5 of the most unconventional Android devices ever launched

5 of the most unconventional Android devices ever launched
Due to its open nature, Android is the perfect operating system for companies to integrate on innovative, unconventional devices. Although most modern devices fail to differentiate themselves in terms of features, it turns out that the history of the Android ecosystem is full of unusual smartphones and tablets.

In this article, we'll take a look at the 5 best unconventional Android devices ever launched. Do note that the devices are not listed in any particular order, and that this is far from being an exhaustive list of the unconventional droids. 

Feel free to drop us a comment in the section below and talk about the unconventional devices that you favor. 

Kyocera Echo


Back in 2011, Kyocera decided that a phone with just one screen can get boring fast. Enter the Kyocera Echo, the world's first dual-screen smartphone.

The Kyocera Echo - available in the US as a Sprint exclusive - came with two separate 3.5-inch displays that could be used either together or independently. For instance, you could make the two displays work in tablet mode, where they function as a single 4.7-inch screen. Alternatively, the user could run two distinct apps on the two displays, one of the first shots at true multitasking on a smartphone.

Although an innovative device, the Android 2.2 Froyo-based Kyocera Echo was plagued by poor battery life, an awful build quality, and tons of lag. For more details about the handset, make sure to check out our Kyocera Echo review.

Since we're at the dual-screen segment of this article, it should be noted that, just months after the Echo was launched, Sony came along and introduced the Sony Tablet P, the first dual-screen tablet. 



Samsung Galaxy S6 edge


Samsung, as one of the world's leaders in mobile display technology, is heavily invested in curved-screen smartphones, having launched a bunch of them in the past couple of years. The first curved-screen Samsung phone was the Samsung Galaxy Round, a high-end phone with beastly specs and a horizontally curved display. The Galaxy Round was the first of its kind, but it was also a limited-edition phone that only few people were able to get their hands on.

Fortunately for the rest of us, Samsung did not settle with a vertically curved smartphone and has since launched the Galaxy Note Edge, the first phone with a curved edge, the Galaxy S6 edge, the first phone with dual curved edges, as well as the Galaxy S6 edge+. All of these newer Samsung phones were mass-produced and available for purchase in most markets around the globe.

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Sharp RoBoHon


Unconventional doesn't even begin to describe the Sharp RoBoHon, essentially a small, cute robot that's also a smartphone.

Unlike any other smartphone, the Sharp RoBoHon is designed to act much like a humanoid assistant. Although the RoBoHon is operated primarily through voice commands, it also comes with a tiny display that can be used just like any Android smartphone. The RoBoHon can even follow you around a bit, and also integrates a pico-projector, just like the next device on our list.

The Sharp RoBoHon will launch in Japan during the first half of 2016. We know we're interested in the odd experiment, how about you?



Samsung Galaxy Beam


Although smartphone displays have evolved towards larger form factors - hello, phablets! - over the past few years, the limited screen real estate usually restricts our experience when it comes to watching movies and shows in the company of friends and family. Back in 2011, Samsung came up with a partial solution to this constraint, and launched the Galaxy Beam, the world's first smartphone to integrate a pico-projector.

The 15-lumen pico-projector on the Samsung Galaxy Beam was able to mirror the smartphone screen at a resolution of 640 by 360 pixels. While it didn't feature the crispest resolution, especially considering the large diagonal size of the projected "screen", the Galaxy Beam added a little spice to the Android ecosystem. While it looks like projector-ready smartphones have failed to take off, at least the idea is already out there for manufacturers to improve on and for customers to grow fond of.

For more details about the pros and cons of the handset, head on over to the full Samsung Galaxy Beam review.



LG G Flex


We've already talked about curved-screen smartphones, but it turns out that Samsung's cross-town rival, LG, has quite a unique and unconventional phone series as well. The original LG G Flex landed back in 2013 with two very unconventional features: an horizontally-curved display that can actually flex (hence the name) as well a back cover that can automatically heal from minor scratches.

The follow-up product, the LG G Flex 2 maintains both of these features, but improves on the product overall through a more compact form factor, a sharper display, as well as much faster internal hardware.

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16 Comments

1. thowersome

Posts: 34; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

RoboHoN, my type of flagship device

5. hafini_27

Posts: 951; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

I would buy it if it were gaoranger robot.

2. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

NEC Medias? ??

3. 8ozchickenbreast unregistered

Still a fan of the G Flex, regardless of what people say about it.

13. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

It is a great device. I think it has performed the best of any Android phone I have been associated with. LG made a winner.

4. chocowii

Posts: 478; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Xperia play would be a good addition to the list. The title said ever launched, but that robot Android is yet on 2016. Defeats the purpose of the title tho.

14. snowgator

Posts: 3621; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

My son had the Play. He loved it. It had the clearest call quality of any phone I have used on several years.

6. askarak

Posts: 23; Member since: Aug 25, 2015

What about Sony's flipping tablet? (One of its earliest versions)

7. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

note edge is more unconventional than s6 edge

15. cnpthe3rd

Posts: 103; Member since: Feb 01, 2009

and the note edge the "edge" is actually a usable feature not sure why samsung changed it on the s6 ones

8. AndyYan

Posts: 84; Member since: Feb 10, 2014

Poor NEC Medias W (N-05E), it's a device with a similar concept as the Echo but way superior to it. Just because it's not available stateside doesn't mean it can't be mentioned. Oh, and there goes Sony's flipping Tablet P too, which I think should take S6 edge's position - it's not weird enough to be "unconventional". And my candidates also include ASUS's Eee Pad Slider. Too bad it's too old a device to mention.

9. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

They left out things like the Motorola Backflip and Flipout. Those were some horrible designs.

10. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

My uncle used to own the Backflip, and I think it looks fine

11. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

The backflip had a terrible hinge design and a terribly inaccurate and worthless trackpad on the back side of the phone.

12. stijnvbrummelen

Posts: 41; Member since: Dec 20, 2013

HTC chacha :). I had that phone for 8 months.

16. Mike.H

Posts: 32; Member since: Sep 16, 2015

I'd love to see more creativity like this.

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