Passing the bar: a brief history of prototypes found on bar floors
Last September, the Google Nexus 4 was discovered in a bar in San Francisco. The bartender, who was given the phone to hold by a patron who foundit on the floor, thought it was just one of the 20 left behind and lost handsets that pile up at the bar each week. It wasn't until the bartender showed the phone to a customer who knew about the Google Nexus 4, that those involved knew what they had. Google promised the bartender a free Nexus 4 in exchange for the phone and his silence, but it was too late. Pictures had already been sold to Wired for a tidy profit.
The first time that a found phone in a bar created a ruckus was back in April 2010 when the Apple iPhone 4 was found on the floor of a San Jose watering hole. What made this an exciting discovery was that no one had really seen the iPhone 4 prior to this. But the effort made by Apple to retrieve the device was enough to convince everyone that it was real. The phone was eventually sold to a blog for $5000. However, more than 3 years later, the guy who found the phone reported that he spent all of that money for legal fees when Apple got involved. He never received the additional $3000 he claims is still owed to him, and ended up out of pocket $125 that he used to pay for a court awarded fine.
The very next summer, history repeated itself when an Apple iPhone 4s went missing from a San Francisco bar named Cava-22. This time, there was more intrigue. Apple security got involved in searching a person's home, looking for the lost prototype while the San Francisco police sat back and let Apple security do their thing. The story eventually petered out.
So next time you're in a bar and see something that resembles a smartphone on the floor, you might want to check it out. It could be a prototype of the next hugely anticipated handset. Or, it might be the vomit filled shoe belonging to a drunk. Considering recent history, we would expect it to be the former.