By now you must have heard of the Foldable smartphone. Samsung and Huawei both launched their revolutionary foldable smartphones at this week’s Mobile Congress Week 2019 (MWC) event in Barcelona. Are foldable phones the ‘new’ normal? That is something only time and consumer behaviour can tell. But what about other phones that were once touted as ‘game-changers’? Where are they now? Join me as I explore five of the wackiest concept phones (and ideas) to hit the markets in recent years:
Big Ideas, Even Bigger Flops
The ‘Taco’ Phone: Nokia N-Gage
Nokia’s mishap was the dysfunctional design of this oddly-shaped smartphone. The N-Gage was the first-ever handheld game system and a smartphone hybrid to be introduced to the market. Nokia assumed that there would be consumers for this phone with limited functionality and extremely short battery life. To be honest, it looks like something that Sonic the Hedgehog would use!
The ‘Slither’ Factor: Snake Phone by Product Visionaries
It wraps around the user’s arm. Like a snake would. No points for guessing why this concept smartphone bombed.
In Parts: Separate Keitai by Fujitsu
Ever feel the need to write an email AND keep talking to a friend on your smartphone? Then the Separate Keitai is the phone for you! Two separate parts of this phone the keypad, and the screen are both linked together via Bluetooth technology. Apparently, there is a magnet-based mechanism that keeps the phone together when not in use.
Keeping it in the Family: Microsoft Kin
Rumour has it that the reason behind Microsoft Kin’s failure was that the legacy technology company was unable to focus. Weirdly, the Kin phone did not come with the option to add games or apps. Basically, all the user got was a flashy featurephone.
The ‘LEGO’ Effect: Google’s Project Ara
Google’s Project Ara smartphone was, like many other innovations, an idea that sounded better on paper. It was designed to be a regular phone, however with removable segments that can be upgraded or snapped in as required. A lot like blocks by LEGO! The creators wanted to make upgrading one’s phone as simple as possible; users were supposed to snap on a new camera or battery within seconds.
Do You Dare to Go There?
So the question remains: are you willing to believe the hype and bring home your own wacky smartphone?