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Tech firms in World Cup profiteering shocker

Every four years we see a plethora of tech products inspired by the World Cup -- this year is no different. Here's a round-up of the best (worst?) we've seen so far

World Cup fever is in full effect and there are literally dozens of IT companies jumping on the bandwagon to shamelessly promote their products.

We can understand World Cup-themed football games (like the recently reviewed 2006 FIFA World Cup for Xbox 360), but you could be forgiven for thinking the planet's most prestigious soccer tournament was merely a great marketing opportunity for companies to dust off old products, adorn them with football stickers and celebrity endorsement, and flog them to gullible footy-obsessed idiots.

Among the perpetrators is laptop maker Flybook, which has just released its own unofficial England World Cup song to rival that of Embrace. It's set to the soundtrack of Peaches by the Stranglers, and although we're at pains to say it, it's actually better than the official England track. But that's not hard.

Next up is the Samsung E370 Three Lions Special Edition mobile phone from T-Mobile (pictured). It's exactly the same as the ordinary E370, but comes with a few England wallpapers, a few video clips and animations, and is endorsed by Liverpool's Peter Crouch. You can tell it's utterly awesome by the look on his face.

Keen not to be left by the World Cup wayside, BenQ-Siemens has announced its C75 Football Phone. Again, it's the same as the ordinary C75, but has a football game, a World Cup planner, an England lanyard and football 'charm', and some themed content that will make you want to smash the phone to pieces if England don't get to the final.

Finally, Lenovo, while not shamelessly using the World Cup to promote its goods, has hired the world's greatest footballer, Ronaldinho, as its brand ambassador. The company, holders of the rights to sell IBM Thinkpad products, said: "Ronaldinho's strengths in mobility, speed and his ability to connect with his team-mates perfectly reflect the strengths of the Lenovo 3000 series."

WTF? When will it end? -RR