(Auto)mobile phones

Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a car?

Nope. It’s a cell phone.

Car Phones (1)

If you’re a car-fanatic tech-geek who’s also young at heart, you’ll be sure to enjoy these neat hybrids between automobiles and mobile phone handsets. One could say they are so “mobile” they even have their own set of wheels.

They make fantastic alternatives for those who are going through a mid-life crisis and can’t afford the real thing. The best part is they are all electrical-powered so great on the environment.

Ferrari

F1 Ferrari Car Phone

It’s a cool toy, but if you want something closer to the real deal, premium handset manufacturer Vertu offers the Ascent Ti Ferrari phone. It features a scaled-down copy of the Ferrari gas brake pedal in aluminimum on the back, as well as hand-stiched Ferrari leather identical to that used in the actual car. It’s rumoured to be priced at around $25,000.

Vertu Ascent Ti Ferrari

If the Vertu edition is still over your mid-life crisis budget, you can opt for more affordable models such as the Sony Ericsson K800i Ferrari,  the Motorola V9 Ferrari, or the Motorola Z8.

Motorola V9 Ferrari
Porsche
Porsche Car Style Phone
Porsche Design Mobile Phones

This last one is actually manufactured by Porsche Design themselves; and there is both a flip and a candy-bar model. Pre-loaded ringtones include the roaring engines of the 911 GT3 and Turbo, in addition to apparently some bad german techno. You can also unlock the phone through a fingerprint scanner.

Speaking about mobile phones and Porsches, does anybody remember the teenager who turned his cell phone into a Porsche by bartering on Craigslist? Long story short, a friend gave him his old phone which he listed on the site and traded it for another phone. He subsequently traded that one for an iPod Touch, which turned into a dirt bike, into a gear box, into a Macbook Pro, into a Toyota 4runner, into a tricked-out golf cart, into a series of cars, into a 1975 Ford Bronco, and finally into a 2000 Porsche Boxster S. (Nuts!).

Aston Martin


This Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Edition is made from its vehicle-worthy materials, including a stainless steel slider case and a special thoughened glass display. It also comes with Aston Martin screensavers, wallpapers, a Vantage V8 engine revving ringtone and a special short video documentary. It’s relatively more reasonably priced than the Ferrari, costing you only a cool $1,640.

Nokia 8800 Aston Martin Edition.

BMW


I just had to also mention the BMW phone because I am my mother’s daughter after all.

BMW Cell Phone

Car Phones (2)

Those fun car phones are not to be confused with the original car phones. It’s a little known fact (at least for my generation) that on the path to inventing the wireless phone as we know today (i.e. no wires), there was a short-lived yet popular trend for car phones.

The first car phone was invented in 1910 by a Swedish engineer named Lars Magnus Ericsson. He literally installed a phone in his car and drove around the country, connecting it to telephone poles along the road with a pair of long electrical wires. However this concept, surprisingly, was not so popular.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, the development of cell towers being able to receive signals in three hexagonal directions led to car phones being installed in limousines and other vehicles. It truly was the first concept of being able to make a phone call “on the go”, but it was nevertheless attached to the car.

In the late 1980’s, the commercial availability of affordable mobile phones quickly eclipsed the need for car phones. But if you really want a car phone these days, there are a couple of handset manufacturers who continue to sell them. For example, there is the Motorola M800 and the Nokia 810. Keep in mind there are still some rural areas where digital signal is not available.

As some of you might know, the first cinematic reference to a mobile phone was Michael Douglas and the DynaTac in Wall Street. Well the first reference to a car phone was way before that in 1954’s Sabrina with Humphrey Bogart.

Even if talking on your cell phone while driving is now illegal in some countries, Bluetooth technology – whether integrated with the car or separately – solves the problem.

This segways nicely into the last item on the agenda.

Bluetooth Controlled Cars

James Bond fans might recall the car chase scene in the Tomorrow Never Dies movie where he controls the car using his cell phone.

Well apparently some guy from Nokia actually figured out how to do it in real life. Using Bluetooth technology and a mobile phone, he could control commands such as steering, brake and gas. It certainly brings a whole new meaning to “backseat driver”.

 

Conceptually cool yet potentially fatal.

For those who would not like to risk killing themselves, there are some toy remote controlled cars for which you can use your cell phone to drive.

The integration between cell phones and cars is quickly becoming a reality; it’s not in just James Bond movies anymore. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2010, General Motors announced that the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle, will allow owners to control certain features through their smartphone, such as turning on climate control, checking the voltage at a charger and getting text notifications if there is a battery charge interruption. Other car companies are also planning similar roll-outs.

 

Boys will be boys, and boys sure love their toys. It’s interesting to see the overlaps between mobile technology development and the automobile industry, a new era dubbed Car 2.0.

Although technology’s primary purpose is to improve functionality and efficiency, sometimes it can just be for fun.

So, let’s all continue to play :)

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