When you finally get your hands on the phone you’ve always wanted, whether iOS, Android or Windows Phone, your excitement is out of this world. But did you know that it takes tremendous effort and expertise for phone manufacturers to actually release a unique masterpiece? Well, that’s right. Read along to learn about several missteps that manufacturers have made with their phones over the years, resulting in some of the worst mobile phones ever.
Æ + Y Phone (2011)
Apple gets a bad rep for the pricing of their iDevices, but the Æ + Y phone from ÆSir Copenhagen by and large takes the cake. It comes in two versions – stainless steel and gold, costing €7250 and €42,000 respectively. To matters worse, despite being made available in 2011, the Æ + Y does not support any of the standard mobile operating systems (no iOS, no Android, no Windows Phone), instead only supporting very basic functions such as calling, texting, alarm, and well a calculator.
The Æ + Y is designed to look like a bracelet watch, with edge to edge key design, which is unconventional but pat on the back worthy. However, the absolute worst thing about this phone, even by 2011 standards, is the pathetic size of the screen, which measures only 2 inches.
The Æ + Y is nothing more than a glorified (goldified?) Nokia 3310. You’re better off purchasing a couple gold iPhones with this kind of cash and calling it a day.
Motorola FlipOut (2010)
The Android 2.1 powered Motorola FlipOut wasdesigned with a 2.8 inch screen that can flip out (hence the name, not very creative I might add) so as to expose the full QWERTY keyboard. It was Motorola’s sad attempt to combine a physical keyboard with touchscreen technology. Shame they had to compromise so greatly on screen size to achieve that. Look, I like physical keyboards, much more than I do touchscreen ones, but cutting a phone in half is not the way to go. Just try to imagine how awkward it would feel holding it to your ears when its not flipped out. Yeah.
F88 Wrist Phone (2006)
I guess you could call this the smartwatch’s great great grandfather. The F88 Wrist Phone tried to do a lot of cool things, but it got the whole design part of it horribly wrong. It featured a 3MP 180-degree rotating camera, came with pre-installed World Cup games, 26k color display, IrDA connectivity, and a speakerphone. The F88 looks like something you’d see in Inspector Gadget, however the manufacturers should have taken hints from James Bond movies instead.
The F88 is quite large, like really large for the wrist. To make matters worse, you have to hold its wired earpiece up to your ear while on a call, which is just plain awkward. It fell short of any sophistication that people might have expected at the time.
Toshiba G450 (2008)
This is probably something you’d see Tony Stark fiddling with in an Iron Man film. I expected this from Marvel, within the confines of a fictional universe, not you Toshiba, within the confines of the actual universe. The Toshiba G450 a remote-like phone that has an extremely tiny screen for display. The screen contains only 3 lines, with the top line being used to display status information leaving you only with the remaining two lines with which do anything else. Yeah, that was a great idea Toshiba, people would sure love scrolling ad finitum reading their texts.
That’s just the screen, the keypad is just as bad. Its divided into two which just makes typing an absolute chore. And to top it off, for a phone released in 2008 (a year after the first iPhone), it distinctly lacked basic features like a calendar, Bluetooth, radio and voice recording, and it had monochrome graphics. This was a huge middle finger being rubbed in the face of technological advancement. Thanks Toshiba, I would love to meet the board members that approved this.
Samsung Serenata (2007)
Before there were the Galaxy and Note lines, there was the Serenata. Samsung has indeed come a far way.
The Samsung Serenata was a music first mobile phone made in cooperation with Bang & Olufsen. It featured a resistive touch screen and a scroll wheel (similar to the original iPod) and a slide out speaker. Unconventional look aside, you’d end up blocking the screen while navigating using the scroll wheel as the control pad, which is just plain bad design. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t even look like anything resembling a phone. I actually can’t say what the hell it looks like.
Samsung Serene (2005)
The Samsung Serene was a predecessor to the Samsung Seranata, but just like its successor, it made some very questionable design choices. To call this phone as an invention gone bad would be the understatement of the year. Manufactured by Samsung in cooperation with Bang & Olufsen, this phone sported a clamshell design that looked like something that Nintendo would unveil. It featured a misplaced 0.3 MP camera, 31 MB memory, a scroll wheel and a battery compartment which you can only access using a special screwdriver. Not to mention that the thing is just plain ugly. It’s been a while since Samsung has collaborated with Bang & Olufsen on a mobile phone, we’re hoping it stays that way.
Siemens Xelibri 2 (2003)
The Siemens Xelilbri 2’s design seemed to have been heavily inspired by a blood sugar machine. The Siemen Xelebri line was a seemingly fashion oriented line of mobile phones (from 1 all the way to 8). Its bizarre design and lack of any features to justify its whack design made it not fare well with buyers. From the tiny screen to the separated keypad, the Xelibri 2 was a failure waiting to happen. They could have at least made it double as a blood sugar machine, since that was clearly its inspiration. Maybe that could have made it sell worth a damn.
Pictured: an actual blood sugar machine. Image: http://boolpool.com
Nokia N-Gage (2003)
Since the debut of the iPhone, mobile phones with the ability to play feature games have become commonplace, however, it wasn’t always like this. Released in Nokia’s mobile glory days, the N-Gage showed promise but was marred by horrible design. The N-Gage was Nokia’s attempt to combine a mobile phone with a handheld gaming system, clearly taking some design inspiration from Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. In fact, it was Nokia’s attempt to lure gamers away from the Game Boy Advance. Thankfully, that didn’t work, partly because its buttons weren’t well designed for gaming, but rather for a phone. And for a system it so badly wanted to compete against, the N-Gage severely lacked developer support receiving only 58 titles in its 2 years of existence.