long weekend, but I hope this fun bit of fluff helps.
PCWorld created this awesome list of ?Twelve Cell Phones We Love to Hate? earlier this month. WIth just a week or so before some of the hottest new smartphones come to market, I couldn't resist taking a look at the misses ? the crazy, weird, even nausea-inducing handsets that are so far off-the-mark,they?re in a class by themselves. Some of the risky designs came from companies? misplaced ambition; others just make you wonder, ?What the heck they were thinking??
Have fun perusing this list of the ugly, the strange and, in some cases, the completely unusable below.
Bang & Olufsen Serene
This one isn't actually an exercise in ugliness, but rather, weird design and ? at $1,000 ? a hefty price tag. Bang & Olufsen launched the Serene in 2006, unveiling a strange handset with the camera lens on the side and the display under the keypad (so it wouldn't be sullied by a dirty cheek pressing against it). To me, it just looks like a lot of early guesses of what the ?iPod Phone? (now iPhone) could've looked like. The keys look like a click-wheel, no?
Samsung/Bang & Olufsen Serenata
Bang & Olufsen partnered with Samsung for the Serenata (2007), the follow-up to the Serene (above). Still no keypad (just an input wheel), but there is some sliding action. Of course being from B&O, the Mercedes Benz of audio, the phone features a high-def speaker under the chassis. Users get a generous 4GB memory, 3G connectivity, a 256KB TFT display, USB 2.0, and Bluetooth A2DP, which sounds great. But for $2,000, they could've at least figured out how to integrate a camera.
This 2006 handset's so ugly. It's almost cool. Retro freaks might've enjoyed the circa 1980s calculator-like styling. Tech heads would've liked the camera, storage and slim 9 mm thickness. Everyone else with eyeballs, though, would've hated having to wear a pocket protector with this thing.
Motorola ROKR E1
Well what happened here? The Apple-Motorola collaboration should've been like the power couple of 2005. But instead of a beautiful, smart piece of equipment, we got a mediocre offspring with limited features and a chubby profile. Okay, it was one of the first handsets to feature an MP3 player, but it could only store a skimpy 100 songs from an iTunes library.
Go ahead ? Try to figure out how to text on this thing. I dare you. The Nokia 7380's keypad-less form factor may have been geared toward fashionistas, but not even they wanted something this useless. Scrolling through letters using a navi-wheel is just one of the worst UI ideas ever in the history of cell phones. And integrating a 2 MP camera and music player on device with 52 MB storage is just mean. You could barely stash a couple of pics or tunes on it.
Sony Ericsson W350 Walkman
You could almost hear the suits at Sony Ericsson screaming, ?Thinner! It needs to be thinner! Then we will dominate the cell phone market! Mua-ha-ha!? Well, um, not quite. The W350 Walkman phone was the mobile tech equivalent of a frighteningly thin runway model ? too skinny and lacking in substance. It was supposed to be a beginner's music phone for kids, but it couldn't hold up to any measure of wear and tear. That's just poorly thought out. Kids? toys need to be really, really sturdy, yet this device's flimsy cover and battery hatch kept falling apart after a couple of weeks.
Nokia E90 Communicator
On the opposite end of the W350 lies the huge Nokia E90 Communicator (2007). Going for over $1,000, the phone measured 2.2 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches and weighed almost half a pound (7.5 ounces). Yeah, it's sturdy and packed with features, but who's going to cart this thing around? (Whoever said, ?Size doesn't matter,? clearly wasn't talking about cell phones. Actually, I?m pretty sure they weren't.)
The Siemens Xelibri Line
When Siemen's line of Xelibri phones launched in 2003, they looked like they were props from a 1960s retro-futuristic sci-fi flick. That actually could've appealed to a certain niche fanbase, but the focus on bizarre form factor (and not features) was what ultimately led to this collection's demise.
Why would anyone take the primary feature of a phone (which is to make calls), and render it more difficult for users? Why is it, when clever people are trying to minimize the real estate of a keypad without losing functionality, would anyone add an extra dialpad? The Toshiba G450 is a USB broadband modem and mobile storage unit in one. Oh yeah, it's also supposed to be a phone, something the designers didn't really seem to think through.
Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV
Yuck. Okay, first let's start with the name: the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700 TV Phone (2006). And the colors? A Wall St. executive's power-suit palette of dark gray and silver, with a splash of red from the logo. Sadly, the phone's spotlighted feature, unlimited mobile TV, was actually a good idea, but at least in this first offering, it was couched in a really ugly package. So, of course, it didn't have a chance. The phone and the service ? like a lot of finance executives ? ended up going belly up.
This could've been a contender. Any phone that runs both Windows and Android should really wow people. But the upcoming Compulab Exeda looks like one of those freebie calculators from the bank. (And what's up with the multiple navigation buttons?) What this boxy little handset lacks in looks, it tries to make up for with features, including GSM, CDMA, Wifi, Bluetooth, an ethernet port, a 2 MP camera, MicroSD card slot, a touchscreen and a QWERTY keypad with mini-trackpad. No word on carrier or price tag, but the company's website says the Exeda will be available this month. From where? Bank of America?
Vertu Bucheron Cobra
In my mind, this beast wins the ugly phone contest hands-down. The limited-edition Vertu Bucheron Cobra (2006) is definitely the device I would've imagined Alexis Colby carrying back in the 80s on Dynasty. It featured a gold cobra slithering around the bottom and boasted 439 rubies, two diamonds, two emeralds (for the snake's eyes) and an aneurysm-inducing $310,000 price tag. But for that money, you didn't even get a camera or Bluetooth. You did, however, get a 24-hour concierge on speed dial ? and the knowledge that you and only seven other people in the world had the opportunity and resources to show off some very, very bad taste.
This parade of grossness isn't comprehensive, so if you know a handset that's missing from the cavalcade of craptastic phones, go ahead and weigh in below. (And if you have a link to an image, that's even better. That way, we can join you in marveling in the ugly.)