Mobile phones have evolved over the past few years, changing from devices that could be used to communicate by SMS and telephone, to the smartphones that are common today. These modern devices can carry out a range of functions, from acting as a high quality camera, being used as a personal computer and able to surf the internet and access social media. The example set by the likes of Apple has also seen smartphones change from clunky pieces of hardware, to the sleek and stylish models that are most popular.
However, this change has seen manufacturers come up with some very strange designs and crazy additional features that no one asked for. The following entries in this article are all examples of baffling models for mobile phones that companies have tried to release.
12. Nokia 888
The Nokia 888 is a smartphone that the famous mobile phone company had worked on as a concept device. Its main feature that differentiates it from other devices is the fact that it is flexible and bendy. Designed for teenagers and young adults who have an active lifestyle, the Nokia 888 can be bent into a variety of different shapes. This allows the users to shape the phone into any form they want, so it can be rolled up to fit in a small pocket or wrapped around a wrist so it can be carried around. Nokia explained that the mobile phone would have a liquid battery, touch screen and voice recognition to allow users to control the functions easily.
11. Nokia 3250
Nokia created the 3250 as a more specialized music playing mobile phone for those who didn’t want to carry around additional devices just to listen to music. Introduced in 2006, its main distinctive feature was a twisting bottom that users could rotate to get access to a set of music controls or the more normal numeric keypad. The Nokia 3250 also came with a rotating camera lens to make taking photos even easier. While some liked the twisting music controls, the vast majority of users complained that it moved too easily and was fiddly to operate.
10. Nova EC107
Chinese firm, Shenzhen Hop Industrial created the Nova EC 107 to be the ultimate compact and lightweight mobile phone. Weighing just 40 grams, the tiny handset has enough room for a two-inch touchscreen, an FM radio tuner, a microSD card and the ability to play both videos and music. It charges using a sliding USB plug that allows it to sync with a computer. The device also holds official world records from Guinness for being the lightest and smallest working mobile phone on the planet.
9. Hyundai MP 280
This 2005 device was a flip phone designed to be very similar to many of the most popular models of the time. However, it had one unusual feature. Every time the phone was opened, the MP 280 would spray out a small amount of Marc Jacobs EDP perfume, so that whenever you wanted to make a call, you would be greeted with a pleasant fragrance. Once the perfume ran out, its users could refill it using a special syringe that came with it. The mobile phone did not come cheap though, as the asking price was $1,200.
8. Telson TWC 1150
The Telson TWC 1150 beat smartphones and smartwatches to the market by a number of years. This all-in-one device first launched in 2004, and offered users all of the functions of a watch, a phone and a camera. Fastened directly onto your wrist, the strange piece of hardware came with built-in voice recognition, a planner and a detachable digital camera. It also came with an infrared earpiece so that you could keep your conversations private by not having to use the speakerphone. Despite weighing only 98 grams, it never really caught on with consumers.
7. Chinese Cigarette Phone
China is the most populated country in the world and hundreds of millions of those living in the Asian country are heavy smokers. A company took advantage of this fact by bringing out a mobile phone that looked exactly like a packet of ordinary cigarettes from the front, but from the back, it is clear that it is actually a mobile phone. With a price of $175, the phone is able to use microSD cards, play music with MP3 files and features a detailed color screen. You can even use it to keep your real cigarettes in, as the front opens up just like a genuine cigarette box does.
6. Toshiba G450
Toshiba released the G450 in 2008, with its unique design that set it apart from almost every other device available on the market at the time. The electronics company developed it as a combination of a USB modem dongle, and a more conventional mobile phone, which is why it looks so much like a USB stick. Unfortunately, its slim body and odd controls made it tricky to operate and it was severely limited as a phone thanks to the very small screen and lack of Bluetooth and other advanced features.
5. Bang & Olufsen Serene
The Serene mobile phone was a joint venture between the manufacturer of luxury televisions and audio products, Bang & Olufsen and Samsung. It had a distinctive circular keypad and an aluminum docking station that would allow users to rotate the display of the phone when placed on a table. The Serene also did not support custom ringtones, but rather came with three built-in tunes that were specifically composed to calmly attract the user to the fact they had call rather than alarm them with an alert. This designer phone came at a high price though, with stores selling it for $1,275.
4. Thunder Super Radio Hi-Fi
While the Thunder Super Radio Hi Fi never made it to any markets outside of Taiwan, it did feature at a CTIA show, allowing journalists to get a look at it. The device was an answer to the problem that plagued many who wanted to listen to music through their mobile phone. The small speakers that were standard in 2007 were just not capable of outputting sound in any decent form, so the solution here was to include a fully-fledged speaker on the reverse side of the phone, along with an FM/AM radio tuner.
3. Nokia ‘Green’ Phone
The Nokia ‘Green’ Phone, also known as the soda phone, was a concept device that was developed by Daizi Zheng. Physically, the mobile device looked remarkably like a test tube that you would typically find in a science lab, but this strange shape was a byproduct of the overall aim of the creator. Zheng wanted to create a mobile phone that would use an environmentally friendly bio-battery, rather than a lithium battery, which could be powered using soda poured into the opening at the top of the phone.
The 2009 CEATEC trade show saw Fujitsu introduce their prototype mobile phone, known as the Chamelephone. The product of designer Hiroyuki Tabuchi, the very small mobile phone is meant to be an aesthetically pleasing device that features a unique outer casing that attempts to mimic the surface it is resting on. Over time, the effects become more powerful so that the Chamelephone essentially becomes completely camouflaged. While the concept is certainly interesting, it would pose a serious problem of people losing their phones more regularly.
The Elfoid is a concept mobile phone that looks like a cross between a robot and a fetus. Its unique design was created so that, as well as transmitting the voice of the person you are talking to, it would also attempt to transfer emotions and your presence. A motion-capture system would take in your facial expressions and movements, then transfer them to the person you are calling by acting them out on the Elfoid’s body. It was initially revealed by Japanese professor, Hiroshi Ishiguro at a press conference in 2011, but has not yet become available commercially.