Smartphone Gimmick or Genius Invention?

Phone manufacturers tend to do things that will make their product stand apart from the crowd. Some features are so off the wall it’s hard to take them seriously. It can appear these things are done to just seek attention or a ploy to get you to buy their product. Although this is sometimes true, we have found 8 that were actually legitimate.

SCiO Scanner

Image Source

Changhong’s SCiO Scanner

This feature is mind-blowing, leaving you wondering what will come next. The built-in spectroscopic sensor allows you to visualize the chemical composition of a product. It uses amazing technology to scan things like food and drinks to determine their chemical makeup. If you are health conscious this is the app for you! Deciding if something is good for you or not just became much easier. The feature also allows you to measure and keep track of your body fat percentage. Allergy sufferers are now able to examine certain products for pesky allergens with a simple scan.


Image source

Reversible User Interface

Alcatel’s reversible UI was probably the most well-known on the market. The company actually has a few models in their lineup equipped with the feature. The term reversible, in this instance, means the phone will rotate and work even when it is upside down. This can be very useful. It never fails when you are in the biggest hurry you grab your phone and its upside down. No more fumbling with your phone, it will work at any angle. The only thing that may be affected by the reversible UI is the camera. It will not work so great when upside down because the camera will now be located at the bottom of the device. Overall, most people wouldn’t mind seeing this feature on more cell phones.


Image source


For most phone buyers, a trackball may seem like a flashback. This feature hasn’t been seen on Android phones in some time. During its heyday, it was a wonderful marketing tool that ended up paying off.  The average user probably has no desire to see the trackball make a comeback. However, QWERTY users may have a different opinion. These little relics can be quite handy. While the return of the trackball is unlikely, it was a good tool in its day.


Image source

Dual Displays

YotaPhone offers a unique dual-display feature on some of their models. You have the original front UI and then an E-ink display on the back. For Kindle lovers, this is great news. It provides a more pleasurable reading experience than the traditional phone screen. Some manufacturer considered this a gimmick. When marketed to a distinct group, this could actually be a big hit. The Yota3 will hit retail outlets soon, so there is still hope for the feature catching on.

oppo android box

Image source

The Rotating Camera

Oppo had a nifty idea when they introduced their rotating camera. Instead of a phone having two cameras, you just flip one to the position you want. This is appealing since rear cameras typically aren’t the same quality as a phone’s main camera. This could significantly improve the appearance of your selfies. Unfortunately, no other manufacturers have decided to jump on board with the idea.

The O-Touch Panel by Oppo

Oppo had another unique idea with their O-Touch Panel. It was located on the back of the phone and was sensitive to touch. Users were able to control some aspects of the device without touching the screen. You had the ability to scroll the web, take pictures and more from the phone’s back panel. It’s not really understood why this feature never caught on. It could actually be very useful. Honestly, it is in a more natural position. It is located where the index finger normally rests. This should provide added comfort, alleviating the “texting thumb” phenomenon. I think most cell phone users would welcome a touch panel.

The Galaxy Beam

In 2012 Samsung released their Galaxy Beam, fully equipped with a Pico projector. At the time, it had consumers buzzing. I mean, who doesn’t want the ability to display full-sized movies and pictures from their cell phone?  The idea that a small device could produce a 50-inch image with 640 x 360 resolution was astounding. Unfortunately, the device has several downfalls that deflated its popularity quickly. The visual output was never quite where it needed to be. The picture, regardless of the setting, was always dark. The power required for the projector causes the phone to overheat in a short amount of time. This was another negative. Packing a projector into the anatomy of a phone naturally, increases the girth. The majority of people do not wish to have a bulky device. With all these things stacked against it, the Galaxy Beam was unable to thrive in an oversaturated market. It was a wonderful idea, maybe the company will find a way to make it work someday.

Samsung Galaxy S6

Image source

Samsung’s Edge

Let’s face it when Samsung first released its curved screen on the Galaxy S6 it served no purpose other than looks. A gimmick. Today, it has evolved into a feature that is loved by millions of Samsung customers. The large screen, customizable drawer, and endless panels have users sold. It became so popular that now you can get both edges curved. They weren’t the first to offer these types of displays, but they have definitely been the most successful. It doesn’t appear this feature will be phased out anytime soon.

The Nature of the Business

The cell phone market is a dog-eat-dog world. Each company has pushed its own share of gimmicks over the years. It will always be this way as each one tries to come up with ways to draw attention to their product. There are some features that end up being horrible, while others make us wonder how we ever lived without them. There are also a few that may seem gimmicky at first glance, but end up user worthy. We will continually have to weed through the good and bad to find that diamond in the rough.

Image source