Best of mobile April Fool's round-up

News Paul Briden 15:21, 2 Apr 2012

We take a look at some of the best April Fool's Day hilarity which hit the mobile world April 1 2012

Once a year the day comes round where it's acceptable to play practical jokes.

A big part of the fun is that people often forget April Fool's is coming and can be easily shocked or suckered by a well-planned prank.

In recent years big companies have started getting involved with fake products or campaigns to amuse or befuddle customers and the mobile space is no exception, here's our pick for 2012's best mobile shennanigans.

UK retailer Phones4U ran an inspired April Fool's campaign dubbed ‘Gnomes4U', which included re-branded shops stacked with Gnome figurines.

The spoof alleged that Gnomes4U would sell garden Gnomes packed with signal booster technology to improve your mobile reception. Everything is catered for from fishing rod aerials to ‘beardband' Wi-Fi boosters.

Better still, the Oxford Street branch in London was pegged to stock special VIP Gnome versions of celebrities such as Angeline Gnomely and the cast of The Gnomely Way is Essex.

Skype for String
Skype for String was a playful take on the childhood cup-and-string phone toy. took the mickey out of Skype's cross-platform video-calling service with a goofy press release.

‘Ever wanted to make unlimited calls to your friends without requiring a computer, a mobile device or even a direct internet connection completely free? Well then, today is your lucky day as Skype introduces Skype for String, an experimental version of Skype that doesn't require a computer or internet and lets you make unlimited calls to your family and friends.'

The blog went on to list a range of silly features:

‘With Skype for String you can:

  • Makeaudiocalls.
  • Add acontactby handing them a cup that's connected to yours.
  • Make avideocall, as long as your friend is within eye sight.'

Amusingly, it warned that calls to phones and mobiles ‘are not possible with Skype for String.'

It added: ‘Skype for String relies on a recently discovered, natural form of peer-to-peer technology that allows your voice to travel over long distances without electricity. All you'll need to get started is a set of cups and a string with a minimum bandwidth of 5mm. Skype for String will work with any cup and string, but for the best results, we suggest using a Skype certified set.'

Carphone Warehouse iShield
Carphone Warehouse came up with something properly daft for its April Fool's joke.

We've all seen people walking around with iPhones sporting cracked screens, but Carphone Warehouse looked to the automotive world to come up with something to protect your expensive Apple investment.

The iShield is essentially an airbag for your iPhone. You attach a device to the bottom of the handset and if it gets dropped from about 1m a technology called ‘Air Flow Diagnosis' figures out that the phone is falling  and triggers a large, ball-shaped airbag to inflate around the iPhone.

Carphone Warehouse went into some detail explaining it only works once, requires an app to function and put a price tag of £10 on it to make it seem more real.

 Gmail Tap
Gmail Tap is Google's fun idea to simplify phone email. Google's designers argue in a convincing looking video showcase that with current devices ‘we're trying to cram a 26-key keyboard' into the space of a mobile phone, which they claim is too small to work satisfactorily.

The silly solution they came up with was to revive Morse code on your phone, so to type you have two keys and a space bar. That's it.

‘Morse code is perfect, it's just a dot and a dash. What's simpler than that?' says a Google engineer.'

O2 On & On
O2's On & On was a neat little jibe at the expense of smartphone manufacturers and the usual ‘daily charge' levels of battery drain people experience from their enhanced capabilities.

3D concept renders of the On & On showed your typical Android smartphone from the front, but once  you get round the back you're in for a shock as it has possibly the bulkiest battery pack in phone history. O2 said it'd offer 1000 hours of talk-time or 91 days on standby - pity it looks like a phaser out of Star Trek.

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