Over the years, I’ve seen a number of head-scratching gadgets that made me wonder, “What were they thinking?” Remember the Twitter Peak, a $99 3G device with a QWERTY keyboard that did nothing but send and receive tweets? How about the CueCat, a feline-shaped peripheral that scanned barcodes from magazines to save you from having to do all the work of typing a Web address into your PC?
Unfortunately, despite spending millions of dollars in research and development, tech companies continue to turn out not just products but whole product categories that make as much sense in today’s market as the Twitter Peak did in 2009’s mobile space. These are today’s worst offenders.
Despite the fact that you can usually find last month’s high-end flagship phones discounted for as little as a penny, handset-makers keep vomiting up so-called budget phones that launch at low prices but provide terrible specs. There’s absolutely no reason for these hobbled handsets to exist.
For example, just last week Sprint unveiled the Force, a $50 phone with an ugly design and 2011-era staples like a 4-inch, 800 x 480-pixel screen and Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Meanwhile, you can find a slightly older Galaxy S III with a 720p screen and quad-core CPU for just $.01 on Amazon. Even if a higher-end phone actually costs you $50 or even $150 more, it makes no sense to cheap out on a phone you pay $80 to $100 a month to get online and will still be using 20 months from now.