The crooked Siemens SX1 had a McLaren limited edition, but other phone manufacturers have also partnered with the race brand. It happened a few years later when the airline Vodafone signed on to be the title sponsor of the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team (the agreement lasted from 2007 to 2013).
When it was the airline that called the shots, it created a branding that was applied to several existing Samsung and Sharp phones to create limited editions for the 2007 championship.
First up is the Samsung Z720 or giving its full name “Vodafone McLaren Mercedes SGH-Z720M”. A small slider with a small 2.1 ”screen, this was actually a fairly capable device. It had a 3.15 MP camera on the back and a VGA camera on the front that could be used for video calling via 3G. It had a microSD slot and MP3 support, although it used headphones with a proprietary connector, which was not ideal.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes SGH-Z720M
Next is the Sharp 770SH. Well, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 770SH, you get the picture. The 2.2 ”screen was hardly bigger than the one on Samsung, although flip phones are more efficient in how they use space (eg Was D-pad in the lower half, not under the display).
This was also a 3G phone, but with smaller capable cameras – 1.3 MP main and a QCIF camcorder (176 x 144 px). It also had a microSD slot and an MP3 player, though again with a proprietary headphone jack. It sold for € 69 in Vodafone stores (of course on contract).
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 770SH
The last of the pile is the Sharp GX29. This one was more compact with a 2.0 ”screen and smaller dimensions. However, the camera was even more limited (640 x 480 px main camera and 128 x 96 px video call camera). It also lost microSD slot and music players.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes GX29
The Aston Martin brand has graced a few phones over the years. In an earlier installment, we covered the Nokia 8800 limited edition, but it was clearly a Nokia. Back in 2012, something of lesser clear origin emerged – the Aston Martin Aspire emerged. It was a luxury unit of $ 1,300, $ 1,600 if you wanted the 24K gold plated.
It ran Android 2.3 Gingerbread on an 800MHz processor with 256MB RAM and 512MB storage (+ microSD slot). It had a 320 x 480 px screen, 5MP rear and VGA front cameras and came with a snazzy leather bag. The leather-bound box it came in really said “you spent $ 1,300 on a phone” as opposed to today’s small, eco-friendly boxes.
Aston Martin Aspire
Let’s take a break from fast-paced, sporty car brands and look at something more impressive. Do you remember Lobster? It’s a civilian version of the military vehicle and maybe a weird inspiration for a phone, but here we are.
Or we were in 2007 when the Hummer HT1 was designed by the French company ModeLabs. It sold for € 300 in Europe – not exactly Hummer’s largest market. The D-pad was still styled after the huge vehicle hubcap, so that’s something, right?
This 2G phone also included a 2.2 ”touch screen, a 2MP camera, 256 MB of built-in storage space that could be expanded with microSD cards. This extra storage space was also used by MP3 music and MPEG4 video players.
Despite the Hummer image, this was not a rugged phone like the Land Rover S1 we saw in an earlier edition.
ModeLabs got once again and created the Hummer HT2. This was a bar phone, and once again it lacked complete protection and ruggedness. It had a small LCD with 220 x 176 px resolution, and the hubcap D-pad made a different look.
Two brands often go together to cross-mark their products, but it does not always succeed. Maybe a couple of McLaren fans bought these Vodafone handsets, but how many Hummer phones sold ModeLabs? It’s unclear, but at least tried it.