The Pixel Watch isn't the only prototype lost by the person testing it

The Pixel Watch isn't the only prototype lost by the person testing it
The story today that some unidentified (and surely he want to remain that way) Google employee left behind at a restaurant the Pixel Watch that he was testing brought to mind some similar screw-ups that we have had the pleasure of bringing to your attention. Perhaps the most famous example of this was when the iPhone 4 was found on the floor of a bar in San Jose in April 2010.

Prototypes of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s were discovered in bars

What made this story so interesting was that since the device had yet to be unveiled, the public had no idea what the iPhone 4 was going to look like at the time and the design was a huge departure from the iPhone 3GS. The late Steve Jobs, talking about the iPhone 4, said, "It's like a beautiful old Leica camera." The discovered device did have a front-facing camera. 

The person who found the iPhone 4, Brian Hogan, ended up selling the phone to Gizmodo for $5,000 plus an additional $3,000 if it was determined that the phone was a prototype iPhone, which it was. He never received the extra $3,000 and was ultimately sued by Apple for "theft of private property." He ended up having to pay a $125 fine on top of $5,000 in legal fees (easy come, easy go).

Something as strange as that couldn't happen again, right? Well, the very next year, another Apple employee left an unreleased iPhone 4s at a bar, the Cava 22 bar in San Francisco. This time, the San Fransisco cops got involved and when they asked the bar for the surveillance tape, they were told that it was automatically deleted. The story took a strange turn when it was discovered that members of the Apple security team might have searched the home, car, and computer of one Sergio Calderon looking for the missing iPhone prototype.

The head of Apple's security team, John Theriault, quit after no one could find the lost iPhone 4s prototype. Apple had to pin the blame on someone and while Theriault's departure turned out to be reported in the mainstream media, we have no idea what happened to the employee who actually left the handset behind.

And no more prototype phones were ever left behind in a bar again, right?  After all, how ridiculous would someone have to be to get entrusted with his company's important smartphone prototype, have a few drinks, and forget that he had the device with him. This couldn't happen again, could it?

The Google Nexus 4 was also left in a San Francisco bar

Well, uh...the very next year the Google Nexus 4 (made by LG) ended up (all together now) lost in a bar in San Francisco. In this case, a bartender named Jim Barton ignored the "Not for sale" sticker and the Google logo on the back of the device. The barkeep thought that it was just one of 20 phones that are left behind in the bar every week.

But a customer named Dave Hodge knew exactly that what Barton had found was important. Hodge called Google and was told that not only did an employee get fired over the incident, but Hodge himself could also be considered an accessory to a crime. Eventually, LG got the phone back and promised Barton a free Nexus 4 as long as he kept his mouth shut until the phone was unveiled.

That was a promise that Barton failed to keep although we never did found out whether he got a free Nexus 4 anyway.

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Times are different now. Renders of upcoming devices are released all of the time and a whole new industry was created led by Evan Blass whose identity was only guessed at when he first released renders under the name of @evleaks.

Thanks to sites like Twitter and YouTube, we have seen an explosion in the number of outlets that pass along leaks, rumors, and renders taking the surprise out of unveiling events.

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