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CES, Reporter Breaks "Unbreakable" Mobile Phone 316

ChiefMonkeyGrinder writes "Reporter Dan Simmons from the BBC's technology show Click managed to break a mobile phone marketed as 'unbreakable' (video), during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas." The phone can survive a 10 story fall, being submerged 20 feet for 30 mins, and you can use it to hammer a nail; but it's no match for a British journalist.


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CES, Reporter Breaks "Unbreakable" Mobile Phone

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Monday January 11, 2010 @01:20PM (#30725012) Journal

    An American journalist would've rephrased the marketing blurb on the phone, not tried it out, and welcomed our new invincible mobile overlords, only to be made fun of by Jon Stewart later that night.

    It's a bit offtopic but I just heard something about this on NPR recently []:

    For decades, young reporters would ask themselves, "What would Walter think?" Nowadays, it's not the memory of Walter Cronkite or even Edward R. Murrow that motivates some reporters — it's more often the fear that the stories they put out today might get picked apart by Jon Stewart tomorrow.

    Prominent among the wary: NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who recently explained in a magazine essay that The Daily Show host "has gone from optional to indispensable" in just a few short years.

    I found it odd yet telling that keeping anchors in check is not regulated by role models today but rather the court jester. Indeed, my opinions of both Fox News and CNN have dropped significantly from watching a few shows of Stewarts where he systematically picks apart their idiocy with a montage or just pointing out the obvious. It's like an MST3K recap of the day's news ... except with a bizarre twist: the truth.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @01:20PM (#30725014) Journal

    Our Nextel rep tried to sell us on some of their rubber-encased, bulky "ruggedized" phones last year, bragging about how they met U.S. military specifications and so on. We tried out a few, and one of the maintenance guys out in the shop managed to break the "push to talk" button on his the first day he had it. A couple others developed keypad failures in a matter of months.

    The fact is, the cellphone makers come up with these claims based on very specific types of "accidents", such as the phone's ability to survive submerging in water to a certain depth, or surviving a drop from X number of feet. In the real world, people find MANY other ways to break these devices that weren't even investigated. (The guys in our shop do a lot of grinding and cutting of steel, for example. Eventually, the little metal filings find their way into the cellphone's speaker, where the magnet in the speaker causes them to collect up - until they make a big enough pile to short things out. When disassembling "dead" phones, we've found that a number of times. But I haven't seen a single cellphone maker take any steps in their design to prevent THAT mode of failure.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @01:35PM (#30725260) Homepage

    You can destroy anything if you apply the right force.

    Of course. Even the forces binding the proton together are not so strong that one can't be blasted apart in a particle accelerator. Even the mythical and ludicrously strong material the Ringworld was made from had to succumb to this rule. It is in some ways trivial to take "unbreakable" in a way that it equals "non-existant".

    I think it's more useful to define "unbreakable" to mean "within reason", and go from there. For a phone, being able to use it as an impromptu hammer is pretty good. Or being dropped off your balcony. Or submerged in water. That covers most of the abuse that a phone takes, so "unbreakable" as in "you aren't going to accidentally break it in normal circumstances" is pretty good. Though if a journalist can break it while standing at your booth at a trade show, then it seems it doesn't live up to even this lesser standard.

    Of course the gold standard for unbreakability in mobile electronics is over twenty years old. [] Ah, now that is some damn sturdy hardware!

    On the other hand, dip that thing in some water and see what happens...

  • by tg123 ( 1409503 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:05PM (#30725694)

    You can destroy anything if you apply the right force. Making a bald statement that a phone (or anything else) is unbreakable will just prompt some folks to find the right force, even if it isn't something the phone would normally experience.

    How true.

    Did you notice that he hit the screen against the corner of the tank?

    Now if I remember correctly from high school a force applied to a small surface area means high pressure. []

    Great to see this in practice. ;-)

  • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:14PM (#30725824)

    Had a book of Politically Correct Nursery Rymes..

    It should be Persun, and Womyn, and Humyn.. Then, there is no sexism. Damn those nursery ryhmes were funny.

    Don't forget Femail..

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:04PM (#30726468)

    If they think it's unbreakable, all we have to do is find a four year old boy who will be happy to prove them wrong.

  • Re:yeah (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 222 ( 551054 ) <> on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:35PM (#30727006) Homepage
    I've always wondered if Blendtec blender could actually blend another Blendtec blender...

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl