Flashback: Beyonce, American Idol, X-Factor and Fender-inspired phones

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Samsung made a splash last year with the Galaxy S20 + 5G BTS Edition (and Galaxy Buds + BTS Edition), but that’s no surprise – BTS are one of the most well-known music groups in the world right now and everything they touch draws crowds of fans. (even though it’s a McDonalds meal). But that was far from the company’s first attempt to use music superstars to promote its gadgets.

In 2007, Samsung (and Sprint) released the Beyonce theme B’Phone, a limited edition version of the Samsung UpStage M620. The phone had two sides – a simple-looking functional phone and a media player with music controls and a larger 2.1-inch 176 x 220px screen (well, bigger than the line screen that sat on it). on the other side).

The B'Phone promoted by Beyonce
The B'Phone promoted by Beyonce
One standard Samsung UpStage, rear and front

The B’Phone promoted by Beyonce • A regular Samsung UpStage, front and back

The exterior was changed to a gold and burgundy color scheme (designed by the singer herself) and offered exclusive downloadable content, including a song called “632-5792” (a phone number) that Beyonce has wrote when she was 10 years old. That was all. , however, if you wanted more songs, you had to load them to a microSD card yourself (cards supported by UpStage up to 2GB).

Nokia also knew the value of celebrity promotion, but instead of going to just any celebrity, the Finns decided to cast a wide net and in 2004 (in partnership with AT&T) released the Nokia 3200 and Nokia 3300 American Idol Limited Edition Phones. They were priced at $ 50 to $ 70 and sold in several music stores (eg, Sam Goody, Media Play, Suncoast).

The simple 3200 had nothing more than a branding – with no card slot, barely any memory, and no music player, there was little hope for it. The 3300 was another story, however. Regular Flashback readers will remember it as a sequel to QWERTY 5510 and as the “Black Phone,” a special edition Jay-Z brand.

Years later, the company tried something similar with the Nokia 5228 X-Factor (in some areas the phone was known as the 5233). This Symbian-powered (resistive) touch-sensitive phone was a cheaper version of the 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia’s first attempt to tackle the iPhone.

    yes it looks the same, but there is some preloaded content
Nokia 5228 X-Factor Edition: yes, it looks the same, but it has preloaded content

Fortunately, this was in 2010, so the phone came with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD slot (not MMC like the 3300). However, all you got with this Special Edition was the preloaded X-Factor app along with wallpapers and ringtones from the show.

Also in 2010, T-Mobile teamed up with legendary guitarist Eric Clapton to reveal the myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition. HTC’s Android 1.6 smartphone received a faux wood grain exterior with the trademark Fender sunburst finish (even the included headphones have been customized).

A 16GB microSD has been preloaded with some of Clapton’s best-known classics, including “Layla”, “my father’s eyes”, “rock ‘n’ roll heart” and “Beautiful tonight”. In addition, two applications are preinstalled: Guitar solo and Musical light.

The (HTC) T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition with the Sunburst finish of the Fender brand
The (HTC) T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition with the Sunburst finish of the Fender brand
The (HTC) T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition with the Sunburst finish of the Fender brand
The (HTC) T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition with the Sunburst finish of the Fender brand

The (HTC) T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition with the Sunburst finish of the Fender brand

T-Mobile also offered ways to spruce up the device, including more Fender-branded backs, a Fender carrying case, and the Rock Dock, a docking station with built-in speakers. The operator also launched a media sync solution that allowed users to sync music, videos, and photos between their Windows or Mac computers and their phones (obviously T-Mo was looking for an alternative to iTunes).

The T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Edition was available at T-Mobile retail stores (and online) for $ 180 (plus tax and fees) with a 2-year contract.

Over the years, other phones have been promoted by famous music artists. A more recent example is the 2019 Galaxy A80 Blackpink Special Edition (BTS was not the first K-pop group that Samsung used for promotional purposes).

What’s your favorite limited edition music themed phone?


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