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Worst Gadgets Ever, Episode 1: Kyocera Echo

By Michael Fisher October 2, 2012, 8:49 am

The world of mobile technology is one of the fiercest competitive markets ever. In the quest to stand out from the pack, some companies make bold moves and succeed brilliantly. Others are more meek and fade into the unexceptional background. Still others fill the space between, innovating once, then endlessly iterating over and over again.

Then there are those that just screw it all up. Thanks to choices that are either too bold, too meek, or just plain-old absolutely insane, these are the products that fall flat on their face. They’re not to be mocked, but the lessons they teach should certainly be remembered. 

That’s our goal with Worst Gadgets Ever: recalling some of mobile technology’s biggest blunders, acknowledging what the original intent was, and taking lessons from failures in execution.

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On this episode: Sprint‘s one-time pride, the “industry-first” Kyocera Echo. Announced during a February 2011 NYC event amid a fog of David Blaine magic -presumably to distract from the device’s wide array of shortcomings- the Echo was the precursor to today’s phablets. But instead of just expanding a smartphone’s dimensions until it creeped up on tablet territory, as with Samsung’s Galaxy Note, Kyocera employed dual screens connected by a hinge protected by six patents (pending).

Somewhere between all those patents, the thick bezel, aged Android build, and design characteristics of a child’s toy, the dream went awry for Kyocera and Sprint. So awry that, even in a world where misfit toys like the Optimus Vu and Padfone get sequels, we haven’t seen any indication of a follow-on to the calamity that was the Echo. Click the video below to see why, and stay tuned for more as we continue to plumb the depths of the Worst Gadgets Ever.

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