Every so often we run across a phone that never got to see the light of day: from concepts that failed to materialize to handsets with complete marketing campaigns which must have been killed only days or weeks from release. We thought it would be fun to share a few of these, both because they’re an interesting piece of cellphone history, but also because they may still shed light on features and design aspects that we can possibly expect from these companies. Does Nokia want to wirelessly tether your handset to a keyfob to keep you from losing it? Is LG planning a phone that doubles as a Wii-like gaming console? Probably not, but we love seeing manufacturers push the conceptual envelope, even if the resulting product — like the Kyocera Echo — doesn’t exactly live up to expectations.
Nokia Nautilus S
Created by the same designer who helped craft Nokia’s new Care font, the Nautilus seems defined by two innovative features: a so-called “z-pop” speaker which is revealed by expanding the phone along the z-axis, and a bundled keychain which sounds an alarm should it move beyond a certain range of the device. Besides the leather back — likely tipping this as a premium model — we’re reminded somewhat of the company’s Symbian^3-powered C7 here, although this could just as easily pass for an HTC product, at least based on the curves of the face. With a slightly bigger screen and some Windows Phone buttons on the front, we think that Nokia could have a winner here.
This was meant to be the first Android device on AT&T, going under the name HTC Lancaster. Sporting an MSM7225 chipset from Qualcomm and a QVGA screen, Memphis was basically a QWERTY-equipped version of the HTC Click (codenamed Bahamas in the image above). Billed internally as a “consumer social messaging device,” Memphis/Lancaster never did see the light of day, a fate that also may be in store for the HTC Paradise — another entry-level Android slider supposedly destined for AT&T. P.S. Can anyone identify the HTC “Stone” pictured above?
The idea of having a multimedia dock for a smartphone was fairly unique when the LG Monterey was conceived in 2009, with the Motorola Atrix only recently bringing docks into vogue. What is not yet commonplace, even with the gaming-focused Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, is a handset which enables motion-controlled gameplay when docked only to seamlessly continue the experience on the device screen upon removing the phone from the cradle. Other aspects of Monterey do seem dated — smallish screen, physical buttons, Eclair — but overall it seems to do well at foretelling a trend being actively pursued by many manufacturers (think: media links and HDMI ports) of embedding phones more deeply into our daily activities.
Bonus: Motorola RAZR X
Reportedly intended to be the followup to the RAZR2, it’s not at all clear what happened to the RAZR X. It was obviously far enough along in production to have a full microsite complete with celebrity designers and their remixed versions of the handset.