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Modular phones, dual screens, 3D anything. Risky designs are there to gain an edge. But, uh, they don't always work.
Take modularity, for instance. LG's G5 and its snap-on parts sold so poorly, the LG G6 goes back to basics.
Google also effectively shuttered its Ara project for modular phones in September 2016. This prototype from phone maker Yezz illustrated how the swappable parts would work.
Another Yezz concept highlighted how customizable Ara was meant to be.
That leaves Lenovo's Moto Z line, which uses magnets to snap on additional parts, like this camera Mod.
While Lenovo is promising up to 12 new Mods a year, it's the last modular effort standing. This trend isn't looking too successful so far.
Before phones took growth pills, the trend went the other way. Microsoft's embarrassingly short-lived Kin One was just too damn small.
Palm, and later its HP owner, also got the memo too late. The HP Veer 4G's 2.6-inch display made e-mail impossible to read.
The Kyocera Echo folded like a book to double your screen size, but had a rangy seam down the middle. Oh, and full-screen mode only worked for some apps.
LG tried putting a screen within a screen in the LG Doubleplay, but breaking up the keyboard flustered and confused us.
We didn't mind the Samsung DoubleTime's thickness, and the inner screen was useful. Too bad it started life with dated, low-end specs.
YotaPhone took a different approach by putting an e-ink display on the back. Cool in theory, but the phone had too many flaws.
The modern adaptation, seen in the LG V20, puts a small, slim second display on top of the first. It works fine, but isn't especially helpful.
HTC's upcoming U Ultra follows suit. We won't know if its AI-triggered notifications screen helps or hinders until we can test the phone.
Like HTC, LG's Thrill 4G tried to introduce 3D games that nobody wound up playing.
3D photos, videos and screens had the briefest spark, but never caught. The HTC Evo 4G's rear-facing camera shot 3D HD video.
Amazon's ill-fated Fire Phone had tons of front cameras to help make a more advanced (but still gimmicky) 3D screen.
Dual cameras don't necessarily mean 3D. Double lenses help add depth to 2D photography, which is why they're becoming a take-off trend.
The sad truth is that kickstands never really caught on. They were there for a while, and then they weren't. Which is too bad. They're functional, but kept falling flat. (P.S. This is the HTC Evo 4G LTE.)
That said, we're happy when they pop up from time to time, like in this recent snap-on JBL speaker Mod for the Moto Z phones.
Did buyers "like" the HTC Status (globally known as the Cha Cha)? They did not.
Two years later, the midrange HTC First targeted the your market with Facebook Home's skin. It went on a huge sale shortly after.
In 2011, the Motorola Atrix 4G was a powerful phone you could connect to an expensive and limited laptop dock.
Essentially, the phone becomes the dock's CPU. Motorola's rig also supported the Droid Bionic.
Asus did something similar with its Padfone family, like this Padfone X. This had a better slotting system for its tablet portion.
You could turn the phone into a tablet and a tablet into a laptop -- of sorts. The Padfone just couldn't compete against rival phones.
You probably don't remember WiMax, but it was the first 4G of any kind in the US, and Sprint used it first. It quickly lost out to LTE on a global scale.
"Facebook phones" with dedicated buttons and skins -- like the HTC Salsa -- failed to make a dent.
You could also use it on a monitor alone. It was laggy and buggy.
Microsoft's Lumia 950 used a different dock setup to create a mobile workstation using mobile social and productivity apps.