Guest Post: Four mobile phone fads that didn’t quite work out

by Brenda Priddy, tech enthusiast blogger with Number-Direct

Mobile phone designs have taken on some seriously diverse shapes and sizes over their lifetime – some good; some bad; and some downright bizarre. Whilst it’s true that customers love variety and innovation, they’re particularly defiant over what they do and don’t like, and companies. So manufacturers will do well to take note of customer behaviour. When it comes to mobile phone designs, there have been many models that may have initially struck as a potential spark of genius. But it wasn’t long before customers wrote them off as another failed impulse purchase, and moved swiftly on to a better researched candidate. So which design flops can the rest of the mobile manufacturing world learn from? Here, @ Number Direct we’ve provided four particularly disappointing designs that definitely failed to set a new trend.

Microsoft Kin 1 (2010)

This is a phone that represents the perfect definition of a fad, having only lasted eight weeks on the shelves.

The Microsoft Kin 1′s small, dumpy design left much to be desired; not least of all its apparently cluttered and claustrophobic operating system, not helped any by the somewhat diminished display space in which it had to work.

As well as being slippery to hold, the Kin also lacked space for an external memory card slot, and when the sliding screen was extended, it looked more like a gaming device for toddlers than an appropriately working smartphone (no doubt the underlying aim).

And when closed, it felt more like holding a substantially-sized pebble – ironically ideal for when customers felt like chucking it into a lake!

BlackBerry Porsche (2011)

One of the saddest things about this BlackBerry model is that it actually had the potential to be a success, having been designed by Porsche Design itself.

However, its coveted reputation as a sleek, sophisticated handset for fast-paced businessmen didn’t quite get off the ground.

The buttons – hard, awkward and angular – became a hazard thanks to their ability to be prised off like Lego pieces, and their unfriendly futuristic lettering left this specimen looking like it had been transported from the 80s.

Luckily BlackBerry managed to sell a few handsets due to the name and a rather sultry ad campaign. But the phone itself failed to excite in any way.

LG Double Play (2011)

The LG Double Play made itself a prominent handset choice during this crucial dual-screen fad era.

It was almost natural on some level for manufacturers to want to mimic the Nintendo DS in the grand hope of catching some of its success, as well as make mobile phones more suitable for gaming. (Had they learned nothing from the Nokia N Gage?)

But the premise of dual-screen capability doesn’t quite translate into the smartphone world, when all one really wants to do is make calls, text, email and tweet.

Instead the Double Play simply delivered an annoyingly awkward split keyboard, and an unnecessary bulkiness that
did not bode well for the palm.

Samsung Galaxy Mega (2013)

When miniature smartphones like the Microsoft Kin failed to catch on, manufacturers seemingly began to wonder about the prospects of overly enlarged handset screens instead – one of these being the Samsung Galaxy Mega.

This somewhat phone-tablet hybrid (appropriately termed ‘phablet’) didn’t do wonders for the face – obscuring one half of it when making a phone call and the whole of it when taking photos, to the point where it becomes almost dangerous.

Texting is most certainly a two-hand job, and despite the thinness of the body, the Mega is not exactly pocket-friendly.

It’s unclear whether Samsung was trying to build a tablet in the form of a smartphone, or a smartphone that would perform like a tablet.

But we hope they’ve learned a lesson from this experiment, and strangely enough, it’s that these two platforms should not be mixed.

Author biog

Brenda Priddy is probably one of the UK’s biggest tech enthusiasts. Brenda loves everything related to tech and so much so she followed a career in telecommunications. In her spare time, Brenda enjoys running the telecoms website and directory number-direct.co.uk – which aims to give UK customers easier access to businesses. As well as writing articles for a number of other websites. She dreams of one day writing about technology for a major newspaper or magazine. Brenda is literally glued to her iPhone and iPad can’t go anywhere without them.

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