1549: xkcd Phone 3
|XKCD Phone 3|
Title text: If you're not completely satisfied with the phone after 30 days, we will return you to your home at no cost.
In the table the features are explained in order from the top left going clockwise
|2 AA batteries (not included)|| A phrase usually shown on small, low-powered, electronic devices like remote controllers, and not on cellphones; which use lithium-ion batteries and need to be constantly recharged for continuous use.
The apparently thin phone (according to the scale as judged by the wristband) would also preclude inserting AA batteries, unless a protruding battery compartment is hidden out of view on the back of the phone. Alternatively could mean two Anti-Aircraft (artillery) "batteries" which would be groups of light or medium artillery pieces or missiles (2 to 9 weapons per battery, depending on country, weapon system and organisation). In any case, they would badly hamper the portability of the phone.
|Boneless|| Reference to meat or fish products being boneless, i.e. having all the bones removed, making it convenient to cook or eat. Unclear why a phone would be boneless since it is mostly inedible, perhaps a reference to the person trapped inside having their bones removed to make them easier to fit inside, or stating that the phone is flexible. A possible reference to the iPhone 6's reported problems with its chassis, where it could bend under pressure.
Likely a reference to "Bone Conduction Microphones" implying that needing bones to work is a disadvantage and this phone has the feature of being "Boneless".
xkcd Phone 4 was instead "seedless".
|Ear screen||An overcomplicated term for a speaker, connecting a screen which emits light to send visual information and the portion of a speaker which vibrates to send auditory information. Comparing the two makes a speaker a screen for the ear.|
|Heartbeat accelerator||A mashup of heartbeat sensor and accelerometer. May be some sort of external pacemaker. If that's the case, it's worrying that it only accelerates, potentially causing a positive feedback (heart attack). It may also be the result of the phone being so exciting or frustrating that it increases its user's heart rate.|
|MobilePay money clip||While mobile pay is a form of payment involving electronic transfers via cellphone, this model includes a money clip; a way of holding physical bills together, which defeats the purpose of electronic payment. Whether this is a clip that transfers money digitally or the phrase mobile pay is just a marketing tag is unknown.|
|Siri, or whoever it was we put in here||A joke on intelligent personal assistants. It also jokes that Siri and the like are actual people, trapped inside of phones.|
|Instead of being on surface only, screen goes all the way through|| A reference to surface screens. Possible reference to smartphones with screen display wrapping one or more edges, like Samsung Galaxy Note Edge or Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, or dual-screen smartphones with screen on the back (usually e-ink) like YotaPhone 2, or smartphones with minimal bezel like e.g. Sharp AQUOS Crystal.
Screen going all the way through would leave no place for innards of smartphone: processor, battery etc., and unless each layer is designed to be semi-transparent to see the inner voxels the inner displays would be unseeable anyway.
|theknot.com partnership: Phone licensed to perform wedding ceremonies and does so at random||theknot.com is a website that assists in all stages of wedding planning. Due to this partnering, the phone has apparently obtained legal status as a Justice of the peace capable of performing legally valid marriages. It exerts this capability randomly, however, so the phone's owner (or potentially any other unsuspecting bystander) could suddenly find themselves with a new spouse without their knowledge, generally an undesired effect. Whether this would result in unintentional bigamy or if the phone restricts itself to pairing up singles, or even enacts divorce first if necessary, is left unclear. May be a reference to how same-sex marriage was fully legalized in the United States just two weeks prior to the release of this comic.|
|Fingerprint randomizer||Presumably randomises the user's fingerprint, which may or may not be inconvenient depending on the intent of the user. It is not clear whether the device will change the person's fingerprint into a human-like fingerprint that is randomly selected from all possibilities, or if it completely mangles the fingerprint of the user. Either way, physically altering the user's finger to this degree will likely involve a painful process. Likely a cynical reference to fingerprint scanners, which are touted as password replacements.|
|USB E (hotswappable)|| A USB port that makes fun of the three current systems, A, B, and recently C, by skipping D completely and jumping to E. The port presumably charges the phone and allows to transfer files like normal, but this kind lets you perform Hot swapping (replacing computer system components without turning the system off) with it, which has always been a feature of USB, so mentioning it is redundant at best.
May be a reference to the eSATAp (Power over eSATA) hybrid port that is functioning as a USB and eSATA port at the same time. The Serial ATA bus interface has standardized hot swapping support.
|Waterproof, but can drown||Perhaps a reference to Siri or the person trapped in the phone drowning, but the phone itself staying functional. This is another human-like function, which the first 2 XKCD Phone comics had.|
|Foretold by prophecy||Likely mocking people on the internet who attempt to predict when Apple will release their next device. Might also be a joke on many videogames or fantasy novels, in which the main character is 'the chosen one', because 'the prophecy' foretold it.|
|Runs Natively|| Usually a description given to ported software, as this statement doesn't make any sense when referring to hardware (notable exceptions to the norm are few and far between). When software writers would like to run their apps on multiple platforms, they usually have three choices: re-compile the source code into each platform's codebase (often requiring tweaking to handle practical differences in resources between the systems); use a specially 'pre-portable' code that you can write once, run anywhere, such as Java, but requires a suitable interpreter to be written for each platform (and may still require code tweaks to absorb differences in implementations); create a specific emulator/virtual machine to allow existing code to 'see' the platform it was written for, despite the underlying system.
Only the first option is 'running natively', often the most optimised and thus best-performing option, and is usually qualified such as "Runs <Software Name> natively", for particular packages full compiled upon that platform. It would also make little sense for the OS itself to be non-native, except when intentionally emulating another system (ideally on a more powerful system that can power past the inefficiencies of conversion and translation). Or, in this case, it may be that the phone has legs and can literally run.
|Wristband||Probably mocking trending smart watches, this feature would not be very useful on a full-sized smart phone, as it would be uncomfortable to wear due to its size. Also possibly a follow-up to xkcd Phone 2 being described as a 'phone for your other hand', as the wristband would make it possible to have all three phones accessible at once.|
|Wireless discharging||Many modern cellphones feature wireless charging, which uses electromagnetic induction to charge the battery of the device. This model, apparently uses the same technology to discharge the battery; which, of course is something undesired, as one needs the battery's energy to run the phone. May also refer to the standard behavior of the phone's antenna, which communicates wirelessly via EM radio waves, but discharges the battery in doing so. It could also be simply and literally describing the nature of all cell phones, and indeed all battery-powered electronic devices, to gradually use the battery (discharging) when there are no wires attached (wireless), since wireless also means no power cord is plugged in (and assuming the absence or non-use of the aforementioned wireless charging function, which this phone may not even have).|
|Magnetic stripe|| Likely a dig at the NFC (near-field communication) wireless radio modules in many modern phones. NFC allows, among others functions, mobile payment. This magnetic stripe could be a cheap way to imitate payment functionality, but "compatible" with classic credit cards.
Magnetic stripes are a data storage method used by devices such as credit cards and key cards to hold and transfer small amounts of information like key codes. Usually cellphones don't have them as they utilize more robust and protected ways to store and transmit data (such as NFC). The magnetic stripe shown would likely be unusable with current magnetic stripe readers due to the phone's thickness, in contrast to that of regular cards, thus breaking all imagined 'compatibility' arguments. It would also be very annoying as it seems to block part of the screen.
The phrase "We made another one®©™" is a reference to how phone companies release new phones very often, and the trademarks that surround the phone itself.
The title text is a joke on guarantees and customer service. Usually the advertisement says that if the customer is not satisfied with the product, they'll refund the money and take the product back at no additional cost. In this case they guarantee the customer they'll send him/her home without charge; implying they won't fix or refund anything. Or that due to anticipated but unspecified faults of some kind, the phone's owner will need help to get back home when things go wrong, and probably be thankful for such assistance, in yet another example of a worryingly non-specific 'reassurance'.
- [An image of a smartphone lying down, with many labels pointing to it. There is a black stripe across the top left corner of the phone. At the top right something is protruding from the side, like a volume control. There is a wrist band (only partly shown) attached to the middle of each side of the phone. Above the screen are several small features, below only a central square and on the bottom a socket. Clockwise from the top left the labels read:]
- 2 AA batteries
- (not included)
- Ear screen
- Heartbeat accelerator
- MobilePay money clip
- Siri, or whoever it was we put in here
- Instead of being on surface only, screen goes all the way through
- theknot.com partnership: Phone licensed to perform wedding ceremonies and does so at random
- Fingerprint randomizer
- USB E
- Waterproof, but can drown
- Foretold by prophecy
- Runs natively
- Wireless discharging
- Magnetic stripe
- [Below the phone:]
- The XKCD Phone 3
- We made another one®©™
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