Little extras aren’t always a good thing and in this piece we look at a few of the worst bonus mobile offerings that we really wish companies hadn’t bothered with.
Following on from the interweb’s strong reaction to being unknowingly burdened with U2’s latest album, ‘Songs of Innocence’, we thought we’d take a look back at other ill-conceived bundled mobile ‘goodies’ that caused more distress than joy.
Total Recall – Sony Xperia Z1 & Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Whilst nobody can argue that free stuff isn’t awesome, sometimes we’re thankful we have a choice. In select markets, new Sony Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra owners were given the option to download five free movies from to company’s Video Unlimited service, but in truth we’d only ever want to hit play on four of them.
Sony Pictures’ 2012 reboot of Total Recall made an appearance in the roster of freebies, serving up a cold dollop of generic sci-fi action. Aside from squeezing a half-hearted three-boobed prostitute gag in early on, hoping to tug at our nostalgia-encrusted heartstrings, there’s little to suggest that this retelling is at all tied to the original movie. It does have one redeeming quality though; Bryan Cranston, he’s awesome.
Earphones/EarPods – Apple iPhone
It’s the standard affair to expect an inexpensive pair of buds with your smartphone, especially when, in the case of the iPhone, it boasts a pretty significant musical background. So with that in mind, why, oh why, were the original Apple earphones so god awful? Apple even included an inline microphone that they apparently expected us to talk to each other with, but that, like the earphones, produced sound quality comparable to sticking cotton wool in your ears and submerging your head into a tank of jelly whilst trying to have a conversation.
Clearly acknowledging the level of naff demonstrated by their original buds, the Apple team got serious and released the redesigned Apple EarPods alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012. Although we will admit, there’s definitely been an improvement; this fancy presentation video won’t be enough to convince us you’ve hit the problem on the head Apple. We’d even go as far as to purchase some 1st-generation Beats for a more enjoyable audio experience.
Charm – HTC Rhyme
Another one from 2012, HTC was on the up after the debut of the impressive (for its day) HTC Sensation and the arrival of the beefier Beats-laden Sensation XE just around the corner. In the lull HTC knew that it couldn’t just cater to the performance junkies; it needed a lifestyle offering and as a result the HTC Rhyme was born.
Attempting to be less condescending than many a failed device before it, the Rhyme was clearly aimed at the female market and came with a number of genuinely good accessories – like a speaker dock that turned the phone into a bedside clock, a colour-matched set of earphones along with a Bluetooth headset, and then there was the charm…
An awkward little cube designed to slot into the Rhyme’s headphone jack and then dangle on the outside of your handbag, the charm would blink to let you know when an incoming call or text had arrived. The inability to distinguish between types of notifications made it a less-than-useful extra and the long cable made it tricky to arrange in your bag without tangling. A nice idea that didn’t translate into reality that well in.
‘Don’t Contain Yourself’ song– Samsung Galaxy S2
Apple isn’t the only one known for dropping some questionable music offerings on its users. Those lucky enough to attend the launch of the Galaxy S2 back at Mobile World Congress in 2011 might remember one of Samsung’s many cheesy musical soundtracks pumping out during its presentation.
For those who missed out, the tune in question made its way to S2 handsets in select markets following a subsequent update to the phone, lucky us. ‘Don’t Contain Yourself’ can only be described as a syrupy-sweet, soulless tune that bores into your skull to slowly rot your brain from the inside. That is to say, it isn’t great.
If you think I’m being too harsh, have a listen and make your own mind up, but be warned – you can’t have the next three minutes of your life back once you hit ‘play’. (Click here if the player above isn’t working for you).
‘My Dior’ mini phone – Christian Dior phone
By 2008 the iPhone had already begun changing the shape of the mobile market, but for some it didn’t matter how smart your phone was, it was all about who made it. In partnership with ModeLabs – a company responsible for other luxury brand mobile crossovers like Tag Heuer – Christian Dior launched a range of exceptionally gaudy and hideously expensive clamshell mobile phones.
The starting price tag of around £2500 bought you a clamshell phone with a body hewn from hand-brushed 316 L stainless steel, diamonds and sapphire crystal, complete with a touch screen, 2GB of memory and 4 hours of talk time.
The My Dior acted like a Bluetooth handset (think HTC Mini or Alcatel OneTouch Sidekick 2 but much, much pricier) offering similar styling and built from the same precious materials just at a fraction of the size. Similarly to the Rhyme’s charm, the idea was that you kept the expensive phone in your bag and conversed using the, admittedly also expensive) My Dior. Should the phone and its little sibling stray too far from each other, the My Dior would also let out a cry so you could find it. Opulent? Absolutely. Excessive? Unbelievably. Useful? Not exactly…
Can you think of any other terrible pairings we’ve missed? Let us know about your least favourite mobile ‘extras’ in the comments below.