April Fool's Day 2012: The best stories from around the web
Gullible gadget-lovers gather round, April Fool's Day is upon us. Being wiser than Gandalf when it comes to electronics, rarely do we fall for any potential trickery. But some of the gadget-related spoofs can be particularly dastardly, difficult for even the smartest of tech lovers not to fall for.
To spare you from potential embarrassment, Pocket-lint has scoured the internet and rounded up the best of this year’s tomfoolery. Keep your eyes peeled for these gems and perhaps unleash them on some unwitting tech fans unwise to these japes.
Google Maps 8-Bit edition
Google couldn't actually wait for the 1 April to do its April Fools gag opting to go a day early. Cheating aside, it opted to try and convince people that it had created an 8-bit version of Google Maps.
"In our pursuit of new digital frontiers, we realised that we may have left behind a large number of users who couldn't access Google Maps on their classic hardware. Surprisingly, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was unsupported, despite its tremendous popularity with over 60 million units sold worldwide," reads the blog post on the company's official blog, before adding: "With Google Maps 8-bit, you can do all the things you already do on regular Google Maps. Search for famous landmarks and sites around the world. Take an epic journey with 8-bit Street View. Get detailed directions to avoid dangerous paths, and battle your way through a world of powerful monsters and mystic treasures."
Lynx Spray app
Lynx for April Fools 2012 has created the Lynx Spray app that lets you select the Lynx deodorant that you are after before spraying it directly from your phone. According to the accompanying video that means you can choose the best scent to woo the girl of your dreams who happens to be standing in front of you.
Clever. But sadly we can just see that what would really happen is that the liquids in the phone would leak out and look like you've wet yourself.
The Peugeot RCZ: The mood colour-changing car
Peugeot UK has created a great April Fool for 2012: The mood colour-changing car.
"Technicians at Peugeot developed this pioneering new technology by using a psychochromatic coating (mood paint), which alters the molecular structure of the paint to emit light at varying wavelengths. The driver’s moods are detected via heat sensors integrated into the steering wheel, which read their body temperature and pulse rate to change the exterior colour of the car accordingly.
"And as long as drivers are ‘happy’ to express their emotions, the whole emotional spectrum of body colours is available to them, including: dark blue – for when drivers are feeling a little down, while a hue of green will spread across the exterior when a driver is detected to be feeling very relaxed.
If only this were real.
Sony Vaio Q - the world's smallest Ultrabook
"With uncompromising attention to detail and a passion for design, Sony introduces the next generation in the VAIO line up; the world’s most portable Ultrabook", reads the blurb on the product page at Sony.com before going on to add that the new Vaio Q is: "Now available in full HD 0.75" x 1.25" screen size with a revolutionary feature set and monolithic design."
Those looking to work on the tiny computer will get "exceptional picture quality in 2D and 3D with full graphics support".
Kodak Kitten Printer
"KODAK LIVEPrint technology was developed in our Rochester, NY labs by a small group of dedicated imaging scientists after a very spirited lunchtime brainstorming session. Rapid commercialization of this new technology is underway in all areas of the company and new products will be launched in stages throughout the coming year," says Kodak of the Kitten printer.
"Starting today, at selected retail locations, you can choose from 12 perennially popular breeds of Felis silvestris catus and have your own live, furry little of ball of cuteness printed right there – in store, in minutes," says Kodak. "Following the nationwide launch of Live Kittens! later this month, select locations will soon be featuring a limited Easter promotion (Buy 2 Bunnies, get 10 free!). A nationwide launch of Bring a Puppy Home for the Holidays! is slated to begin on November 1st."
There's even talk on the site of a large print format version for printing Elephants.
Sir Richard Branson has launched Virgin Volcanic, on 1 April no less, promising to let people get to the centre of the earth and back via their nearest volcano.
"Only 500 people have been to space, only three people have been to the bottom of the ocean, but no one has ever attempted to journey to the core of an active volcano. Until now," reads the blurb on the fake website.
According to the site: "Virgin is proud to announce a revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, which will be capable of plunging three people into the molten lava core of an active volcano. In its first three years of operation, VVS1 will target the five most active volcanoes in the world: Etna, Stromboli, Yasur, Ambrym and Tinakula.
"Sir Richard Branson will go on the first expedition along with Tom Hanks, Academy Award winning actor and star of Joe Versus the Volcano; Black Eyed Peas recording artist and science enthusiast Will.i.am; actor/producer Seth Green; and two-time Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple.
Hungry Hippo iPad set
Thinkgeek are normally so good at April Fools' jokes that they end up becoming a reality. This year the online retailer has come up with the goods once again.
"In the late 1970s, a phenomenon swept the sporting world. A new game fell on the scene, one that created an international stir, world exhibitions, and a fever that can only be described as a "feeding frenzy." And that game was Hungry Hungry Hippos. Well, it's time to update this classic into the now with the Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippos iPad Game. Fully endorsed by the IHHHA (International Hungry Hungry Hippos Association), this game is the Hippo event of the century!" says the product blurb.
"Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippos iPad Game is everything you remember about HHH. All four hippos are present and hungry, except this time, the hippos fit over your iPad and the game board is an app! This adds oh-so-many gameplay features, such as: 10 different game boards, each with its own marble style.14 power-ups to make the game play even crazier.Three scoring modes: standard, Vegas, and Regulation Tournament.And hippo-loads more!"
Better still the company promises Hungry Hungry Hippos: Space!"
Honda Anti-Theft Negotiator
Terii, not to be confused with Siri, is Honda's anti-theft negotiator that will work out that someone is trying to break into your car and suggest they go else where with subtle suggestions like recommending a local pizza restaurant.
Flickr Your photos, re-envisioned!
"We’ve been working around the clock on our bold new design, destined to become the default view for all photos on Flickr – and we can’t wait to show it to you today!" Flickr says on its blog. "To try out the new look, click the computer icon with 2 dots at the bottom right of any photo page. This will be rolling out over the next 24 hours."
Doing so though means your photos or the photos you are viewing will be transported back to the 1980s.
"Your photos will be re-envisioned in a glorious black and white Atkinson Dither, removing the distraction of those many many megapixels and stripping your art back to its most original, naked, beautiful form. The new page design has been updated to match the new vintage aesthetic."
According to Flickr the site is "rolling this test out over the next 24 hours and then out as the default look in the coming weeks! Photography started in black and white, and we feel it’s time to take photo sharing back to its roots. Welcome to 2012, via the 1980s."
Google's self-driving NASCARs
"Ever since mankind could go fast, we have longed to go faster. And ever since we’ve done work, we have longed to have someone else, or something else, do that work for us." So starts the blog post from Google founder Sergey Brin.
"Well, our autonomous cars have now been test-driven (or rather, test-ridden) for more than 200,000 miles without a single machine-caused mishap. And today we're moving the project one great leap forward with Google Racing, a groundbreaking partnership with NASCAR to help self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing. We think the most important thing computers can do in the next decade is to drive cars — and that the most important thing Google Racing can do in the next decade is drive them, if possible, more quickly than anyone else. Or anything else."
Yes, that is Sergey Brin in the picture.
thumbsUp! Water Tight spray
Ever dropped a piece of electronics in the bath tub? Slipped and landed your phone in the sink? Well this one is for you. From thumbsUp! the Water Tight spray is designed to protect your gadgets from all sorts of wet with just one single application.
Using a chemical called Postelyne, the spray sticks to your gadgets and stops any water making contact with the internal workings. ThumbsUp! says it has been working hard to get the spray ready in time for the April showers season, when many of the worst water-related gadget incidents occur.
Annoying that this one isn’t for real, as it could be hugely useful. Don’t forget though, a substance like it isn’t far off. Remember HZO - a waterproofing tech that both Samsung and Apple were said to be looking at? It protects your phone using a nano-scale film barrier and lets you totally immerse it in water without adding any extra weight, cases or covers.
Skype for String
Ever wanted to make unlimited calls to your friends without requiring a computer, a mobile device or even a direct internet connection completely free?" reads the blog post from iPhoneinCanada.com. "Well then, today is your lucky day as Skype introduces Skype for String, an experimental version of Skype that doesn’t require a computer or internet and lets you make unlimited calls to your family and friends. Check out this handy guide on using Skype for String."
According to the article you can "Make audio calls. Add a contact by handing them a cup that’s connected to yours. Make a video call, as long as your friend is within eye sight. Skype for String will work with any cup and string, but for the best results, we suggest using a Skype certified set."
Designed to boost mobile phone signal for those in areas of poor reception, Gnomes 4u has been put together by handset retailer Phones 4u. Specially designed garden gnomes which are crammed full of ingenious signal boosting tech, can sit inconspicuously outside your house, bringing full bars of reception to your phone.
The gnomes use conventional gnome accessories, such as fishing rods disguised as aerials, to work their signal-boosting magic. Wi-Fi signals can also be beamed out to your garden using the gnomes special "beard band" tech.
A special VIG release of the gnomes will be available from the Phones 4u store in Oxford Street on 1 April. These "very important gnomes" consist of miniaturised version of celebrities with names like Angeline Gnomely and the cast of The Gnomely Way is Essex.
Again irritating this isn’t real, would be hugely useful for those with poor signal. Then again, if you are on Vodafone, you could always grab a Sure Signal, which tends to boost most reception woes at home.
Morse code for your gmail input. Just two keys, oh and spacebar. Who needs fancy keyboards like Swiftkey anyway.
Just thinking about how slow this would be scares us. Next we'll be hearing that Nokia is bringing out a T9 Windows Phone.
RH-1 Anamorphic lens for Canon DSLRs
The DSLR is a bit of a movie-makers favourite of late. Problem is, it doesn’t shoot in a format quite right for cinema. To fix this, Robinson Hope Creative, a photographer and film-maker, has put together a special anamorphic lens, which is around twice as wide as any other wide-angle lens on the market, with no distortion.The f2.8 lens is made out of a smash resistant polymer and is said to hit the market at less than $600.
We really like the idea of the RH-1, especially if we had something like the Philips 16:9 television to watch video shot with it on. Not quite sure how you would get this one to work in reality but still, we can dream.
Darth Vader keeps kids happy in the car
The heavy breathing box-headed man himself allegedly keeps kids a lot happier in the car, at least this is according to surveys carried out by TomTom. His navigation voice raises happiness in young ones by an average 68 per cent. Put together as part of project GAGA, 300 kids were tested with the Darth voice and nearly 70 per cent were silenced by the sounds of Lord Vader.
Children aged six months to two years are most susceptible to the influences of Vader's soft tones. The Star Wars villain defeated the likes of Homer Simpson and Yoda to the top spot.
Although the idea of the voice silencing kids is a complete load of piffle, you can get hold of different navigation voices for your Tom Tom. Take a look at what is available here.
Carphone Warehouse i-Shield
Another April Fool designed to bring protection to your beloved phone. Carphone Warehouse has come up with an idea for the i-Shield, a sort of inflatable air bag for your phone, in case you drop it by accident. The idea is to stick the shield on to the bottom of the handset and then - whenever it registers it has been dropped - a giant clear-plastic balls inflates around it.
Using what is called Air Flow Diagnosis, the i-Shield can detect air velocity increasing when dropped from a height of one metre. An app then activates the air bag. It costs £10 and is unfortunately a one-shot only affair as, once inflated, you need to pop it to get at your phone.
A good idea definitely, especially given that feeling you get when you drop a phone and you know you have broken it. A butterfingers' delight then. Shame its not real.
Google Chrome Multitask mode
"Multitask Mode lets you have access to multiple mice at the same time, so you can make a chess move while you watch a dance move, or draw a horse while you draw on a friend for relationship advice," writes Google in yet another April Fools' joke from the search giant - it has over 11 this year.
"Chrome can handle as many mice, touchpads, styli, joysticks, trackballs, and other pointing devices as you can plug into your computer, so you and your friends can browse dozens of sites at the same time."
Sounds confusing doesn't it?
You have to be a serious fool to fall for this one, but we love it all the same. The Dubstepladder from Firebox.com is basically a way to generate noisy wubwub sounds as you clean your windows. Describes as "more Skrillex than screwfix", the ladder works by pressure-sensitive rungs, each programmed to play bass-heavy grime whenever you put your foot on them.
So totally absurd we know, but can you imagine the fun you could have with this thing if it were real? There is an LED flash on every step to keep things ravey and safe rubber grip surfaces on each so you don't fall and have a nasty dubstep-related accident. Silly but brilliant.
O2 On and On smartphone with 1000-hour talk time
Phone batteries are rubbish. We all complain about the need to recharge our smartphones overnight or how they run flat after less than a day's playtime. O2 wants to fix this with what they say is a handset capable of 1000 hours talk time, or 91 days on standby.
The O2 On and On, built to complement the new tariffs of the same name, is an Android handset with camera and Wi-Fi. Not a lot on the internal workings of the phone, or its secrets to such a lengthy battery life. Then again it's not real, so we aren't sure why we want to know. Stop teasing us with this battery-free fun O2! Also it looks absolutely massive.
Conan O'Brien buys Mashable, ousts Pete Cashmore
Following the rumour, that never happened by the way, that CNN was to buy social news site Mashable, the site has gone with the April Fools' rumour that American talk show host Conan O'Brien has bought the site and ousted its founder Pete Cashmore.
"Hello, fellow Mashables. It’s Conan O’Brien, and I’ve got big news. Two hours ago, I purchasedMashable.com. I’ve taken it over. Why did I take it over? Very simple reason," says O'Brien.
The price? 35-hundred smackroos.
Hello, fellow Mashables. It’s Conan O’Brien, and I’ve got big news. Two hours ago, I purchasedMashable.com. I’ve taken it over. Why did I take it over? Very simple reason.
YouTube Collection on DVD
In an ode to the days of old, YouTube will be releasing a series of Collections on DVD no less. The DVDs are available by category and offer things like Viral Highlights or Makeup Tutorials. Of course what YouTube perhaps doesn't realise is that Channel 4 already do this with Rude Tube.Oh dear.
Jessops Balattro noPod - the first hover tripod
A Jessops exclusive of course, the balattro noPod is - if you believe the newsletter - a game-changing tripod that enabled your camera to hover when taking pictures.
Yours for £145 the noPod uses Maglev technology to hover your camera saving you the hassle of packing a standard large and chunky tripod.
Stuff.tv somehow has managed to get a 42-inch iPad in the office for Lucy Hedges to play with. Impressive.
Google Street Roo
Google in Australia has launched Google Street Roo in an attempt to capture the Outback.
"The cameras on our Street Roo collection team will be powered by solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets. Images will be wired to Google in real-time. A GPS tracker embedded into the jacket will match the location of the kangaroo to ensure the image is accurately uploaded onto the new Street View layer," says the team who've come up with the idea.
"The deployment of the ‘roo force’ will begin today and we believe 98 per cent of the Australian outback will be captured on Google Maps within three years."
New technology is being developed that will deliver targeted adverts and discounts based on conversations "heard" by televisions, according to MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.
The new tech promises that adverts and retailer discounts will be intelligently delivered dependent on key words used within the vicinity of the television.
According to the prank, during initial testing, consumers have proven more likely to act upon the advert, by either purchasing or visiting the brand’s website or social media profiles, if it relates to their conversation. The technology has been in development for more than three years and will be available to manufacturers before the end of 2012.
Following in the same footsteps as Gmail Tap, Swiftkey Mono is a new update to the popular Swiftkey keyboard for Android smarpthones.
"Here at SwiftKey we like to listen to our customers. We talk to you on Twitter, chat to you on Facebook, we have a VIP Community for in-depth conversations and testing out new features and functionality, and we have our public feedback forum where you can let us know what new features you’d like us to introduce," stars the Swiftkey April Fools.
According to Swiftkey the most requested feature is a bigger spacebar, so that's exactly what the company has said it has delivered.
"The top most-requested feature in our feedback forum is a longer spacebar. You asked for it, you got it! In fact, there’s nothing BUT spacebar! This is the longest that a spacebar can possibly be!"
We know Swiftkey is good, but it isn't that good.
Barbie Digital Fashion Styling Head for iPad
Another one from ThinkGeek, this time you get to turn your iPad in to a face for Barbie to style.
"Styling head available for the Original iPad and iPad2/3.Comes with brush for styling hair and four touch-capacitve makeup accessories, free Barbie DreamSync Fashion Styling App Available for Android and iOS and if that wasn't enough the purchase supposedly includes 100MB of free storage on the Barbie CloudCastle Network.
If you've got a daughter you'll never get to see your iPad again.
Star Wars Admiral Ackbar Singing Bass
Why have a dead fish on your wall when you can have a dead General Ackbar Singing Bass says ThinkGeek. The Ackbar Singing Bass plays the Cantina Song and says, “It's a trap!” when it springs to life at the press of a button or when motion is detected.
Catblock lets you see cats instead of ads on the internet
Adblock turned its ad blocker app for Chrome and Safari to Catblock on April Fool's Day forcing you to see cats instead of ads on 1 April after the owner's cat hacked into the system.
"Every cat you see in CatBlock is an ad that I've been silently blocking for you. So I agree with her that you should pay some money to help me keep AdBlock going! I promise I'll send you a thank you note (or more, depending on how much you pay)," said the creator of Adblock, trying to garner some cash from the April Fools' stunt.
Assassin's Creed for Kinect
Yep Assassin's Creed is back. Not for the instalment we previewed a couple of weeks ago, but a fully interactive experience for Kinect. Now you can paraglide, rope walk and a whole host of other stuff, all from your living room.
Yep, creators Hawk and Gamble might have rented a RED camera to film the gag, but it's all a lie.
Toshiba Shapes Tablet
Toshiba, not concerned at having a range of concept tablets in a varietyof different sizes, used April Fools' 2012 to state that they were launching yet another range - Toshiba Shapes.
"Don’t let right angles and straight edges limit your tablet experience. You’re unique and your tablet should be too. With Shapes by Toshiba, we’ve got something for everyone," reads the dedicated area of the US Toshiba website.
Those looking for something not rectangle can opt for Oblong, Rhombus, and Amore shaped tablets, just don't ask us how you are supposed to watch a movie or play Angry Birds.
Any other April Fools you have spotted? Let us know in the comments below ...