Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Much more revealing than a simple consumer report or dry comparison.
  [vote for,

Long story short: cellphone manufacturers equip their stock smartphones with proprietary battle attachments and have them duke it out, autonomously, against the competition, on top of a 4' cube over a concrete floor. This highlights strengths and weakness. Can processor speed make up for software bloat ? Are their programmers geniuses? or script kiddies. How many times can the phone be dropped before it stops working ?

Fun as it may be, there's no real testing of the phone if it's enclosed in a titanium shell with a .50cal for company, so...

The battle attachment must be composed of the same materials, in the same proportions, as the phone. It must not weigh more than the phone, nor be more than half as expensive. The entire face and at least 80% of the full surface of the phone must be fully exposed at all times. The attachment cannot contain a cpu of its own, nor software or data.

Other than that, anything's fair game: wheels, tendrils, tracks, EMP, coilgun, an extra battery, whatever.


The battle app, run at normal priority and privileges, not only wages war on the physical level but, armed with preloaded opponent's contact information, can do so on the cyber level as well. (restrictions are in place to limit the use of external servers to sign the opponent up for "100,000 free cat videos to your inbox", and the like)

As the hardware has limitations, so the software: it would hardly be a test of the smartphone's digital circuitry if it's connected up to a supercomputer over the internet. So, again...

The OS is stock; default bundled apps are enabled with default settings and applicable accounts already created. The last startup task is a generic download&run proggie pointing to the phone manufacturer's support site, to get the model-specific battle app which may itself go looking for things like opponent's specs, weak points, previous strategies, perhaps even a copy of their battle app.

Head to Head
The phones are simultaneously powered up and placed in opposite corners of the tabletop. The match commences. A phone that has fallen to the floor during a bout is tested for basic functionality (screen, mic, speaker, the ability to make and receive a call) before being placed back on the table.

The match is over when one of the contenders has been rendered immobile, or fails a functionality test.

Phones are classed by form factor and (wholesale)price. Since it's a given that the phones will get knocked around quite a bit as they progress through the sets, the functionality tests are waived. No repair or reloading between matches but each phone is fully charged up and a new SIM card installed.

At the end of the day, the winners in each tourney will generally go on to be the winners in the marketplace.


Of course, that's the manufacturer's paradigm. A bit further down the food chain, retailers can write off old stock in melees with their competition (adding the element of cooperative strategies via teleconferencing).

Software companies and gurus can write custom code on bare metal, eschewing the OS and the pre-installed suckerware completely, for prizefights. Individuals, for a couple extra bucks spent on a generic battle attachment, can give their old phones something to do, instead of just sitting in the junk drawer waiting to be eaten by the dog.

FlyingToaster, Sep 11 2015


       <checks armpits> what ?
FlyingToaster, Sep 13 2015

       Nope you smell fine, but I don't get it. So...silence.
blissmiss, Sep 13 2015

       Most people I know, at one time or another, have been walking around with a smartphone with a busted screen. And their attitude seems to be that somehow they've failed their widdle pwecious; nothing to do with poor design or construction from a company that makes the $25 doohickeys that sell for $500.   

       Within the smartphone marketing paradigm it's probably not feasible for a company to field-test their offerings properly, by giving them to a teenager for a couple of months; that would waste time-to-market time.   

       So have them literally fight it out, as a sped-up simulation of the day-to-day damage they'll be taking. Attach a robot-y thing, made of the same materials as the cellphone (so it reflects the same durability), and run a fighting app, which uses the cameras and mics for input. That takes care of the physical robustness of the hardware, and is the actual fun bit: watching a couple little robots trying to take each other out (no anthropomorphism, please).   

       Just as important, arguably moreso, are software and connectivity. Since the 'phones are given each other's contact info (ph#, IP, bluetooth whatsis, et cetera), they can toss viruses at each other, sign each other up for spam, and leave long boring messages, all of which take processing time away from the task of trying to flip the other one off the table onto the concrete. Since all the bundled apps (candy rush, photojamfest, et cetera) are enabled and logged in and busy taking up processor time and bandwidth, this compresses the abuse that, in this case the user, takes over a period of time.   

       Then there's customer service. As useful as it might be to have to have the phone interact with a real live operator in order to download the battle app, the fights would probably never get started. So, instead, they just have to download the app from the company's website, and run it to begin.   

       As well as being fun to watch (like Robot Wars) and improving the quality of phones, the software development is similar in some respects to the Mars rovers and the like : autonomously having to deal with all sorts of conditions, so in the future we don't do that amazing golf shot to comet Philae, only to have it come up partly bust because the lander fell over.   

       It would also spawn a small software industry for itty bitty fighting robots' programs.
FlyingToaster, Sep 14 2015

       guess I shoulda mentioned it's supposed to be between comparable models by different manufacturers. iPhone vs Galaxy, Nokia whatsis vs Samsung thingie.
FlyingToaster, Sep 14 2015

       //It would also spawn a small software industry for itty bitty fighting robots' programs.//   

       A whole new challenge for hackers: "let's try to put that phone into fight mode while it's up against someone's ear".   

       Also a whole new revenue stream for ambulance chasers: "Did your phone take a chunk out of your ear? Call us now!"
Tulaine, Sep 14 2015

       Okay, sort of get it. Hmmm...
blissmiss, Sep 14 2015

       This could be fun. My old HTC Aria is quite small and hard to hit. With some quick feet it could be tough to beat. Can the attachment contain C4? Perhaps a cannister of liquid nitrogen?
RayfordSteele, Sep 14 2015

       For the manufacturers' tournaments, the attachment is supposed to be made of the same materials, in the same proportions, as the phone itself. So, unless you've got one hella anti-theft device on your smartphone, C4's a no-go.
FlyingToaster, Sep 15 2015


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