Frankenphones and tablets from Mobile World Congress (pictures)
Waterproof, rugged, and downright quirky, these phones and tablets stand out from the crowd.
The quirky phones of MWC
Amid the run-of-the-mill Android, Firefox, and Ubuntu phones at Mobile World Congress, plenty of companies showed off phones that push the envelope, either with unique and quirky features, gargantuan sizes, or water-resistant coatings. We've rounded up some of the kookiest phones we found at MWC 2014, and we'll continue to update this list through the end of the show.
I'm calling the Samsung Galaxy S5 a Frankenphone because it stuffs a lot of different features into one small package, including, but not limited to, a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate monitor. It's also water-resistant, so it can go for a swim with you. Read more about the Galaxy S5 here.
These two tablets from Panasonic, the FZ-X1 and FZ-E1, can take a beating. They are waterproof, rugged, and can survive a 3-meter (9.8 feet) drop and keep on kicking. Both are meant to be used in warehouses and other industrial sites. The only difference between the two tablets is that the FZ-X1 runs Android, while the FZ-E1 runs the Windows Phone mobile operating system.
Though it looks like some kind of MP3 player with a wristband, this is actually a phone that you can strap to your arm for when you exercise. The Alcatel One Touch Pop Fit runs a modified version of Android and can do everything a regular phone can do, like surf the Web or make calls. However, the device is really geared for fitness, with Runkeeper preinstalled and JBL headphones included in the package.
When a typical smartphone's security measures just aren't enough, look to the Silent Circle Blackphone from Geeksphone. This Android-based device comes with tons of security features to keep your data and activity safe from prying apps. You get an almost-insane level of control over which apps can see what data on your phone, and the device won't track your usage at all.
This Huawei device is having an identity crisis. One the one hand, at 8 inches tall, the MediaPad M1 the size of a small tablet, like the Nexus 7 or the iPad Mini, on the other hand, it has an earpiece, phone dialer, and SIM card that with 4G LTE so you can make calls. You can actually hold this tablet-size device up to your head to talk on it like a phone, but don't be surprised if people mock you if you do.
It won't turn any heads with the younger set, but that's because the Yezz Andy AZ4.5 is an Android phone aimed at seniors. It has a special version of Android with large tiles that make it easy to place a phone call or search the Internet.
The Emporia Smart gets a shout-out here because it reminds me of a Palm Pilot with its stylus and large buttons on the front of the phone. It's also a bit quirky, thanks to an emergency call button on the back that can dial 911 or a preprogrammed number for a family member or friend with just one push.