In the TV business, a hit TV show is said to "jump the shark" when it can no longer sustain the qualities that made it a hit in the first place, and so resorts to some sort of weird stunt in what is usually a failed effort to maintain fading ratings. This week, the cellphone business may have jumped the shark with two bizarre events. Last week, Sprint unwrapped the Kyocera-made Echo, a cell phone designed somewhat like a trundle bed. Echo looks like a thicker version of a regular slab cell, but the top 3.5-inch screen top flips up and over and clicks alongside a second 3.5-inch screen pancaked underneath to create a single 4.7-inch square screen with an eighth-inch bezel seam in the middle. One program can be run across both screens as if it were a single display, or each screen can run a separate, independent program. Then, today (Friday, February 11), and tomorrow, T-Mobile will give anyone who signs a two-year deal any phone in the store for free, including the carrier's $100 4G models. That's right — competition in the cellphone business has gotten to the point that T-Mobile has been prompted to actually give away its phones. These are unlikely to be isolated retail or product "jump the shark" incidents. We're sure to see more cell strangeness as the World Mobile Congress convenes next week in Barcelona, a potential Shark Week sans the Discovery Channel cameras, which we'll explore after our own jump.
Nokia's had a tough go of it the last few years, losing tons of market share in both the high end (to Apple and Google) and the low end (to Chinese manufacturers). Now, they're giving up on running their own mobile OS and are going to start selling Windows phones.
While most cellphone cameras are striving for more megapixels, a company called Pelican Imaging wants to use an array of 25 micro-cameras to not just take pictures, but also to apply HDR and even do 3D depth sensing.
In galaxy far far away, Obi-wan Kenobi once famously said, "these are not the droids you are looking for" — he's wrong, at least as far as INQ's Android-powered Facebook phone goes. Last month's accidental certification test leak revealed the INQ Cloud Touch, a smartphone with Facebook at its central core — now it's officially broken cover.
Softbank/a> already rules the streets of Japan as the only carrier of the iPhone, now the company hopes to lock in the preschool and senior citizen market with what may be the simplest phone in the world.
Most phones have one touchscreen. But apparently an upcoming phone from Sprint, the Kyocera Echo, will have two, according to a section of their website that has since been removed.
In light of all the banter about the Verizon iPhone 4, people are realizing that the phone element of the device is still vital despite our knack for texting and sending out tweets. Just5 specializes in cellphones that cut the smartphone mumbo jumbo and place focus back on voice calls with the Spacephone.
The Xperia Play, or PSP phone, has a lot going for it. It's a nice-looking Android Phone with a full set of slide-out gaming controls! That's awesome! But this new ad for it certainly doesn't sell its features.
British designer Philip Pearce's Flexiphone concept is a doozy. While the concept phone is anything but elegant, the idea that its battery can charge itself up in 30 seconds would be remarkable — not to mention a real life saver in many realistic situations.
With pretty much every smartphone platform set with its own robust Facebook app, one wonders just why the social network would want to release a dedicated Facebook phone. But that's just what's rumored to be coming.