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What were the dumbest mobile phone products in 2010? Ovum reveals the ‘winners’ of its annual Wireless Turkey Awards


A service that employs a real person to call you each day to tell you how awesome you are — and charges $45 a month for this ‘feel good’ moment — was the forehead-slapping winner of Ovum’s annual Wireless Turkey Awards.

Ovum, the Australian business analysis and consultation firm, sees a flood of wireless devices, applications and services shooting through the pipelines. Many range from golden to serviceable. And a select few clearly come from a pipeline that originated at a septic tank. For those, Ovum created the Turkey Awards, offered near the end of each year.

The jewel cited above, dubbed AwesomenessReminders, captured the 2010  Turkey Awards service category and also was named the overall winner. The United States-based service “will call you every day to tell you how much you rock.” Its website even defends the $45 monthly charge, saying that it’s less expensive than taking someone out to dinner.

(To its credit, AwesomenessReminders answers an FAQ question — “No, seriously, is this a joke? — with “Yes and no. It’s a real service but we take outselves lightly.” The FAQ doesn’t address the exorbitant monthly charge.)

“Offering such a service is wacky on its own; offering it for $45 a month beggars belief,” said Ovum senior analyst Emeka Obiodu.

Honorable mentions in the service category went to Malaysia’s Love Meter, which allegedly gauges the satisfaction a called party is feeling, and a Japan-based “Honey, it’s me” service for lonely South Korean men.

In the apps category, a honorable mention went to a proposed application to ease gun-license renewal rules in Sussex, England. The winner was the truly cringe-worthy iMussolini, which allowed users to download speeches by Il Duce himself, former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.

“The good news is that both apps are no longer with us,” Obiodu said. “The police force behind the idea of renewing gun licenses via an iPhone app has not followed up with its plans. Similarly, after apparently receiving legal threats, the developer of the iMussolini app has removed it.”

For the third and last category — wireless devices — Ovum aimed its gobbler at an Android-based tablet put out by U.K. fashion retailer Next. Ovum noted that the device market was bloated with cheap and often nasty Droid tablets, but the Next got the win here because it was one of the few with a name-brand cachet.

The Next’s 10-inch screen is resistive rather than capacitive, so there’s no multitouch response. Average battery life is only three hours. It weighs more than the iPad. But, hey, it costs only 180 pounds.

“Described by the BBC’s technology correspondent as both ‘maddeningly unresponsive’ and behaving like a ‘spoiled child’, the Next tablet undoubtedly deserves its place here,” Obiodu said. “However, as quality in the segment improves, we expect consumers to increasingly question whether ‘premium’ tablets are worth the markup over their low-born counterparts.”

Image by Nimble Photography

A bad review for Next tablet