Ahead of Sunday, April 1st – more commonly known the world over as April Fools Day – we thought we’d take you on a trip back over recent years to recap some of the best tech and gadget-related pranks and stunts which fooled many but the most sceptical of us, and as a taster of what mayhem might be in store in from our favourite companies this year!
GOOGLE BECOMES “TOPEKA”
Back in early 2010, Topeka, the capital city of the State of Kansas, U.S.A, decided it would change its name and adopt that of the internet giant and software maker Google as its own. A short time later, on April 1st no less, Google decided it would return the gesture by renaming its popular search site Topeka.
The banner which usually greets web-surfers was replaced by the new name. When Google even went so far as to post a photo of its California HQ with signage changed to match the new name, rumour became serious speculation – that is until Google revealed the jest and announced that the switch-a-roo was all just a prank!
APPLE iPHONE MACBOOK DOCKiPhone 5, which also appeared in the elaborate mock-up. The phone featured a full width display and appeared on the website alongside an 11-inch MacBook featuring an empty groove in the body beneath the keyboard which would house the future Apple mobile.
The story went on to tell us that the docking station would not only charge the iPhone but would utilise the MacBook as a secondary, larger screen for the iPhone, allowing the mobile to connect with the laptop’s connections such as USB ports and HDMI output.
Much of the description didn’t suggest much realism and the design of the MacBook, on second thought, did appear a little ergonomically unfeasible – that’s because this was all an April Fools ruse and the Apple crossover was never meant to be!
NOKIA TO BUY HTC?
Also in 2011, after unexpectedly announcing it would drop its native Symbian OS and hook up with Microsoft to manufacture Windows Phones, it was revealed that Finnish mobile-maker Nokia would be purchasing its rival HTC!
Again, this was April 1st – but the prank was legitimised by the appearance of a personal and coffee-stained note sent from the desk of Nokia Boss Stephen Elop to Microsoft’s eccentric CEO Steve Ballmer which “leaked” online. The note read of secret meetings between the Elop’s and Ballmer’s clans and the sharing of not only “lovely dinners” but also of “what we discussed about the HTC acquisition” – confirming the purchase of Android phone supporter HTC, giving the range a “makeover” and forcing the Taiwanese co. to produce only Windows Phones.
HTC would later make Windows Phones including the Titan and Radar, but this under its own steam. Unsurprisingly no deal to be bought out by Nokia ever surfaced!
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA MOVIE TRAILER
IGN.com got us excited in 2008 with its “World Exclusive” first trailer for a movie adaptation of the classic Nintendo game, The Legend of Zelda. The 3 minute clip was truly stunning, showing off the world of the Hyrule Kingdom in a way we’d never seen before, as well as familiar characters such as the heroic Link, Princess Zelda herself and the villainous Ganon.
The music in the Legend of Zelda movie trailer was inspired by the epic music of the games and the lavish sets and visuals seen in the clip looked to rival that of Lord of The Rings. The plot also appeared to reference several of the previous Zelda game storylines including themes played out in the ever-popular Ocarina of Time.
Heartbreakingly, the whole thing was just a stunt for April Fools – but left us waiting with baited breath for an announcement of a real Zelda movie. Sadly four years later we’re still waiting!
GOOGLE GMAIL MOTION
“A new way to communicate” – declared Google on April 1st 2011, introducing an innovative motion control function to its Gmail service which would allow users to control their incoming and outgoing mail by gesture captured through their PC or Laptop’s webcam.
Google set up a whole page dedicated to selling the new idea and even produced a video to show how it would work as practical application. “The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion – now you can control Gmail with your body” said the pitch.
Sounds pretty feasible, right? But as a gauntly looking fellow demonstrates the motions required to perform tasks such as replying to an email (thumbs up) and to reply to all (two thumbs up – clearly) the realisation sunk in that we were being played! Other gestures included sending a message by making a motion as if you were licking a stamp, and slapping it down on your thigh. Others required lunges and other daft motions. As the video continued the game was up – this was another prank by Google!
We have to wonder what clever and elaborate April Fools stunts the tech world will have to offer this year, but it’s hard to top some of the frankly implausible gadget related stories which really did surface in the past 12 months – Who would believe that that the new Android OS would be called Ice Cream Sandwich – or even that Angry Birds would take over the world..??