Vote for the mobile phone WTF of the year

Can someone notify the next of Kin?
Can someone notify the next of Kin?

The mobile phone industry may be the most technologically innovative at the moment, but every year it throws up a few clangers. Here we look at the companies that tried but failed, the events that left us with our jaws dropped and the launches that went off not with a bang… well, sometimes they never actually launched at all.

So check out our 10 WTFs of the year, and then head over to the Phone Awards 2011 site to cast your vote on which you think is the craziest mobile phone moment of the year…

Apple launching the microSIM

Showing yet again that it doesn't adhere to the norm, Apple released the iPhone in June last year and, with it, the microSIM. The SIM is 52 per cent smaller than your average SIM and 1,000 per cent more annoying.

This is mainly because anyone who wanted to switch to an iPhone had to go through the rigmarole of getting all their details on to the smaller SIM. Yes, it meant that we could have a small, dinky phone but with it a whole load of hassle.


Symbian: is the end in sight?

With Nokia announcing a major partnership with Windows, which should bring to fruition a number of exciting new handsets, and Apple and Google offering mobile phone operating systems that the majority of the general public are lapping up, you have to feel a little sorry for Symbian.

While Nokia has announced it will continue with Symbian as an OS, the recent news that it has outsourced the OS to Accenture means that the future for the OS looks a little bleak. It's lucky, then, that Symbian has some of the most passionate fans around who will be championing the OS until the very end.


Burglary at Vodafone downs network

Who'd have thought that a tea leaf could cause a phone network to go down? But that is just what happened with Vodafone back in February, where computer equipment was stolen from a depot in Basingstoke and caused mass panic in Voda's camp.

The outage was played down at first and was said to affect just a small part of the country, but it turned out to be affecting swathes of the M4 corridor and beyond. We've heard of thieves stealing phones but it's pretty impressive a burglar stealing a phone network.


  • Vote for your WTF moment here.

Comes With Music sings its last tune

It sounded too good to be true – all-you-can-eat music piped straight to your Nokia phone for FREE. Turns out it was, as in January this year Nokia decided that Comes With Music just wasn't sustainable in the UK, something the likes of Spotify are only just coming to terms with.

You can still get it if you go to China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey or South Africa, though, which is of no benefit to us music-loving Brits whatsoever.

Comes with music

HTC Desire OS upgrade

The HTC Desire was definitely one of the best phones of the last year or so, showing Apple that Android was a real contender in the smartphone market.

But, it all went a little bit wobbly when the Android 2.2 update arrived. Not that this was any fault of HTC, more the carriers who couldn't quite get themselves together and make sure the OS works properly on the device.

First it was Vodafone who decide to fill phones with bloatware instead of upgrading Desire users to 2.2, then O2 borked its own update as well. Still, it didn't take the shine off what is still a great phone.

HTC desire

  • Vote for your WTF moment here.

iPhone 4 antenna-gate

"There is no antenna-gate," said Steve Jobs about antenna-gate, shortly before offering up a load of bumpers to sort out a problem with the iPhone 4 he said didn't exist just seconds before.

This was the bizarre situation Apple found itself in back in July last year, after problems with the iPhone's antenna were reported. There was even a press conference about the whole debacle, where Apple nearly managed to make us believe that nothing was wrong and all they were doing was giving out free bumpers for all.

Tssk Apple, for thinking we believe everything you say – you'll be telling us next you're not tracking our phones without our knowledge but mapping the country's Wi-Fi hotspots…

iPhone 4

Nokia crashing HTC event with balloons

This could have been a brilliant PR strategy to put the spotlight on to Nokia and away from HTC, but it completely backfired. Essentially, Nokia handed out balloons promoting its Ovi Maps app at a HTC event in London last September and alongside them HTC press conference survival kits.

This was all done because Nokia and HTC decided to have a press event on the same day. Instead of promoting Nokia as the better phone brand it smelled a little of desperation. Our man on the ground also had to give one of the Nokia Maps people directions – which is never a good advert for a mapping service.

Nokia balloons

Picture credit: Engadget

London Underground mobile phone signal plans shelved

The London Underground has always been a blackspot for phone and Wi-Fi signal but there was a glimmer of hope that Wi-Fi would be installed in the Tube by the time the Olympics hop, skipped and jumped into action in 2012.

The four UK mobile phone networks (Everything Everywhere, O2, 3 and Vodafone) released a statement which can be surmised as: "Nope, not going to happen".

Now, the Underground is horrible, cramped place at the best of time so the idea of having your face stuck in someone's armpit while they talk about stocks and shares isn't everyone's idea of heaven – but you can't go making promises that you just don't keep.

London underground

  • Vote for your WTF moment here.

Microsoft killing off the Kin

In a move which created a billion 'Kin hell jokes, Microsoft decided to kill off its Kin line of mobile phones before they ever made it to the UK. TechRadar first got its hands on a Kin back in April 2010 and thought that the phones were "dinky" but decent to use.

But it seemed that the pebble-shaped handset was never destined for the UK, with Microsoft saying that the Kin would be rolled into its new Windows Phone 7 project. In the end this actually looks to be a decent strategy, considering Windows Phone 7 has been warmly received by many people.


Nokia CEO's open letter to employees

"Nokia, our platform is burning." So said Stephen Elop about the company he is CEO of. This letter was sent to all Nokia employees and somehow it got leaked to the press.

You can't help read the letter and admire Elop's gumption – he is trying to put right a company that has floundered in recent years. But the letter is primed for mocking, with its analogies to burning oil rigs and sounding like something Charlie Sheen would spout. But will the letter mean that Nokia will soon be winning? Only time will tell.


  • Vote for your WTF moment here.
Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.