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May 13, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:25am

The 5 weirdest hybrid phones ever made

Proof that innovation does not always equal beauty.

By Vinod

The mobile market is an extremely crowded one, with a wide selection of devices and manufacturers all fighting to get noticed. Often the best way to stand out is to offer something truly unique, such as eye-catching extra features or options. However sometimes this can go a bit over the top, as shown here with some of the oddest devices ever devised…

Samsung K Zoom

Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

Putting cameras into smartphones has completely revolutionised the mobile market, with a device’s photo taking capabilities now a major USP for many consumers. However Samsung decided to take this idea and move it forwards just a tad too much, grafting a full-sized camera onto the back of a Galaxy smartphone to create the slightly bulge-y Zoom. The most recent, the Galaxy K Zoom, released last month, features a 20.2MP camera with 10x zoom capabilities, more than many of us would ever need, but will certainly make you stand out in a crowd.

Nokia 7380

Nokia 7380

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Nokia has a bit of a track record when it comes to designing odd-looking devices, and the 7380 may be one of the oddest. Released in 2005 as part of the "L’Amour Collection", the 7380, which resembled a tube of lipstick, was one of several attempts by Nokia to target the fashion sector, featuring a leather back, metal body, and a highly reflective screen which could double as a mirror. The 7380 did have one especially noteworthy feature – its ‘sensory navigation key’, similar to an iPod touchwheel, substituted for a conventional keypad, allowing users to call, text, or surf the web.

Garmin Nuvifone G60

Garmin Nüvifone G60

Before Google Maps took over and dominated the entire mapping industry, there were a range of sat-nav companies enjoying major revenues. One of them, Garmin, decided to get into the booming smartphone market, and in April 2009 released the Nüvifone, developed in partnership with Asus. However, the 3G touchscreen device, which was essentially a sat-nav unit with the ability to make calls, sank without a trace upon release, before being discontinued in October 2010.

Kyocera Echo

Kyocera Echo

A noble attempt to blend together phones and tablets, Japanese manufacturer Kyocera (best known for their printers) released the Echo in April 2011. Described by US distributor Sprint as the, "first dual-screen smart phone", the Echo came with two hinged 3.5-inch touchscreens which could also act together as one 4.7-inch screen whilst in "Tablet mode." Certain apps were optimised to use both screens, including an email app with the message displayed on the top screen and your inbox on the bottom, and it could also multitask, running separate apps on each screen.

Nokia N-Gage

Nokia N-Gage

Yes, it’s another Nokia device. Released in 2003, the N-Gage was Nokia’s ill-fated attempt to enter the hand-held games console market and take on the likes of Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance. Offering mobile phone functionality built into a games console, the N-Gage cost $299 upon launch and ultimately sold three million units worldwide before it was discontinued in 2007.



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