Mobile Phones of the Past. The Good. The Bad and the Damn Right Ugly.
It is of no surprise that designers have made several attempts to produce eye-catching mobile phone designs to corner the market and make design history. In the quest to do this, there have been some strange, odd and – on occasion – outright horrible designs. We have rounded up the strangest for your delights. Some of these ideas actually came into fruition (we promise), while others never saw the light of day yet still inspired some of the more recent developments in the mobile phone industry, think the iPad, iWatch…
Mobile Script Phone Concept
This phone tried to tap into larger screen / television remote control idea and is by far one of the most ambitious phone concept design ever made. You might be thinking that it looks more like an iPhone parody but it was in fact a genuine mobile phone concept design proposed for development and commision. The design includes a flexible OLED screen that will enable users to see more of their screen and the screen is also retractable. Whats more, this phone was to be solar powered, you wouldn’t need to plug in the phone for it to be charged just sit in the sun.
The Slap Bracelet Phone
This is a novel 90’s creation. The so called “slap bracelet” where the phone is made of shape-memorizing rubber as well as a flexible screen. This was one of the first ventures into ‘wearable technologies’ and it meant that you had your phone on you all the time. It also means you won’t send endless hours looking for your phone or accidentally forget your phone in the back of a cab after a long night out.
Nokia Soda Phone (That IS a phone NOT test tube…)
This novel concept came from a Finnish phone manufacturer that is well known for its simple phone designs. However, this one is slightly confusing. The idea is that instead of panicking when your phone is almost out of juice and trying to find the nearest electric port or having a portable charging device handy you just need to buy a can of coke. That’s right, this mobile phone (which looks like a test tube) uses energy from carbonated soft drinks and converts it to battery power through its uniquely designed chemical board.
Brick / Natural of ‘Weed’ Phone
This concept we produced by designer Je-Hyun Kim who wanted to add a natural phone to the market. The result must be every hippie’s dream come true. The phone looks like a brick of weed and given that this substance is banned in most countries it is unlikely this weird mobile phone design will ever see the light of day. It may well be good for the environment but judging by how easily it breaks (as shown in the picture) this phone is also probably the least durable phone ever made. Particularly worrying if you’re the type of person that accidently sits on their phone or drop it on concrete every now and then.
The Golden Buddha Phone
This monstrosity made its way onto China’s mobile market several years ago. It was designed to appeal to the new rich who were looking for a flashy device that looked like nothing else on the market. The Zen device comes with a a glossy 24 karat gold coating, pearl powder lacquer and included an actual piece of jade. All of which make the $1,750 price slightly easier to swallow, perhaps?
A Watch + Phone Before the iWatch
Yes, there was attempts to create a smart watch long before Apple came into the mobile phone market. For instance, models like this F88 Wrist Watch PhoneModern was produced by China Electronics Corporation. it packed in a ton of features and yes, you could make and receive calls on the device. However, it was also very chunky and awkward to use, not something you would really want to be strapped to your wrist all day. Sadly this meant it didn’t get much traction in the market and become another shelved idea.
This Was A Real Phone, We Swear!
There was a time when Nokia pretty ruled the mobile phone market and as part of their attempt to come out with cutting edge designs and maintain their competitive advantage in the mobile industry this phone was produced. The Nokia 7600 hit stores back in 2003 and there was a trend smaller phones for a while but that trend ran out of steam very quickly .
Now we all know that it is already really easy to lose your phone so why anyone thought a using a chameleon as the basis for a mobile phone design is beyond me. This mobile has the has the ability to automatically take on the colour of wherever it is placed and and mimic the texture of it surrounding. Still trying to work out the logic of why this is appealing.. ? So am I, but you do have to admit that the little cube designs are very cute and unlike anything else that has ever been available on the mobile phone market.
Starfish Diamond Phone
You might be thinking that this is a tacky bathroom radio but you’d be wrong. This phone is shaped in the fashion of a star fish and encrusted faux diamonds. I really can’t work out the practicalities of the shape and why the fake diamonds are so necessary but it certainly set to stand out in a crowd if nothing else, right?
The Nokia 888
The Nokia 888 was Nokia’s attempt to make a big splash into the smartphone market by offering a mobile phone that differs from all other phone in terms of its flexibility. This was supposed to appeal to adolescents and young adults and the Nokia 888 would be available in a variety of formats. The idea is that you can change the shape to make it smaller and say, fit it your pocket or wrap it around your wrist like a piece of jewellery.