April Fools' Day 2014: The best stories from around the web
Today's the day to keep an eye out for whoopee cushions on seats and (hopefully) joke dog turds in fridges. But April Fools' Day isn't only about physical practical jokes anymore, the internet has becomes riddled with tricksters too.
Last year we had companies pumping good advertising budget into April Fools' jokes. From YouTube closing and Ikea selling flat-pack lawnmowers to Virgin's glass-bottomed plane and the Tesco Value 3D Food Printer.
This year the tomfoolery is still going strong. We've rounded up the best laughs so far and will be updating throughout the day with new ones as they come in, so check back often.
Flux Capacitor Car Charger
Like many of ThinkGeek's April Fools' jokes over the years, here's one we reckon we'll see as a genuine product in the next year or so.
Designed for Back to the Future fans, the Flux Capacitor Car Charger plugs into a cars cigarette lighter port and offers two USB charging ports, each of which, claim ThinkGeek, provides 2.1 amps - enough to charge two tablet devices simultaneously.
We know plenty of people who would kill for one of these for real. Even in Pocket-lint towers.
You can check out the ThinkGeek page here.
Another of ThinkGeek's that we love is the Nerf Nuke, Nerf blaster ammo that can be fired from a rocket launcher to basically end all Nerf battles.
The bomb-shaped device gets towards its target and then expels 80 Nerf darts in "every direction". Hilarious.
It does come with a safety warning, of course: "Do not fire the NERF Nuke at humans, children, pets, wild animals, trees, the elderly, faces, ghosts, or in very confined spaces. Always wear safety glasses, knee pads, and other forms of protection."
Like US gadgeteers ThinkGeek, Brit firm Firebox is a fine crafter of the April Fools' Day gag too, with several adorning its online retail site this morning. And we love this particular one, Cranston Pickle, based on Breaking Bad.
Essentially, it's Branston Pickle but with a sky blue colour like the famed meth in the show. And it's got a Heisenberg pork pie hat on top for good measure (which is even more apt considering that pork pies and pickle go rather well).
"It possesses a distinctive and curiously addictive flavour, so if you've not tried this potent pickle before, maybe your best course is to spread lightly," says Firebox.
Check it out on the site here.
Katie Hopkins' Talking Head
US Pocket-lint readers won't have a clue who Katie Hopkins is and, to be honest, they are the lucky ones. The former British Apprentice runner-up and professional snob has been rather outspoken on UK TV shows and in newspapers of late, rubbing people up the wrong way with her clearly misguided opinions.
Firebox has therefore come up with the idea of an automated Katie Hopkins' Talking Head, that's ideal for filling your home with the sort of offensive dribble that genuinely flows from her real-world mouth.
Phrases such as, "Would I employ you if you were obese? No I would not. You would give the wrong impression to the clients of my business," "Ginger babies. Just so much harder to love," and, "A name, for me, is a short way of working out what class that child comes from," are just a few of the 5,000 cringe-worthy quotes on offer.
A great gag overall by Firebox - that's "available" here - but something tells us that the attention-grabbing minor celebrity might love all the publicity a bit too much.
Google Chrome adds Emoji translate for Android and iOS
Google's Chrome team has gone to town on its April Fools' joke this year. It claims to have added Emoji support for the Chrome browser experience on Android and iOS.
The apps, it says, will now translate web pages into Emojis for the purpose of making them faster to read.
"Simply tap on the menu icon and select the “Translate to Emoji” option. Tap “Reload” to view the original page," it says. Sadly though, it's not real. Still, the video's funny.
Google+ Auto Awesome Photobombs with The Hoff
Another of Google's many gags for the day comes from the Google+ team. It claims that the Auto Awesome feature for the iOS or Android Google+ apps now includes photobombing by celebrities.
The first celeb, it says, to sign up is none other than The Hoff himself, David Hasselhoff.
Upload a self-portrait or group photo and leave some room for "everyone's favourite crime-fighting rockstar lifeguard" and he might appear - making it a little more #Hoffsome, it is said.
What's great about this April Fools' joke is that it actually works. For today at least.
Nokia 3310 Windows Phone 8 makeover
We moan that Windows Phone doesn’t have more than two rows of tiles. Clearly Nokia has its priorities right this 1 April; its re-visit of the classic Nokia 3310 squeezes the operating system into the screen’s curvaceous edges, curved tiles included.
This April Fools’ Day makeover also nabs the 41-megapixel camera as found in the top-spec Lumia 1020. Although we’re not sure which key in the not-so-classic button arrangement would be meant to fire the shutter.
Very silly. Although if such a phone came to market we suspect it’d be a bit of a hit with the hipsters. But let’s focus on tablets with more tile rows for now, ok Nokia?
HTC Gluuv beta
Ever wanted to look like a futuristic Michael Jackson spaceman? HTC seemingly has the answer with its Gluuv smartphone-meets-glove device. If it can be called a device. Let’s just call it a thing.
”Imagine the power of complete smartphone creative freedom. Now imagine that freedom in the shape of a glove.” Yes, it’s just what we always wanted too.
The Gluuv is designed to integrate with the new HTC One, but also features an 87.2-megapixel camera on the back of the hand for the ultimate “armie selfie”.
Perhaps our favourite feature is the Protekt app. It’s the symbol of a knuckle duster. Yeah, HTC just went there. Phone fight!
It's only a matter of time before we get a smartphone-controlled smart iron, such is the way of the Internet of Things. But this isn't it. This is another of Brit-gadget retailer Firebox's April Fools' Day shenanigans.
The Firebox "exclusive" can iron clothes from anywhere in a room, controlled by your smartphone, and even comes with an alarm feature to tell you when your clothes are freshly pressed. Thankfully, there's an auto shut-down switch to stop you burning your garments and smart material detection sets the correct temperature "every time".
We particularly love the "Lazy Linen" mode that, a bit like a robot vacuum cleaner, allows you to trace a path on the app for your I-Ron to follow.
Check out the Firebox page here.
Cats by Opera
It seems the Opera web browser has finally found a user base. But not in humans. Instead it’s the internet’s current favourite stars: cats.
Those furry felines need to facilitate their very own memes and general silliness and Cats by Opera is the browser to accommodate. Just make sure that smart device features Gorilla Glass or the scratch-and-swipe feature might be a little bit of a problem.
SwiftKey Flow Hard
"Flow Hard or go home" is the tag line for SwiftKey's new smart typing interface for keyboards. Much like its touchscreen counterpart, this system will let users slide their digits about a real keyboard to type up to 257 per cent faster.
Joe Braidwood, SwiftKey’s chief marketing officer, said: "With Flow Hard, you can enjoy double the productivity at work, in under half the time - with half the hands. This is a radical new direction for not only typing technology, but for everyone who slaves away at a computer or laptop on a daily basis. Sure, Flow Hard might hurt from time to time, or even give you blisters, but in testing we’ve seen up to 257 per cent gains in efficiency and that’s what really matters. Flow Hard or go home."
Nokia's HERE Maps has come up with an alternative to mobile phone navigation apps and electronic systems. HERE Papyrus offers people a "physical companion to HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit."
Yep, it's a traditional paper map. Like the ones we used before the advent of satellite navigation systems and smartphones.
Although Nokia does go one step further, by adding augmented reality to the experience.
"We have taken the lauded feature of the digital app and overlaid this information onto our HERE Papyrus paper maps, meaning urban explorers can see their synched collections, discover major landmarks and points of interest by simply holding HERE Papyrus directly in front of them,” said Sehr Gefälschte, HERE Papyrus product manager.
Made from tear-proof polymer paper, HERE Papyrus won't be coming to a store near you soon.
BMW Sleeping Machine
BMW has expanded its lineup to include the BMW ZZZ Series Cot. To go along with the product launch, the car firm has released a rather cute video advert with lots of engine roars and pans of a leather interior.
But instead of seeing a sleek new car at the end of the video, an "Ultimate Sleeping Machine" is revealed. It's a baby cot that "embodies the spirit of The Ultimate Driving Machine".
The BMW ZZZ is a fusion of German engineering and advanced technology that will help your baby "sleep better, for longer, in safety and comfort," according to BMW. Of course, the BMW ZZZ isn't real, so you can't give your baby a premium nursery experience, but it's still funny nonetheless.
BMW also published a dedicated website for the fake product, so you can check out all the imaginary features and specs.
Personalised climate control at 35,000 feet
According to Richard Branson and Tony Fadell, Virgin America and Nest are teaming up to offer "travellers personalised climate control at 35,000 feet. Virgin America is the first airline to introduce this feature, with every seat enjoying settings ranging from ‘Cancun Afternoon’ to ‘Chicago Polar Vortex’".
As the blog post announcing the move says: "Why should you have to wait to arrive at your vacation destination to enjoy tropical weather, when you can turn the heat up from your very own seat? This is the biggest aircraft seat breakthrough since Virgin introduced seatback entertainment 20 years ago."
Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite for your own living room
Not content with one April Fools' Day joke, Virgin Atlantic has sent Flying Club customers a second. "Now you can enjoy the comfort of Upper Class in your own home," it says.
It claims to be putting its Upper Class Suite on sale in the high street so you can install one for your own home.
"Prepare to be spoilt rotten. Lie back on the super–sumptuous leather, watch the glorious built–in TV and when your glass needs a refill simply press the button and as if by magic a totally gorgeous and utterly glamorous member of our cabin crew will appear," the email promises. Tickled us certainly.
Canon EOS Smart 1 Phone
According to the unknown prankser at Canon Rumours, Canon is about to launch a smartphone that will come with a 20-megapixel camera. The rather ugly looking device, which has been Photoshopped from a Tag Heur smartphone from the past, is supposedly going to pack KitKat and a stack of fairly average specs.
We all like taking selfies, starts Gmail's April Fools' prank. It then goes on to say that many find it hard to share them with others.
"As the pioneering platform for selfies, Gmail is committed to being at the forefront of innovation in the selfie space. And we think it's a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox. Until now, that is."
Gmail's answer? Gmail Shelfie, the SHareable sELFIE.
According to Google, the "Gmail Shelfie is built on the idea that you shouldn’t be selfish with your selfie. With just a few clicks, your mom, your aunt, or that girl you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background."
Google Japanese Input magic hand
Google, if you hadn't worked it out, is a big fan of the April Fools' joke. Google Japan has come up with "Google Japanese Input magic hand", an innovative device that offers more comfortable operation on the touch panel and saves you from touching the screen. Yeah, we don't fully get it either.
Pokémon takes over Google Maps
Google has published a video advert for a Nintendo Pokémon game that involves Google Maps. As you can see in the video below, Google claims you can now use your smartphone to see cartoon, battle-ready Pokémon appear in front of you. Magic!
Don't get too excited. This is an April Fools' Day joke, after all. Such advanced augmented reality gaming obviously isn't capable on your smartphone just yet, but Google will still let you actually catch 150 Pokémon with Google Maps.
"Dozens of wild Pokémon have taken up residence on streets, amidst forests and atop mountains throughout Google Maps," explained Google. "To catch 'em all, grab your Poké Ball and the newest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android. Then tap the search bar, press start, and begin your quest."
Use The Force paint
Online retailer The Fowndry is touting paint that enables users to slap a Wi-Fi boosting antenna on any wall. Inspired by Star Wars this Feel The Force paint will come in two colours to boost any Wi-Fi signal.
The science behind this feat is being kept as a secret, for obvious reasons. The paint will come in Light Side (Hoth White) and Dark Side (Carbonite) variations for £35 per tin.
While this is all a joke, there has been talk of this technology coming soon so don't be surprised if you see a less fool-focus paint in the near future.
Domino's edible pizza box
If a large Domino's pizza isn't quite enough for some people, Domino's can help with an edible box option, which it calls Edibox. The pizza chain says this isn't just to fill people up but also to solve the old problem of cramming that square box into a round bin.
The packaging, Domino's says, "is made using our patented crust technology, the Edibox is perfect for sharing, tearing and dipping."
Give Domino's a call and ask for an Edibox upgrade to your pizza tonight and see what happens.
Peugeot personalised car horn
Drivers will be able to customise their car horn noise, claims Peugeot's Fools' gag. A choice of tones will be available as well as the option to create new sounds for the car horn. The Audio Sonic Horns can even be chosen from a driver's smartphone.
Want to save a blue message to tell other road users what you think of them? No problem, just upload it to the car and your screaming swear words will be but a horn press away.
"Birdsong or Bach, Jazz Trumpet or Dubstep, the only limit will be our customers’ imaginations," commented Orvil Pondaiss, Peugeot’s new head of audio sonic personalisation, who tested the technology using sounds that include his own four-year-old son laughing.
Ocado 42-inch tablet
Online food retailer Ocado claims to be about to launch the world's largest tablet, at a whopping 42-inches. Users will be able to lug the telly-sized tab about the house for a full hour before the battery dies, apparently.
The 42-inch sLablet, as it's dubbed, is designed to help users escape the conformity of the usual sized slate on offer with its mighty 4K screen. Neil Simmons, vice president of Ocado technology's quadro-fabricated division said: "The market for tablets of this size is literally massive. Precision-engineered and weighing in at a svelte 35,000 grams, the sLablet has been designed with every consumer in mind, from David Haye to Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson."
The press release adds: "Its next generation 12-megapixel HD camera features image stabilisation so muscle spasms induced by holding the sLablet don’t ruin users’ selfies."
Ryan Lipowitz, head of technological innovational-innovations at Ocado technology rounded off the gag: "We found that 80 per cent of the time, 40 per cent of people needed a device that had 120 per cent the power of desktop, 12 per cent of the time. Once you hold one in your arms you will understand what an incredible advancement this is, delivering all-lunch battery life in the biggest full-sized tablet in the world."
Orbotix, makers of smartphone-controlled orb Sphero, have created SelfieBot. This flying orb is able to take the perfect selfie photos by hovering next to a user, always ready to grab a shot.
The company says: "Unlike our other robots, SelfieBot is fully autonomous, sentient and capable of flight. Forged from cutting-edge technology and programmed with advanced artificial intelligence, its primary objective is to hover at your side, recording your life in high definition detail. Forever."
To say the tag line "always watching... for life's precious moments" scares the pants off us would be an understatement. But that's all part of the joke, which works well in the video. While this is a good laugh now the thought of drones like this, that'll probably be here soon, is pretty sobering.
Wi-Fi coverage for public use is in need of an upgrade, so Samsung says it's going to fix the problem by enlisting the help of London pigeons.
Those in England's capital city will be able to connect to Fli-Fy, currently being tested using 50 birds loaded with lightweight, water-proof Fli-Fy micro-routers.
Tim Verhoeven, project director of Samsung innovation labs explained: "This is about thinking laterally - using one nuisance, pigeons, to fix another, a lack of Wi-Fi. It is a breakthrough of sorts but of course pigeons have always been at the forefront of mobile communications technology. From the sixth century BC, pigeons have been used as the fastest and most reliable way to send messages over great distances. As you’re never far from a pigeon in London, we think this idea could really take off."
Trials should start in the Piccadilly area as pigeon heat maps show that's the most densely bird populated zone capable of offering the best signal strength.
Ralf Lopio, senior pigeon engineer at Samsung added: "Pigeons have a natural inbuilt GPS function called ‘homing’ and are non-migratory so we won’t lose signal in the winter. They are also natural conductors of electricity because they have hollow bones. This means they will be able to recharge the micro-routers when they perch on power lines."
Like Samsung, Australian internet provider iinet has come up with the idea of mobilising broadband connectivity through strapping Wi-Fi tech to animals - in this case a family pet.
The concept is remarkably simple; strap a Wi-Fi hotspot and modem to a pet's collar, pop that on your cat and dog and you'll have access to the internet whenever your moggy or pooch are around.
A 4G hotspot is available in harness form, which can even be strapped to a "pet pig or ponies". And iinet has listed price plans per pet, including a AU$69.95 bundle for a Pet-Fi Hamster that offers 250GB, rising to AU$109.95 for a 1TB dog.
Morphsuits are just a bit of fun to be had, generally at a sporting event. Until now. Finally, invisibility has been achieved with this space-science-smart suit. Ex-NASA scientist Mark Rober has developed a suit that makes its wearer invisible.
The Hollow Man Morphsuit, as it's called, "consists of an engineered material fused with spandex, thousands of micro-LEDs and mirrors, and dozens of small cameras capturing required angles to ‘project through’ the wearer". If Harry Potter's invisibility cloak is basically real, does that mean magic is here too?
Virgin Active Smarty Pants
The Smarty Pants are the latest monitoring gadgets to join the craze of wearbles. This bum-hugging device, developed by Virgin Active, counts the number of cheek squeezes achieved during the day, on the quest for the best botty.
The device is fitted with a streamline sensor that hugs the wearer’s glutes to record each clench. A Clench Counter is situated in the waistband to allow the user to keep track of the number of clenches they have done.
Tong Incheek, from Virgin Active said: "The nation’s obsession with twerking, Kim Kardashian and the ‘Belfie’ mean that 2014 is undoubtedly the year of the bottom. Never have bottoms had so much media attention and as a result, Brits are demanding ways to ensure their butts are in as pert as possible. Wristbands that count miles might be smart, but the newest and most innovative trends in wearable tech focus on specific muscle groups such as the glutes. The SmartyPants are the first in a long line of tech we have in development, we hope to bring out Pec-tometer T-shirts and Bicep-ometer Vests by next April."
Google Glass Solo
Say hello to the Google Glass Solo, an attempted revamp of Google Glass for April Fools. It's a monocle with a lanyard, and it addresses the problem of social ostracism. It can also be tucked under your waistcoat pocket for lordly discretion.
You can learn more about the first device in the Glass OLE (one lens experience) family by checking out this Pocket-lint feature: Google Glass Solo looks to cure 'glasshole' woes. Ideal for hipsters? You bet'cha.
BMW G-force technology
Not done with April Fools' Day just yet, BMW has announced it patented an artificial G-force technology called Force Injection Booster. It simulates the effects of driving at high speed to create a "thrilling ride".
The Force Injection Booster extracts kinetic energy from the car’s engine, converts it into positive g-forces, then channels the effect directly at the driver and passengers through the air conditioning vents with a mild electric current delivered through the front seats. Wow. We'd have to agree that this technology certainly seems, um, thrilling.
BMW's G-force technology will be available across the BMW range from 1 April. The company said face alteration is not permanent. Phew!
Tea-powered Mini Cooper T
BMW must love April Fools, because its Mini scientists and engineers have unveiled the new Mini Cooper T. It’s a vehicle powered by a tea-leaf biofuel composite and it'll be available in a variety of colours like Chamomile Yellow, Red Bush, and Earl Grey.
The Cooper T is great for Brits, because it can go 40 miles on a single cup of tea. It also features DAT or Dunk Avoidance Technology and stops “peckish owners and opportunistic passersby” from inserting biscuits into the Mini T’s fuel tank in order to “moisten their snacks”.
For further information about the Mini Cooper T, visit Mini UK’s Facebook page.
Expel Your Partner
Chester-based Aaron & Partners' law team has developed a new app for April Fools that allows people in a "partnership agreement" to expel one of their partners.
Specifically, the app enables you to "bypass a potentially lengthy legal and expensive process by simply ‘swiping’ the unwanted partner out of the agreement." So, how does the Expel Your Partner app actually work?
Simply upload a photo of the partner you want to expel, then swipe the screen, and that individual will literally be out of the picture. The app also allows you to decide between a variety of "interesting, exciting and gratuitously absurd means of expulsion."
Trim Jong-Un Kit
And finally, this is perhaps one of our favourites this year. Not tech-related exactly, but is another from serial April Fools' joke creator and gadget retailer Firebox. It's the Trim Jong-Un Kit.
Yes, you too can look like the hugely popular leader of North Korea for just £19.99. You get a bowl, clippers and a comb for your money and the rest is easy.
"Just place the included bamboo bowl over your head and then use the trimmers to shave around it. Apply some thick syrupy gel (or spit) to your hair and then part in the centre with the comb," says Firebox. You'll be all the rage at parties.
Check out the page here.
If you spot any we've missed less us know in the comments below and we'll add the best ones in above.