The Weird Side of Mobile World Congress

I never cease to be amazed by the extraordinary things you come across at trade shows. Although it’s only day two of Mobile World Congress and I’ve not had a lot of time to look around, I think I’ve already seen the product that I’d label as the weirdest.

In the depths of Hall 2, I stumbled upon the Janus phone. Named after the Roman god of gates, who was usually depicted with two faces, the Janus is a double-sided phone that splits in half. Below is a video of the device in action.

The Janus is made up of two GSM devices. The smaller phone fits inside the battery space of the larger one and powers both when it’s inserted. In Asian markets, the larger device will support dual SIMs, effectively giving you three phones in one. The phonebooks from the two (or three) SIMs are integrated. It’s certainly a clever piece of technology yet I’m not entirely sure how practical it would be.

When discussing the device later with some colleagues, it struck us that the demonstration should have been in reverse, which would have better illustrated the idea that the device may be used as two phones that also become one, rather than one phone that splits in two.

I can’t help wondering what the use case is for the Janus. There are a growing number of dual-SIM phones in Asian markets, or you could carry two phones that together would be smaller and lighter than the Janus.

History shows it’s dangerous to write off innovative products, but in this case I’m highly sceptical. That said, it did provide me with an excellent topic for discussion at dinner and kept the other guests entertained.