Alibaba’s Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce platform, has a mixed reputation: it is known for providing everything you can ever think of, and also for offering a staggering amount of knock-offs.
One good example of this is Snapstyk, a smartphone case that unfolds into a selfie stick. Israeli entrepreneur Yekutiel Sherman spent a year perfecting his phone gadget and then launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to make his dream a reality, only to find out that Chinese copycats were quicker – and cheaper.
Besides crushing someone’s million dollar dream, consumers in China can enjoy some great phone gadget designs, as well as some very weird ones, all for dirt-cheap prices. Here are Taobao’s 10 most unique phone gadgets. Is your idea one of them?
1. The phone engagement ring
For those of us who are married to our phones, Taobao is finally offering a way to show our undying love and ward away any potential suitors who want to disrupt our special bond. This phone engagement ring will enable you to spend even more time with your loved one, all for the measly price of RMB 13 (USD 2).
We are not sure if this unique design was actually copied from someone, but we can imagine the idea came from some sort of conceptual art installation about alienation in the digital age.
2. The Bluetooth handset gloves
Some of you may still remember that distant time when people using earphones to talk on their phone were welcomed with baffled stares. Now you can recreate the good old days by talking to your hand while walking on the street. The Bluetooth handset glove holds a tiny speaker in the left thumb, while the pinky has a tiny microphone built in.
This wonder of wearable tech first appeared in the US where it was sold for USD 60. For some reason, looking like an idiot never caught on, but you can still try to pass it off as a fashionable alternative for a headpiece for the price of RMB 68 (USD 10).
3. The car phone cover
We know that adulting is hard. We spend our youth in ignorant bliss, and then in our twenties, life kicks us in the guts with work, responsibilities, bills, rent, mortgage, and cooking our own food. After a hard day sometimes you wish you can just curl up with your teddy bear. Or drive a little phone Porche around your face while making “vroom-vroom” sounds – whatever helps you forget how much of your hard-earned cash was spent on buying that new phone.
Five-year-olds and those who feel like one can order their car phone cover for RMB 38 (USD 5.50)
4. The dual SIM phone mask for Apple
Many consumers in China feel unhappy with the fact that Apple still hasn’t launched a dual-SIM phone. And while there has been speculation that this may happen soon, innovators in China are already ahead of the game with an amazingly simple solution – sticking another phone on top of an iPhone.
Gouer’s mini phone can be equipped with a second SIM card, and easily fits into the mask of your favorite iPhone. There is still a minor problem of not being able to access any of your apps, but for RMB 99 (USD 15) I guess one cannot expect more.
5. The hipster phone handle
Running out of ideas to show how edgy and non-conformist you are? Besides consulting the WikiHow illustrated guide for being edgy (seriously), consider investing in this totally impractical but utterly cool piece of phone equipment. Not only will it go well with your hipster mustache, you might even score a couple of phone numbers from potential dates curious to put the handle to the test.
This product first appeared in 2008 with the advent of hipsterdom when it was sold for around USD 44.00. Today you can get it on Taobao for RMB 24.90 (USD 3.60).
6. The smartphone reflector
Live-streaming has become all the rage in China with more and more young people making serious cash through virtual gift-giving. In comes ASNAP – a miniature LED reflector designed to make your face appear slimmer and more attractive to your viewers.
ASNAP is currently sold for RMB 119, but aspiring internet stars can get a knock-off version for only RMB 59 (USD 9).
7. The toilet suction phone holder
Did you know that smartphones are covered with more germs than toilet seats in a public toilet? We would like to believe that the creator of the toilet suction phone holder was inspired by this revelation and wanted to raise awareness about keeping our phones clean. Unfortunately, it is more likely that the designer simply had a knack for toilet humor.
Those of you who are keen on impressing your 10-year-old friends can order the mini toilet suction for only RMB 3 (USD 0.45).
8. The smartphone mini fan
Our personal favorite on this list, the smartphone mini fan ensures that your summers are pleasantly breezy – as long as your battery has energy. The design is simple and the fan comes in multiple colors. The only drawback is that it is difficult to use the phone when the fan is plugged into the charging port and working, but we can’t have it all, can we?
The smartphone mini fan is available for RMB 15.
9. The Bluetooth selfie shutter button
Many of us have grown weary of the same old vapid, cutesy selfies popping up on our social media streams. So how can we show that we are deep, intelligent people that hold an endless ocean of thoughts and emotions within?
Enter the Bluetooth selfie shutter button. After a couple of minutes of adjusting the frame, taking dozens of pictures, choosing the perfect ones, running them through an endless amount of filters, and, finally, clearing all the unattractive blemishes, you too can appear to actually be thinking about something deep. Get your selfie shutter button for RMB 14.90 (USD 3).
10. The toilet paper-slash-phone holder
The toilet used to be considered the last refuge of privacy. Not anymore. The new toilet paper-slash-phone holder will enable you to not only to kill some time but also spend quality time with your loved ones on the phone. You can even use it for live-streaming. The possibilities are endless!
Get your all-in-one phone and toilet paper holder for RMB 101.80 (USD 14.70).
(Top photo from Taobao.)