Smartphones may have adopted something of a uniform look in the last few years, with just a few variations in colour and styling on a form factor that remains quite constant. However, this isn’t always the case, and some handsets have gone to market with some very unusual appearances.
Either harking back to the early smartphone days before shapes and sizes became more standardised or hailing from markets outside of the western world, we take a look at some of the strangest smartphones we’ve ever seen.
C99 Star Phone
The C99 Star Phone is one of the strangest handsets we’ve ever seen, and seemingly one that was designed with more of an emphasis on novelty than ergonomics. Available on the Chinese market, the smartphone boasts a 1.8-inch display and 600mAh battery.
What the handset does have is a jewelled edging and the contoured shape of a starfish on the back, just in case that’s what you’re after in a smartphone.
sWaP Nova EC107
Another one hailing from China, the sWaP Nova EC107 is an unusual device that can be plugged straight into a computer’s USB socket for charging. Its makers, Shenzen Hop Industrial, apparently have certificates from the Guinness Book of World records that prove the handset is the world’s smallest mobile phone.
With a 2-inch screen and weighing just 40.3g, the device is certainly tiny, and we have no idea what it would be like trying to type a text message with the onscreen keypad.
Golden Buddha Phone
The clamshell form factor is taken to extremes here, and given a spiritual theme. A retail price of around $1,750 may seem steep, but the handset comes with a piece of jade embedded in its bodywork, which somewhat explains the hefty cost.
A Buddha-themed UI also sits on top of the device’s software, adding to the theme, and the smartphone is reported to feature a ‘virtual prayer room’ as well.
While many of the devices on this list are oddities that have never been widely available, the Motorola Flipout made it to the UK and was reviewed by Dialaphone back in 2010. We commented on its unusual form factor then, and are even more alarmed by it today.
Featuring a full touchscreen that is almost square, the handset takes its name from the physical keypad which flips out from behind the screen. Featuring Android 2.1 and a 3.15 megapixel camera the device’s specs may be a little lacking, but its form factor could well have been very convenient indeed.
If you want to know more about some of the incredible things that people have used phones for over the years, take a look at our run downs of the most historic phone calls ever made and most famous text messages ever sent.