It's the mobile phone's 40th anniversary! Here's 10 of the weirdest

3 April 2013

On the 3rd April 1973, a Motorola employee Martin Cooper made a call in New York on a Motorola DynaTAC, and lo, the first public mobile phone call was made. It was a brick of a thing, standing 9 inches tall, took 10 hours to charge and had 30 circuit boards inside it.

It was crap. However, it was a huge technological moment and soon enough, everyone would have one and the mobile industry grew to taking £800bn annually and talking and texting was the last thing anyone wanted to use their phones for.

However, along the way, some developments and modern designs have been laughable. So, instead of cooing about mobile technology's greatest achievements, let us look at the howlers that have graced the mobile world.

Virgin Lobster 700


Just look at that monstrosity. And it isn't as old as you think. This rascal was released in 2006 and was sold as something you could watch TV on. Alas, the phone was too ugly to love, despite impressive spec. And it had a stupid name.

Motorola Flipout


There was a period when phone designers went mad, trying to incorporate QWERTY keyboards into their handsets. The Flipout hoped that we'd all embrace a swivelling box, but alas, it was a minger.

Begin GT Ferrari


Technology and luxury brands always team-up to make awful contraptions and this dreadful piece of kit highlights that notion admirably. Begin Digital's GT basically rammed a phone inside a Matchbox toy and sprayed it gold so you'd think it was super fancy. It had a nice FM radio, but alas, if you had one of these attached to your ear, you'd be rightly pecked to death by magpies.

Bang and Olufsen Serene


While Bang & Olufsen make exceedingly lovely audio equipment, they don't have form with phones. The Serene was designed to look like something an executive would want and would set you back $1,250 on launch. Sadly, it didn't take off because it was nauseatingly ugly.

Golden Buddha Phone


A religious phone! Let us look at it. Grim yellow gold clam shell, with a waving Buddha and nice Swastika in the centre. It also had a virtual prayer room feature built-in. Can't think why this wasn't a smash worldwide!

C99 Star phone


The round-edged rectangle has served the mobile industry well, so you have to wonder why anyone would bother making a phone that looks like a robot starfish. It may seem fun, but it would surely be an ergonomic nightmare?

F88 Wrist Phone


With Samsung and Apple looking at making smartwatches, they'd be well advised to check out the F88 Wrist Phone and make sure they make something that looks nothing like it.

sWaP Nova EC107

swap nova

At 40.3g, this is a very light handset. It is so small that you can pop it into a Micro SD slot. It has a two-inch touchscreen too! However, if you've taken a little drink of an evening, chances are, you'll end up losing this phone down your ear or you'll swallow it while talking to someone, should you be able to focus on such a tiny screen in the first place.



Probably the most distressing mobile phone ever made, the Elfoid, wanted to make phone communication more 'human'. By 'human', the makers clearly meant 'robotic foetus-esque'.

Jinpeng A1308 love heart handset


Aaaw! The Jinpeng A1308 Dual-band Dual-Card Cell Phone looks like a heart! Imagine showing the world how much love you have via your weirdly infantile device! The only good thing about this monstrosity is that no-one would ever want to mug you for it.

Feel free to share your own weird and ugly mobile phones in the comments.

TOPICS:   Technology   Mobile


  • mikeypop
    In before someone hilarious says "Shouldn't iPhones be on this list?".... I remember being tempted by one of those lobster things when they were sold off dirt cheap - odd looking, but some interesting tech inside at the time. What about that Nokia N-Gage gaming phone thing that you held sideways for talking? That was a very bad idea!
  • Sawyer
    These might be the extreme end of the spectrum, but it's a shame we don't see unusual designs in the phone shops any more. I remember flip-style BlackBerrys, rotating Samsungs with two rows of keys (instead of three), and 'fashion' Nokias with little fabric tags in funky colours. Nowadays phone shops are just a wall of 4-inch touchscreens, differentiated only by spec and OS. Where's the fun gone?
  • The F.
    I'm here.
  • Gordon B.
    Pretty sure that 'sWaP' phone is far too big to fit into a micro SD slot ...
  • Lemon
    Moto FLipout was impressive, and popular in the states, it shouldnt be on the list The Haier P5 pen phone should be
  • Mr M.
    Never heard of the flipout but it looks pretty good to me if you were a blackberry type nonce.
  • Old G.
    As opposed to the iPhone wielding nonce? Or the Samsung wielding nonce?
  • Jokester
    The Buddha phone does NOT have a swastika on it - it has a symbol of peace. Do your research lol
  • airline c.
    Hi there! I simply want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice data you have here on this post. I will probably be coming back to your blog for more soon.

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