And the worst mobile phone of all time is… the iPhone! Nah, just kidding. Love or hate the iJobs, there have been scores of infinitely worse handsets over the years, the kind of phone you feel embarrassed to whip out in public, and has you counting the days till your next upgrade.
Or, as in the case of my Motorola Z8, had me reaching for my supposedly-inferior, two-year-old Sony Ericsson.
I had a few handsets in mind when I started composing this feature, but after scratching the surface it became apparent that one article couldn’t contain the various monstrosities of the mobile world. As such, I dub this part one of, erm, several. And be sure to let us know your most-hated phones of all time, Mobotniks.
Here, in no particular order (although upon reflection it might be vaguely alphabetical... almost), are five of the worst phones ever to grace our fair planet.
Bang & Olufsen Serene
Art is subjective. Some people would look at the Bang & Olufsen Serene and consider it a thing of genuine technological beauty, while others would keel over laughing. The phone was unique, that’s for sure.
The Bang & Olufsen Serene adopted a circular keypad, somewhat akin to the iPod. It also placed the screen below said keypad, supposedly to stop it from getting smudged by your manky, unwashed face. In a move of utter madness, the camera was positioned on the side of the phone, making it impossible to line up a photo with the on-screen viewfinder.
As if it wasn’t impractical enough, accessing the SIM card and battery compartment required a special screwdriver. Fantastic.
And, on top of all that, the phone retailed at over $1,000 – that’s around £700 in Brit-money. You want one, don’t you?
Dual-LCD Cellphone by Hong Jeong
Seok Hong Jeong is a probably-insane inventor from Korea. Revealed at the Seoul International Invention Fair in 2006, his Dual-LCD Cellphone was intended to enhance web browsing and multimedia with – you guessed it – two screens. One of the screens could be folded away allowing the phone to take on a regular candybar shape.
The idea is reminiscent of the Nintendo DS, which has one touchscreen and a second screen for display only. But while the Nintendo DS is one of the best-selling consoles of all time, Seok Hong Jeong’s monstrous beast of a phone never saw the light of day. Judging by the photographs, it’s not hard to imagine why.
F88 Wrist Watch Mobile Phone
China’s CEC Corp specially developed this watch/phone for a famous Chinese ping-pong player. The F88 Wrist Watch Mobile Phone was worn around the wrist like a watch, but had a whack of mobile-style features.
It had a built-in microphone, speakerphone, voice dialling, four minutes of voice recording, built-in games, an alarm clock and a 3MP camera. Bizarrely, the keypad was located on the strap of the phone.
Like the Bang & Olufsen Serene, the retail price was in the almost-£1,000 region.
HP iPAQ H6315
To be fair, the HP iPAQ H6315 did receive some favourable reviews, but we're sure you'll agree that it looks fairly hideous. The Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 phone was most notable for its detachable QWERTY keyboard.
The HP iPAQ H6315 still worked without the detachable QWERTY, though the on-screen keyboard realistically demanded use of a stylus and magnifying glass.
Firefly – “The mobile phone for mobile kids”. These phones are as cheap as they look. Somewhere between a tacky handheld LCD game and a proper mobile phone for grown-ups, the Firefly lights up when it rings, ensuring maximum embarrassment for kids sitting in a room full of bratty young iPhone owners.
Particularly mean parents could further torture their sons with the pink Supergirl edition.
You can read more about the Firefly in best-selling* book How to Make Your Kids Resent You for the Rest of Their Lives.
*and entirely made-up