When I was in high school, my brother had a flip phone with an incredibly awesome (but arguably unnecessary) feature: If you pressed a button, the screen turned into a mirror. Not just a blank screen, mind you, but a blank screen with a distinctively reflective surface.
I’m not sure why this particular bit of Japanese voodoo technology never managed to make its way to the U.S., especially when you consider all the crazy phone features that did manage to get approved on this side of the pond. A pocket mirror is much more useful than a feature that adds sound clips to your still photos, wouldn’t you agree?
Check out these ridiculous smartphone features that nobody ever asked for (but were foisted upon us all the same).
If you need more screen space but you don’t want a bigger screen, how about two screens? That’s what the makers of the Kyocera Echo and the YotaPhone 2 thought, anyway. I’m shocked this hasn’t caught on.
Remember Samsung’s Smart Scroll? The face-tracking feature that scrolled pages automatically when your eyes trailed near the bottom of the page? Because a phone that tracks your every miniscule movement is exactly what people want.
Let’s make phones even harder to hold onto by curving the screen! Great idea, LG. Great idea.
Watching movies on your smartphone’s tiny screen is no fun at all. But what if your phone had a built-in…projector? The Samsung Galaxy Beam had a mini projector built right into the top. Too bad its battery life couldn’t exactly keep up with the tiny, dim, super low-res projector.
Selfies often lack context, but dual-camera mode—a feature that lets you take a photo with the front and rear camera at the same time—gives all your selfies context. Because it's really important that your Instagram followers know what you were looking at when you took that selfie.
Or is it just a way to pretend to take a selfie while creepily taking a photo of that hottie in the corner?
Sound & Shot
Sound & Shot is another feature that gives your photos context. Featured on the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sound & Shot allowed you to take a photo and record a short sound clip that would play every time you viewed the picture. That’s what everybody wants…right?
And of course, that sound clip doesn't follow the photo when you share it on social media, so nobody else ending up hearing it, anyway.
Samsung’s Group Play feature (also on the Galaxy S4) was billed as a way to share music with your friends (on their S4s, naturally). For some reason, Samsung tried to push the idea that you could play music over your phone’s speakers simultaneously. In other words, you could make some sort of surround-sound system with your friend’s phones. Because, you know, smartphones are known for their high-quality speakers.
Blow to Unlock
When you go to unlock your phone, do you ever think “Gee, I wish I could just blow on this instead of swiping or entering a password?” If so, Micromax understands you. That’s why the Micromax Canvas 4 offered a cool, totally convenient (and ridiculously insecure) “Blow to Unlock” feature. Oh, and if you don’t have a Micromax Canvas 4, you can always just download the app.
Motorola clearly thought the built-in kickstand on the back of its Photon 4G would give it an edge over the competition. What will all those kickstandless people do when they want to prop their phone up on their desk and watch a movie? Oh, right, buy a $30 kickstand case.
If you really want to see stuff in 3D while you’re using your mobile phone, may I suggest…looking up at the world around you?