The best of April Fools’ Day 2014
Check your calendar and ratchet up your skepticism: It’s April 1, the day you can trust absolutely nothing on the Internet. (The other 364 days of the year, the Internet is scrupulously honest and trustworthy.) In a tradition that generates equal parts amusement and annoyance, tech companies have taken to YouTube, Twitter and company blogs to unleash their latest batch of April Fools’ Day pranks on the unsuspecting public. And while normally we’d be inclined to agree with Android and Me’s assessment, we spotted a few gags that elicited more chuckles than groans.
Is it still a selfie if SelfieBot takes it for you? Hmmm.
The folks at Sphero know just how much of a pain it is to take a selfie. And so they’ve turned their delightful robot ball into the SelfieBot, a drone that flies around with you and takes your picture whenever you command it to. No more having to fumble around with your phone just to take a picture, SelfieBot has all your selfie needs covered—if it weren’t a cruel jest, that is.
Microsoft brings back Clippy
Don’t call it a comeback—please, we really mean it, don’t call it that. Clippy, the infamous Office Helper Bot from the Microsoft Word days of yesteryear is making a triumphant return, at least for April Fools’ Day. Users who launch a Word document from Microsoft Office Online will see the crafty paper clip returned to his home in the bottom right-hand corner of the document. As always, he’s ready to help solve whatever Word issues you’re having.
Of course, Microsoft knows that not everyone is using Office Online and wanted to make sure you didn’t miss Clippy’s big comeback. The company announced through its TeleNet blog a new product called SmartClippy, which turns any old paper clip into a makeshift Clippy with the help of some googly eyes.
Apple splashes the cash for iFixit
Product teardown and repair specialist iFixit picked April Fools’ Day to announce that it’s been bought by Apple—interesting timing considering that iFixit’s Kyle Wiens has been accusing Apple of trying to put third-party repair companies out of business. In the pseudo press release, iFixit made several digs at Apple for designing devices with poor reparability ratings, noting that users typically have to replace devices that break down. On that note, Apple and iFixit created a “Device Replaceability Index” to indicate how replaceable a product is. Apple’s iPhones achieved a perfect '10' rating under the new system.
Gmail embraces selfies
If you can’t get your hands on Sphero’s SelfieBot—and you can’t, because it doesn’t exist—at least Google will make it easy for users to stare longingly into their own eyes all day. Gmail users have access to a new “Shelfie” theme in Gmail—as in “shareable selfie”—where users with a webcam can snap a photo to be used as their background image in Gmail. There’s also a “Trending Selfie” theme that puts top selfies in the background in case you get tired of looking at yourself. It’s a horrifying vision of the future, but at least it’s your horrifying vision.
Sony turns food into an energy source
It may be better known for gaming consoles and smartphones, but Sony came up with an April 1 concept that recharges your device while also recharging you. Sony Power Food offers a line of edible products like protein bars, cake mix, cereal and others that can also be used to charge your devices. Think very carefully about the plausibility of this announcement before you go jamming your Xperia Z into a cake.
Blink and it's over
Soon, we’ll all be cyborgs running around with Google Glass strapped to our faces—that’s not an April Fools’ Day gag. Docusign, a company that provides technology for electronic signatures, developed a plugin for Google Glass that lets users sign documents by obnoxiously blinking their eyes—that is an April Fools’ Day gag. Unless you think a simple blink and a $1500 wearable eye computer sounds like a better investment than a pen.
HTC shows us some Gluuv
Finally, a functional Pip-Boy 3000 for the modern smartphone era. HTC’s new-and-almost-certainly-nonexistent Gluuv is a wearable glove that integrates seamlessly with the new HTC One (M8) smartphone. You can make Holocalls with friends, walk around like you did in the ’90s with the connected HTC BoomBass boombox, and take incredible selfies with the 87.2-megapixel wrist camera. The future of wearables is here—and all it takes is surrendering half your arm.
Samsung lets your Fingers do the talking
Not content to come out with its own versions of real products, Samsung is also aping other people’s April Fools’ Day pranks. It sees HTC’s Gluuv, and raises it with its own pretend whole-hand wearable, Samsung Fingers. Samsung’s gag product promises a flexible Super Emo-LED display that sits in the palm of your wrist and has super-advanced 5G technology for blazing fast data speeds. Talk to the Hand, Palm-Rec, Voice & Snap Amp, S-Charge, and advanced Gestures help you make the most out of your Samsung Fingers Experience. But, yeah, it’s probably made of plastic, so there’s that.
Virgin’s wearable feat
Wrist-worn wearables are so last week. Virgin Mobile wants to take the wearable revolution to your feet with Smart Kicks—available, theoretically, in both sneaker and stiletto versions. Virgin promises integrated Bluetooth speakers for listening to your music on the go, vibrating calendar reminders, and kinetic charging. Bonus: clicking the Smart-letto’s heels three times will automagically call home. At least it’s more stylish-looking than the actual wearable Google has produced.
Something for twits
No April Fools’ Day would be complete without a wearable helmet. At least, that’s Twitter’s assumption with its Twitter Helmet, which promises a high-resolution display with a custom Aviary-inspired UI. Users will be able to instant-tweet via a simple pecking motion with their head. Add-ons include feather-shaped Wi-Fi and cellular signal boosters, carbon-fiber chinstrap with optional wattle-shaped microphone, and a hand-tooled leather case inspired by falconry hoods. And it’ll only set you back $139 of pretend money.
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