Think Android KitKat's bad? 10 worst tech tie-ins revealed
8th Sep 2013 | 12:02
Google isn't the only one that has partnered for a product
Worst tech tie-ins: 1-5
To widespread disbelief, Google announced this week that the next version of Android would be called Android KitKat - a decision that's all the more surprising because it means that don't-be-evil Google is teaming up with Nestlé, make of that what you will.
But KitKat isn't the only example of marketers' 'synergies' producing hellish or hopeless results. Remember these horrors?
1 Acer Ferrari One
If there's one word that screams high performance, it's netbook. Er, what? Acer's Ferrari One 201 was a great example of Ferrari's licensing programme in full effect, a programme whose sole criteria for approving products appears to be "will they pay us money?"
According to the blurb, the 201 was "driven by a seriously powerful AMD Athlon X2" alongside "2GB RAM, putting it streets ahead of any other netbook out there in terms of performance. You won't have to put your foot on the accelerator, because the Ferrari One always runs at top speed."
The only way it was streets ahead was in the price stakes, where you would have to pay as much for the netbook as you would a decent mid-rage laptop.
2 Lady Gaga's Polaroid Printers
Lady Gaga "has spent a lot of time working with the research and development guys, and has always had a great love of Polaroid," Polaroid told us with a poker face . There's nothing a pop star loves more than designing a new printer, and when you look at the GL10 you can see that Gaga's really revolutionised the way we think about industrial design.
We're shocked - shocked! - to discover that the more interesting GL20 camera glasses Gaga designed never made it to market, most likely because they looked stupid.
3 Bentley Ego Laptop
We try hard not to judge people, we really do. But if you were willing to spend $19,943 on a Bentley-branded Windows Vista laptop that looks like an old iBook that's been covered in upholstery by somebody's grandmother, you really shouldn't be allowed out of the house by yourself.
"Winner of the Microsoft Fashion PC Award", the website says proudly. Because we all know, there's no finer judge of fashion than Microsoft.
4 Asus Lamborghini laptops
We'd love to have been flies on the wall when this one was dreamed up. "We need to team up with a car brand!" Asus must have said. "Which one's famous for the sheer brutality and utter vulgarity of its designs, for making vehicles that even a Middle Eastern billionaire might think is too vulgar? WE NEED THOSE GUYS!"
The result was a triumph, if by "triumph" you mean "looks like it was designed by a 14-year-old, has a ridiculously large chassis and doesn't feel particularly well screwed together." Charging £1,850 for it didn't help either.
5 U2 iPod
In 2004, U2 joined forces with Apple: Apple made a custom iPod with all U2's music on it, and U2 made an ad for it. "The synergy was so obvious," said bassist Adam Clayton, presumably meaning that Apple got a nice tune and U2 got millions of dollars of free publicity for their new album - a trick U2 tried again in 2009 with a lesser song for a less cool brand, RIM's BlackBerry.
As for the U2 iPod, it was a black 20GB iPod with an odd-looking red scroll wheel, a money-off coupon for the U2 digital box set and a free poster. Rock and roll!
Worst tech tie-ins: 6-10
6 LG Prada
If you've ever suspected that many designers will sign off any old toss, the LG Prada may well confirm those suspicions: three generations of the smartphone appear to have prized form over function, with fiddly, mysterious buttons and a spec that feels a little behind the times.
Never mind that, though: there's a great big Prada logo on it, and for some that's the most important spec of all.
7 Canon EOS 550D Jackie Chan Edition
We like digital SLRs. We like Jackie Chan. But do we want the two together? The question's actually academic, because the limited edition EOS 500D was a China-only product. It differed from the stock 550D in several key areas: it had a different neck strap, a better lens, a leather case and the ability to kill a man with a single punch.
Okay, maybe not that last one. We wonder - who would win in a fight between the EOS 550D Jackie Chan Edition and the Nokia N96 Bruce Lee Edition?
8 Jerry Seinfeld and Windows Vista
In 2008, Microsoft's marketers had a genius idea: they would hire someone whose TV show ended a decade previously to make weird adverts featuring BIll Gates.
This, somehow, would make everybody want to buy Windows Vista. Amazingly, the plan didn't work: the three adverts featuring Gates and Jerry Seinfeld were described as among the very worst adverts ever screened.
9 Will.I.Am and Intel
We have a soft spot for anybody who thinks the internet is a trumpet, but what exactly is it that Will.I.Am does in his Intel job? You'd think the director of creative innovation might have some products to show by now, given that he took on the role back in 2011.
As far as we can tell, all he's doing is lugging an ultrabook around and recording music. It's as if the whole appointment was just marketing bol.l.ocks.
10 David Beckham's Motorola Aura
In 2009 Motorola spent a fortune on turning David Beckham into a terminator to promote its £1,400 Aura luxury smartphone - so it was probably rather miffed when just weeks later he was snapped in a Milan cafe talking on his mobile, which was quite obviously an iPhone 3G rather than a Moto Aura.
But Beckham isn't alone: tennis pro David Ferrer sent his sponsor-pleasing Samsung-promoting tweets from his iPhone, BlackBerry brand ambassador Alicia Keys was busted using her iPhone instead of her BlackBerry, and late last year Oprah Winfrey's Surface-plugging tweet was sent from her iPad.