There are no active ads.

Guess the Phone: The First Truly Successful Monster Phone

by Brandon Russell | August 3, 2013August 3, 2013 12:00 pm PST

At some point the mobile industry hit a Twilight Zone crossroads, where suddenly smartphones and tablets were grotesquely merged into enormous plastic slabs. And it seemed like the worst idea ever, like manufacturers were running out of ideas. But it wound up being like the second coming—and it’s essentially become the standard many other devices follow today. Go big, or go home; it’s exactly what people want.

Many people scratched their heads when this device was announced, unsure whether it was designed for pockets or duffle bags. Surely, the average consumer couldn’t possibly grip the thing—maybe a 7-foot-tall basketball player could, or a yeti. But it inexplicably sold. A lot. And it became more popular than it had any right to be. It was a surprise hit when it first launched. Historians still can’t explain it.

Here we are a few years later and devices of this size—or bigger—no longer surprise us. The company that made this mysterious handset has essentially blanketed the entire metric system by now, and if it hasn’t hit a specific size, you can bet a device covering it is on the way. That’s not to say devices that are larger are inherently bad, because they’re not—they’re obviously for a very specific type of user, someone who wants two separate segments in one.

All that is fine. The company who made this device took a big risk and was rewarded handsomely when this device launched. Its first attempt wasn’t actually considered among the best handsets at the time, but it stood out and had potential; the second iteration wound up being what it should have been all along, but bigger. Just wait until the third iteration hits later this year.

Last week’s Guess the Phone was the wonderful but flawed T-Mobile Sidekick 4G.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.