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Forget international roaming and WAP capability, phones were far more entertaining in the good old days. Unwieldy hunks of plastic with clunking great dials, shrieking bells, pulse dialling and, best of all, chunky handsets. You remember; the hefty dumbbell-like things that you could barely balance between shoulder and ear. Needless to say there's no place for such impractical appendages on today's slimline mobiles. Or is there?
Because despite a relentless stream of mobile telephonic innovation, talking on the phone just isn't as satisfying as it used to be. For starters you can't slam a mobile down in disgust, chuck the receiver skywards in delight, or re-enact your favourite 'This is the Sweeney, sunshine, and we're comin' ta get ya!' TV moment.
Fortunately, all that's about to change thanks to the technologically advanced but hilariously retro Phobile handset. Simply plug this highly evocative hunk of shiny retro-ironic plastic into your mobile via an adapter and you'll be the envy/laughing stock of all those who encounter you.
The daft but desirable Phobile is a replica of the fabulously ungainly handsets that once dominated the world of home telephony. It's even got an old-style curly wurly cable.
To be fair, attaching an old-school handset to a modern mobile is a bit like tying a typewriter to a laptop. But that's exactly why we love it. It doesn't make sense, but it's guaranteed to get a laugh and attract attention wherever you may roam. Imagine the look on people's faces when your mobile rings and you pull this whacking great relic out of your pocket. There's something unfathomably satisfying about talking on the Phobile. Maybe it's the incongruous juxtaposition of old and new; maybe it's the thrill of talking into an ergonomically ancient design classic; or maybe it's just the fact that it makes you look faintly ridiculous. Who cares? Just enjoy the irony and buy one!
Phobile handsets are new production, exact replicas of the Western Electric 500-series models. These were made in the U.S. starting in 1949 and ultimately became the standard handset for American rotary phones. These high quality reproductions have a superior sound quality to the original handsets.
The Phobile does not require batteries; it runs off the power in your phone. This does mean that battery life will be marginally shorter than usual. But it's a small inconvenience for irony.
To connect your mobile to the Phobile handset you will need to use one of the adapters (included) from the list below:
Motorola phones: You will not need an adapter as the Phobile's standard 2.5mm jack will plug straight into your phone. Note: Some mobile phone models that require a 2.5mm jack may have a design abnormality that makes the jack not flush with the casing. Mobile phones with this problem will not work with the Phobile, since the connection is compromised.
Motorola V3 incompatibility:
In order to make the V3 so very thin, Motorola has excluded a headset port from its design! Therefore, it's only compatible with Bluetooth headsets. Bluetooth adapters are unavailable from Firebox. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The following phones do not require an adapter to work with Phobile:
Will you be getting this back in stock?? Al, Edinburgh - 28th March 2011
Firebox says: There are no plans currently Al, sorry.
Why haven't you made a version of this which looks like a banana yet? Caitlin, Nottingham - 21st November 2009
Firebox says: Good thinking Caitlin.. maybe one day
When I discovered the Phobile, it was love at first sight! Firebox delivered it amazingly fast - great service, thank you. Unfortunately there was a problem with the sound, so I had to return my Phobile :( I think I'll order a new one soon, though. Emilie, Denmark - 28th November 2006
Best buy I've made in ages. Not only is it wonderfully silly, it's also very usable - have YOU tried to cradle a modern mobile phone in your shoulder? It's nigh-on impossible. Not anymore! Works out of the box with the Handspring/Palm Treo 600 too. Only downside for me is the lack of an answer button. Wolf, Birmingham, UK - 1st September 2006
This is the coolest thing. I took it to work after I got it and everyone laughed but still liked it. I walked thru a park to talk to my coworkers outside while on the phone and they said tons of people were staring at me. Dan, Pittsburgh, PA USA - 8th August 2006
Have just walked through a busy shopping centre using this having go it this morning. What a gadget!!! People were howling with laughter and everyone asked where I got it. Expect lots of orders. Best thing I've bought in ages!! Tom, Oxford - 28th May 2005