The Mobile Phone News Awards for 2012

We’ll save you some time. You won’t find an award for Best Phone of 2012 here, nor will you see biggest screen, fastest processor or Best App Icon of the year. In fact, we’re not going to honour any of the year’s crowning technical achievements (and believe us, Best App Icon would have been a nail-biter), instead we’re concentrating on the trivial, the fatuous and the many PR disasters, ridiculous marketing campaigns and fails surrounding our favourite devices during 2012. Welcome then, to the fifth, annual Dialaphone Mobile News Awards.

2012‘s Most Gratuitous Use of a Celebrity.
Nominees: Apple’s Use of Zooey Deschanel, Microsoft’s Use of Jessica Alba and EE’s Use of Kevin Bacon.

A very hard fought category, where the winner was chosen by the severity of the physical reaction it caused. Apple’s shameful exploitation of Zooey Deschanel’s supposedly kooky character in her Siri ad caused a nasty rash, while bile gathered in the back of our throats during Steve Ballmer and Joe Belfiore’s slightly awkward exchange with Jessica Alba at the Windows Phone 8 event. However, nothing could match the pain of watching acclaimed actor Kevin Bacon talking about, then morphing into a clone of intergalactic morons Jedward for EE.

The Winner: EE and Kevin Bacon, both of whom should be thoroughly ashamed.

The Neverending Story – Formerly the “Oh, Just Give it a Rest” Award for the Story That Wouldn’t Die.
Nominees: Facebook Phone, iPhone 5, Everybody Suing Everybody Else.

Whilst performing some of the endless research that goes into carefully crafting an awards article such as this, we happened to check who won what last year, and shockingly found the stories that wouldn’t die last year refused to die this year too. The iPhone 5 (released as the iPhone 4S last year) has been one of this year’s major news stories, and the Facebook phone is still a topic of conversation despite its existence repeatedly being denied. Apple has continued to sue the tech world too. As each of these stories are still “newsworthy” this year, no other candidates had a chance, although the iPad Mini gave it a good try. Last year, the winner was the iPhone 5, can it do it again? No, there is one other nominee which is far more deserving this year.

The Winner: The Facebook Phone. Zuckerberg says it’s not coming, but nobody cares.

2012’s Biggest Waste of a Good Idea.
Nominees: Intel’s Medfield, Google’s Purchase of Motorola, HTC’s PlayStation Certification.

Intel’s Medfield system-on-a-chip was supposed to challenge ARM’s supremacy in the mobile processor market, but with only a handful of phones made using it, Intel has so far conquered nobody. In May, Google paid $12bn for Motorola Mobility, and everybody was quietly hopeful about the long-standing company’s future. Instead, Google has enjoyed reading all its new patents, and Motorola hasn’t even announced a new phone with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. HTC has added PlayStation Mobile for some of its top-end smartphones, not that you’d know, as it has stayed almost completely silent about this potentially fun new feature.

The Winner: Intel’s Medfield. <Brando> It coulda been a contender! </Brando>

The Prince Award 2012.
Nominees: EE, Huawei Ascend D Quad, Will.i.am’s i.am+ foto.sosho C.4

Our Prince Award is given to those who don’t seem to get that choosing a name for a company or product is fairly important, and takes lots of clever people in a room many days to get right. Everything Everywhere wasn’t the best of names in the first place, but with the launch of 4G came EE, an even worse name and the need to provide a guide to its pronunciation should have been the warning sign EE’s bosses needed. As for Huawei, did nobody say the D Quad’s name out loud before release? It’s dick wad, and once you’ve heard it, you can never forget it. As poor as these two are, this year has produced a stunning winner that’s as ridiculously punctuated as it is utterly meaningless.

The Winner: Will.i.am’s i.am+ foto.sosho C.4

Crisis? What Crisis? A Special Award for Those Not Facing Tough Economic Times.
Nominees: Instagram, Will.i.am’s i.am+ foto.sosho range, Apple

Worried about economies and currencies crumbling? Well don’t, as Will.i.am has launched a range of iPhone cases which cost up to £300 and make the phone look a bit more like a camera. Moving up the scale, this year Facebook spent $1bn on Instagram, a social network that hasn’t made any money and seemingly has no idea on how to do so in the future either. Finally, in August Apple became the most valuable company in the world with a valuation of $620bn, and launched the £260 iPad Mini, its idea of a “cheap” tablet. It’s impossible to have any other winner.

The Winner: Apple.

2012’s Biggest Shock.
Nominees: EE’s 4G, Apple iPad Mini, Jolla

Who would have though 4G LTE would get a 2012 release in the UK? It’s almost good enough to forgive EE its barmy new name; except it’s not, as the tariffs came very close to being included in our Crisis, What Crisis award. Apple also did the almost unthinkable: It reacted to the success of another product – the 7-inch Android tablet gang – and produced the iPad Mini, an expensive entry into the cheap tablet market. Finally, Finnish start-up has given Nokia’s abandoned MeeGo OS another shot at life, and it looks pretty good. Perhaps its first phone will turn up in this category next year?

The Winner: EE’s 4G LTE. For its cheeky manipulation of Ofcom.

The “Throw Me a Rope” Award for Those Circling the Abyss.
Nominees: Research in Motion, Nokia and HTC.

Research in Motion is a previous, proud winner of this category, proving just how strong the rope we cast out really is; while Nokia is a previous nominee, which proves winning means absolutely nothing. RIM is about to have its big comeback moment with the release of BlackBerry 10 in the new year, while Nokia is producing one of the best Windows Phone 8 handsets available. HTC is our newcomer, and despite coming up with the One X+ and the Droid DNA, has seen its market share obliterated by Samsung. It’s equally in need of a good 2013 as the other two.

The Winner: HTC.

Most Over-the-Top Event of 2012.
Nominees: Google I/O, Samsung’s Galaxy S III Launch, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 Event.

It’s not just Apple holding chaotic press events anymore, as all the major manufacturers put together shows worthy of Broadway during 2012. Samsung’s Galaxy S III event was long and arduous, but suitably glitzy, while Microsoft littered its Windows Phone 8 launch with celebrity appearances. However, the gong goes to Google, as it showed off its Project Glass spectacles with the assistance of skydivers, abseilers and a mountain bike team. It was as awesome as it was ridiculous.

The Winner: Google. Can anyone beat skydivers?

Word of the Year 2012.
Nominees: Phablet, Tabphone, Disrupt.

Phablet, a portmanteau so awful that it causes stomach spasms, describes crossover devices such as the Galaxy Note, as does the lesser and perhaps even more unpleasant Tabphone. Both of these are hideous creations, but our final nominee is toe-curling in the extreme, particularly because it’s used by smug types who describe themselves as ‘something big in new media’ at dinner parties. It’s impossible to split them, as none of our nominated words should be uttered by human life ever again.

The Winner: It’s a tie, as Phablet, Tabphone and Disrupt are all equally hateful.

2012’s Biggest Mobile Fail
Nominees: Apple Maps, RIM’s Wake Up Ad Campaign, Sony Tablet S.

Sony launched its Tablet S in the summer, but swiftly took it off sale after it was found to be susceptible to water damage. Fine, you may think, gadgets rarely survive encounters with the wet stuff. Except the Tablet S was promoted as being splash proof. Whoops. Research in Motion had a difficult time with its Wake Up flash-mob style advertising campaign, where gangs of people chanted, “wake up” outside Apple stores in Australia. However, everyone thought it was Samsung behind the campaign, eventually leading to the South Korean company denying it was their doing, but not until it had enjoyed all the free publicity. Poor RIM. Finally, Apple got rid of Google Maps in iOS 6 and replaced it with its own Apple Maps, which was almost comically awful. Blogs were dedicated to its numerous fails and eventually, heads inside Apple rolled for bringing out a substandard product.

The Winner: Apple Maps. What else?

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