5 strangest phones of all time

A pile of phones.
ArieStudio / Shutterstock.com

Modern phones have mostly converged to basic shapes with common materials. It wasn’t always this way. There have been some really weird design and function decisions over the years. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest ones.

As in our list of the ugliest phones ever, many of the phones in this list are pretty old. The beginning of the mobile age saw companies taking a lot of risks and everyone was trying to figure out what people wanted. That led to some big hits and some major “what were they thinking?” moments. Enjoy.

Related: 5 strangest phones of all time

Microsoft King

Microsoft King
Microsoft

“Weird” doesn’t always mean “bad,” but it also doesn’t mean that the device was a success. The Microsoft Kin was a strange device with some very interesting ideas. In the end, it didn’t sell well, but it sure was weird.

Kin was fired at a strange time. That was right before Microsoft decided to fully use Windows Phone 7. The user interface on the Kin has similar vibes to what would eventually become a Windows Phone, but this wasn’t a smartphone. It was a very small – and cute – phone with a slide-out keyboard.

Unfortunately, kindness was not important. Kin – who was actually several different models – was basically dead when he arrived.

Related: Android 12 has the best idea for Windows Phone

Motorola Backflip

Motorola Backflip
Motorola

There are many ways to put a physical keyboard on the phone. You can flip it, move it, and even rotate it. Motorola has taken the flip concept and used it in a very weird way, with the keyboard on the back of the phone.

A typical foldable phone has a keyboard that folds over to fit the screen, and both are protected on the inside when closed. The Motorola Backflip had the keyboard behind the screen and you could flip it forward to get the keyboard under the screen.

I think there is a reason why another phone wouldn’t do this. Why does the keyboard go out all the time like this? It is never protected and your hands always touch it when you hold the phone. Motorola’s Flipout was a better idea.

Utah phone

Utah phone

Some strange ideas are actually good ideas. Yotaphone tried to solve a problem in a very unique way. LCD and LED screens consume a lot of battery power. What if you had a low power monitor that you could use for simple tasks?

Yotaphone had two screens: on the front, a typical full-color smartphone screen on the front. On the back, an e-ink display like you’d find on a Kindle or any other e-reader. The idea was that you could save energy with an e-ink screen. It was actually a great idea, but it never really caught on.

Related: What is e-ink and how does it work?

Toshiba G450

Toshiba G450
Toshiba

You are looking at the picture of the Toshiba phone above. I probably don’t need to tell you why this phone is weird, but I’ll do it anyway. what is happening here?

The number and display buttons are spread across three rounded sections and the entire device is a contact tray. It’s an incredibly weird looking phone. I’m sure it’s very comfortable to hold, but it looks weird. futuristic in a bad way.

Siemens Xelibri 6

Siemens Xelibri 6

Seimens had a whole line of phones under the “Xelibri” brand in 2004. The most unusual of these was the Xelebri 6. Imagine making a phone out of a compact makeup kit. This is exactly what this phone is.

It opens with a literal mirror on one side, with a small screen in the middle. The number buttons are distributed in a matrix around the middle of the bottom. Above all is the small navigation panel and the bold gold color.

Of all the phones on this list, the Siemens Xelibri 6 is the most unusual because it was basically designed to be that way. Some phones ended up being weird by accident, but Seimens was specifically working on something completely different, and it worked.