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March 11, 2005 12:14 AM

Broken: Philips mobile phone

Wonderphone_2Justin Wood writes:

So, my Dad always had trouble with his phone, he kept hitting the wrong button, cutting me off, just generally having issues with it - and I always mocked him for it.

So I went home for christmas, and checked out this phone - thinking: "This is easy, I'll program it for him!"

Was I ever wrong.

Maybe it's just me, but what does the smiling sun do? Or the C with two arrows? Or the ramp? Or the Manuscript? Heck.. What does anything do?!


I agree! What's this obsession that manufacturers have for putting obscure images on buttons? I know that the idea is to make it language independent, but it only makes the thing harder to use! I have a high-end digital camera that I have used for about 4 years now, and I STILL haven't figured out what some of the symbols are. Some of the buttons are so seldom used that I need to look up in the manual what their function is. Still I can't figure out what the symbol is!

Posted by: Gary Edstrom at March 11, 2005 09:59 AM

This phone is clearly broken, and really really old. Was this originally submitted in 2000? The phone's not color, is big and has a pocket watch looking display. I think the clock on my microwave has better display technology.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at March 11, 2005 10:10 AM

The ramp is a pretty standard icon for volume. And faced with the manuscript/parchment/whatever, I'd guess pretty readily that it's a call log.

But the happy sun? And some of those others...Those are a big WTF...

Posted by: Ken at March 11, 2005 10:53 AM

I did a little more research on this phone, unfortunately it's extremely old. It doesn't appear, at least from their website that Philips is in the cellular phone market anymore so it's possible, that this crappy phone and it's poor ui, ran them out of the market.

It would actually be cool to see darwinistic evolution of products where the ones with crappy interfaces disappear, leaving us with highly specialized and intuitive products.

Here's what I'd guess each thing does.

People -- address book

Phone with sound coming out -- Talk/End Call

Sun -- Power (this is why your dad hangs up on you, he bumps the power with his cheek)


Speaker -- Volume

Parchment -- Text Message

Posted by: Joshua Wood at March 11, 2005 11:20 AM

The arrows on the C button point right, don't they?

I'm sticking with the ramp for volume, the speaker is probably speakerphone.

It doesn't look like a cell phone to me, so I doubt it has text messaging, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: Ken at March 11, 2005 01:46 PM


If it's not a cell phone, then the sun is probably to backlight the display

Posted by: Joshua Wood at March 11, 2005 01:48 PM

I don't think it's a cellular/wireless phone. It looks like a cordless phone for home use. And I'm guessing it was originally created for the European market (where Philips is big) and out of necessity, there isn't much lanuage on the buttons. Every home cordless phone I've used in Europe suffers from that problem. Some standardization of icons would be the non-broken way to address this, rather than trying to come up with a lot of clever symbols. Although, some of the buttons seem to be pretty common amongst European phones (for instance, the ramp-shaped volume button is typical of not only Euro phones, but their TV remote controls as well).

Posted by: Steve at March 11, 2005 02:14 PM

one of the ugliest things i've ever seen... broken for design in this day and age :p

Posted by: Dragon at March 11, 2005 02:41 PM

Now I'm wondering what the buttons at the lower-left and lower-right are... of course, they're rather blurry in the picture, so that doesn't help. The left one looks like an 'R' with an arrow pointing into a box, and the right one looks like a phone with something growing out of the mouthpiece and 'OK' by it. And I can't come up with any good translation for either!

Posted by: codeman38 at March 11, 2005 02:55 PM

personally i bet that the r is redial, and the ok the power switch

Posted by: Dragon at March 11, 2005 03:16 PM

All of the answers to your questions can be found here:

But to clarify a few:

- This is a DECT digital cordless phone designed for use in the United Kingdom

- The sun is used to activate the Friend Phonebook feature

- The tall person/short person to its left is used to activate the Family Phonebook feature

- C->-> is used as to activate the redial list and make corrections

Posted by: Dave at March 11, 2005 04:06 PM

why were people wven saying that it was a cell phone, anyway

Posted by: joe plaugher at March 11, 2005 04:39 PM

my gf has the same phone. hers is new. I found it totally weird, so I asked her about it. Dave is right, the person button and the sun button are for phone books. she didn't know what most of the others did, though (or maybe she just got tired of me ranting on and on about her phone and pretended to not know :-)

Posted by: LKM at March 11, 2005 06:13 PM

joe plaugher: the item above specifies "Philips mobile phone", which would suggest a cell phone.

Posted by: Alden Bates at March 11, 2005 09:12 PM

i was going to say that, but my comment was going to say it would have been better if it said cordless phone. My computer randomly reset when i was about to post it.

Posted by: unknown at March 12, 2005 07:05 AM

Computer reset- did it ask your aproval? if not, your computer is also broken.

I agree that standardized Icons would help.

Posted by: Matt Darby at March 12, 2005 08:09 AM

Well, DECT is a bit more than home cordless phones (but home cordless phones are a subset of DECT), so it could be a few things:

Posted by: mendel at March 12, 2005 11:41 AM

Whoa...Parchment for text messaging? Even if that was a cell phone, it would be far too ancient. lol..

Posted by: Travis at March 12, 2005 03:45 PM

New from Telephonus Romanus...

Macedonian Text Messaging!

Send a parchment to any point in the empire for 10 denarii. Guaranteed to arrive in 10 days or your money back!

Posted by: fuzzy at March 12, 2005 06:14 PM

There is definitely something to be said for an industry standard with these types of things. I could not imagien what they were thinking with that phone.

Posted by: Linda at March 13, 2005 08:53 AM

My computer reset like someone pressed the reset

button. I wonder if it has something to do that i was running Win XP at the time.I have linux too.

Posted by: unknown at March 14, 2005 09:34 PM

I think your dad is broken for buying the phone in the first place. I hope you bought this poor man a new phone. I think it's time for the guessing games to stop.

Posted by: Porthos at March 17, 2005 03:29 PM

I think the "C" means call logs. That's what my phone does.

Posted by: John at May 9, 2005 08:56 PM

Dear Sir

I am a small Cellular Phone vendor in Southern Punjab Pakistan. I started my business some months ago and going on fine. However, due to the emergence of new cell companies like Telenor and Alwarid and the expansion of the old companies there is a huge demand for Cell phones in this specific area and in Pakistan as a whole.

The total market is expanding and call tariffs are shrinking and average Pakistani (the largest segment of Market) cannot buy new cell phone set. There is a persistent and insistent cry for used cell phones from the consumers.

I buy used phone from some vendors in Lahore Pakistan and sell it on my shop. I want to import used mobile phone set so that I could work more professionally.

This is the brief about my business and myself. Hoping for positive response.

Thank you


Posted by: S. at May 10, 2005 01:24 AM

I think the _OFF_ by the 9 turns it off!

look at the nine guys

Posted by: blah at July 4, 2005 08:03 PM


Posted by: DJDAN420FL69 at July 20, 2005 08:44 PM

Recently I have brought a PHILIPS-766 set. It is very nice to look at and very easy to handle. It is cheaper than other cell phone.

Posted by: Ashutosh at May 15, 2006 06:38 AM

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