What? Weird Tech. Where? Mobile World Congress. Why? Um…
Consumer technology is an employer of hit and trial. Tech companies seldom innovate to solve problems anymore. They innovate to refine, reinvent, and often just simply brag about their latest and greatest. For every great idea and execution, there lie dozens, if not hundreds, of devices that didn’t make the cut. Successful manufacturers learn from the mistakes of their peers and as nihilistic as it may sound, every tech success is built on the graveyard of the countless others that tried and failed.
Some good, some bad, some ugly. MWC 2019 saw the unveiling of all kinds of technology. Whether or not these devices are successes or failures will be determined by the test of time. But their irreverence is apparent. Here’s a list of 2019 tech nobody asked for.
Running out of Reasons
The Mobile World Congress has seen its fair share of wacky tech but none was as ridiculous and over-the-top as Nubia’s Alpha watch phone.
Props to Nubia for quite literally bending a 4-inch display to the frame of a watch band to wrap around your wrist. And BOY, is the Alpha ugly.
Labelled unnecessary, overpriced and hideous by consensus, the software wasn’t much respite— being so terrible that most were left wondering why the Alpha even exists.
In a technology era where manufacturers are running out of reasons to jam a SIM card slot in anything and everything, the Alpha is the perfect example of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Nubia is really blowing the trumpet for a wearable that’s dysfunctional and looks extremely gaudy, but if for some reason you do not care you can have at it when it launches in April for $500+.
From Bricked Phones to Brick Phones
Energizer, a battery manufacturer, is now taking their jab at making smartphones and a whole bunch of them, too. Among them is one of the most interesting devices brought to the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona: The Energizer Power Max P18K Pop 18,000mAh battery phone.
Ridiculous naming aside, the phone is actually an interesting device. Its flagship feature, the battery, weighs in at 18,000mAh — roughly seven times the capacity of the 2,659mAh battery in the iPhone XS.
Aside from the fat shaming, a 6.2-inch notch-less screen, a triple, 12/5/2-megapixel rear camera, a dual, 16/2-megapixel pop-up camera, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage are the more normal-seeming features on the handset. The Fatboy of Smartphones runs Mediatek’s Helio P70 chip and comes with Android 9.0.
Energizer also makes the Ultimate U620S Pop, with identical specifications but a more conventional battery. And this device is half the price of its beefier cousin, which reduce owning the big brother to a novelty.
On the flip side, the P18K could be quite useful — its battery probably goes on for days if not weeks. If you can look past the giant footprint and a heavy 400g+ weight and have absolutely enormous hands, this might be the phone for you. No judgement.
It’s 2019. Now, every tech company is rushing to release their own foldable device this year to compete with the Mate X and Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, TCL, which you may have known for its excellent TVs, is taking a different approach. Not better, just… different.
While folding your phone like cash might not have been on your bucket list, it might end up being there soon. TCL’s patented Dragonhinge aims to enable a whole family of folding devices. The phone avoids creasing on the OLED by making sure the phone doesn’t fold flat, and while this just the prototype, fully working devices are expected in 2019.
Realistically, the DragonHinge doesn’t look like much right now. But just like the dragons in Game of Thrones, perhaps we’ll know better by Winter.