SLIDESHOW

10 Tech Products Intended to Fool Us All

How funny would it be if Apple didn't announce a tablet device on Jan. 27? It wouldn't be the first time tech companies and enthusiasts pulled the wool over our eyes — here are 10 such instances.

Fakes!

Surely, there is a faction of tech enthusiasts praying that Apple doesn't announce a tablet device on Jan. 27. That way, all the press, pundits and analysts who reported countless rumors on the tablet will look like fools. Indeed, it's amusing to think that all of this is some elaborate hoax orchestrated by Apple. If so, it wouldn't be the first time tech companies and enthusiasts tricked us, either for personal gain or just a chuckle. Here are 10 such instances.

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The iLoo

When reports of a Microsoft portable toilet fitted with a plasma screen and wireless keyboard emerged in May 2003, it was reported as fact. A couple weeks later, Microsoft admitted that the iLoo was “basically a tongue in cheek” campaign, yet even the company didn't seem convinced, at one point saying it jumped the gun in admitting the iLoo was a hoax. Either way, the product never surfaced.

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photo from MSN

The Left-Handed Cell Phone

Sony Ericsson and Virgin Mobile may have cheated on this April Fools’ prank, as it happened on March 30, 2004. The left-handed cell phone had its number keys running from right to left because, you know, southpaws think in reverse. Mobile Magazine picked up the story and had to admit they'd been had.

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photo from Mobile Magazine

Fake Chrome OS

Google Chrome OS is a real product coming this year, but this screen grab isn't. No one knows whether Chrome OS will be a success or failure, but it's safe to say a carbon copy of Windows' desktop would've disappointed everyone. The prankster copped to the fakery after more than 100,000 people visited the blog.

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photo from chromeosleak.wordpress.com

Google TISP

Look, if someone offered me free Internet, I wouldn't care how it was delivered. That seemed to be the idea behind Google TISP, an April Fools’ joke from 2007. Flush a fiber optic cable down your toilet, and it connects with the nearest Internet access node installed in underground sewer systems. That's actually more convenient than scheduling an appointment with your cable company.

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photo from Google

The Sakshat $10 Laptop

When my colleague Jeff Bertolucci reported a year ago that a $10 laptop, dubbed Sakshat, was coming out of India, he wisely wondered why we only heard about RAM and Wi-Fi, and not a processor and screen. Turns out there was no laptop; the Sakshat was merely a portable device that stores and prints learning materials. And it cost $20.

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photo from The Hindu

Phantom Gaming Service

Infinium Labs' Phantom was meant to challenge Sony and Microsoft by bringing a PC gaming rig into the living room. A unit was even demonstrated at E3 2004, but the product was delayed into oblivion. What makes this product a dirty trick rather than vaporware? The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that the Phantom was little more than a pump-and-dump scheme, using hype to drive up stock prices so Infinium chief executive Timothy Roberts could unload his stock for a profit.

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photo from Slashgear

Duke Nukem Forever

This game is a prime example of vaporware, but we were fooled so many times into thinking it'd be a reality, with footage that looked like a different game every time. There was the E3 1998 trailer, the E3 2001 trailer, the 2007 teaser and the 2008 footage. Any of this material would've made a great game, but it wasn't meant to be. Developer 3D Realms shut down last year.

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photo from 3D Realms

Facebook Fax

Note to self: Contact Facebook before writing about a new feature that seems completely ridiculous. After everyone in the TechCrunch network noticed a newfound ability to fax photos on Facebook, they pinged Facebook for comment and, not hearing anything, posted 25 minutes later. Turns out Facebook Fax was enabled only for those in the TechCrunch network, and Facebook PR couldn't stop laughing when blogger Jason Kincaid finally got them on the phone.

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photo from TechCrunch

The MacBook Wheel

Though no one would ever pass off a report by The Onion as truth, the argument that Mac addicts will shell out for anything Apple makes, no matter how impractical, is as real as it gets. Apple's relentless pursuit of simplicity sounds plausible, too. What better way to accomplish that goal than with one giant wheel?

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photo from The Onion

Fake Apple Tablet

Oh, Dustin Curtis. Publishing alleged Apple tablet photos under your own name. That's just not how it's done. You've got to be a “source close to the project” or a random industry analyst to make tablet news. But I suppose after Monday's Apple tablet video was debunked, it's only natural to have some fake photos out there. As Cole Rise notes, the noise profile of the tablet doesn't match up with the surrounding MacBook, but nice try.

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photo from Dustin Curtis