MWC IS SOMETHING of a posturing exercise for the tech world and every year someone creates something stupid, just because they can.
This year, the Cock-Waver-In-Chief award has to go to Energizer (yes, the battery people) who warned us what they were planning for the 26(!!) phones it slated for launch - but nobody really realised the reality.
Avenir, who has partnered with Energizer on the range, told us that one of their phones would have incredible battery life, so we all assumed that there was some battery-expertise that would make it possible.
No. Wrong. Error. They've just made a slab of mediocrity instead.
With the thickness of three of its other handsets (it's 30mm thick!), the Power Max P18K Pop with its 18,000mAh battery can (we're told) manage 100 hours of music listening between charges, and has a standby time of a month.
As you'd expect, it's also seriously weighty - it's certainly not one for those pouches you put on your arm whilst jogging.
Which gives rise to an important question - who exactly is it for?
The specs are pretty good - a Mediatek Helio octa-core processor and Mali GPU are flanked with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage expandable with an SD card, all powered by stock-ish Android 9.0 Pie and a fingerprint sensor.
The camera is 12MP at the back and 5MP at the front, with a USB-C port for fast charging via USB-PD. It can also be used for reverse charging other devices - in effect, it is its own power bank - but as it takes 8 hours for a full charge, planning ahead is a good idea.
You'd think, therefore that this would be great for explorers and divers and the like, who need to be able to rely on a phone connection.
And that's where the real missed opportunities are apparent. It's not especially rugged, with a fairly ordinary casing. It's not IP certified to be waterproof, which sees like a no-brainer to us.
In fact, we couldn't imagine this being any more than a millstone around the neck of most travellers. Except it would probably break the lanyard anyway.
It would be unfair to completely dismiss Energizer as a smartphone maker - they had some fairly attractive mid-range handsets and more than a few feature phones at MWC.
But this? This seems little more than a gimmick, and in that sense, it has worked, making Energizer one of the most talked about brands at the show (though the fact they were handing out water bottles like sweeties helped too).
It's slated for release in June, or thereabouts, but given that the unit we tried wasn't actually running software, rather it just played a video on loop, we suspect that it wouldn't take much for this date to be pushed back.
We have seen a few people genuinely excited about carrying this beast of burden about, but we can't see the company really expect to shift that many of them. Maybe a second version with a toughened sides, unbreakable glass and an IP68 rating would be more of a lure. Or not. μ
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