There’s a friggin’ cellphone in the most recent Entertainment Weekly

Hackaday readers were stumbling over each other to send in a link about this Android cellphone inside of an Entertainment Weekly magazine. Thanks to all who sent it in, and keep them coming. We’d rather get too many tips than none at all!

The first thing we should address is the discomfort you will feel while watching the video after the break. If you’ve got any experience tearing open electronics to see what’s inside you will be physically uncomfortable watching this pair bumble through it. It makes us want to do some MST3K-style overdubbing of the video, but their content ownership claim in the description makes us sure we’d get an immediate take-down notice if we did so.

At any rate, what we have here is some really cool tech you almost certainly will not be able to get your hands on. In the image above you can see the small LCD screen to the right. It comes to life when the page is opened thanks to the sliding switch being pointed to in the image. A few television show promos will play before the device starts scrolling items from the CW Twitter feed. When the hardware is pulled out of the pages there’s some interesting tinkering to be done. Shorting the contacts on the keyboard overlay (about 8 minutes into the video) brings up an Asian-language menu which is pretty obviously Android.

This is not the first time the magazine has done something like this. CBS embedded video a few years back but we’re pretty sure that one didn’t use the full guts of a cellphone. It’s just too bad these issues are so rare (only 1000 are available in two cities) as we had a lot of fun hacking that Esquire issue with the epaper in it.


  1. ashirviskas says:

    What is the model of that phone ?

  2. rasz says:

    WARNING: Dont watch the video, or you will get a seizure just listening to that “Senior Tech Analyst”

  3. Drake says:

    I was hoping to get one, couldnt find the magizine let alone one of the special ones. Oh well.

  4. wolfy02 says:

    anyone else hoping this schmuck was going to stab himself when he decided to “drill” into the hot glue?

  5. MrXavia says:

    That has to be the worst tear down I’ve seen…

    She is dumb, he is dumb, they couldn’t even name the type of usb port it was…

    Senior Tech Analyst? Me thinks she lied on a cv…

  6. Hahah, yea. I wanted both of them to take their own respective paper bags and breath into it. It’s cool, no doubt. However, the level of enthusiasm these two had was off the charts.

  7. shanon geber says:

    cut-apart ABO 810, a budget smartphone running Android 2.2 FroYo and costing right around $40 USD if you buy one yourself.

  8. Brian says:

    Well you were right about one thing, extraordinarily annoying people. OH MY ITS A PHONE!!!!!! What did they think could receive tweets cheaper? Developing software custom would take money of course it is a cheap phone.

  9. Impressive find! However, I’d like to see someone else get a copy of the mag and make their own teardown video……….this is nauseating

  10. walt says:

    anyone call 821-938-6877 yet?
    Also, what if you didn’t know about this and tried to take your magazine onto a plane?!

  11. x86ed says:
  12. cyrozap says:

    I think Lance Ulanoff used to work for PC Magazine…

  13. says:

    … If I had watched your previous video, I would have KNOWN to NOT WATCH THIS ONE!

  14. Reggie says:

    I wonder if I’d get away with bludgeoning them to death with a seal cub whilst screaming ‘Lern2Geek’.

  15. mfsamuel says:

    purely on principle * is now DNS blacklisted in my house.

  16. skiboy941 says:

    I just went out to the store to get a stack of these. Well whoop-de-f**king-doo, apparently it’s for subscribers only. There were NONE inside the magazine. Do you know the looks people give to you when you show that much excitment about “Entertainment Weekly?” Not. Fun. At. All.

  17. bronk says:

    Neat “surprise”, but a total overkill and waste.

    Has anyone figured out what the service restrictions are? Probably limited to X MB’s of lifetime usage, but how much. I’d buy the magazine just for the temporary SIM if the data plan is worthwhile. Also they made a call so there might be some sort of phone plan.

  18. Akoi Meexx says:

    God that was hard to watch. Anyone want to send me that magazine so I can put up a proper teardown video? :p

  19. Chris says:

    Best part of video was when he said “Ugh, I’m an idiot!”

  20. t&p says:

    “Why does that look like a CCD?”
    “It does! Unless that’s what they are using for the LCD part of the display…”

    oh god

  21. Tupin says:

    Of course it’s only in NYC and LA, because those are the only places that matter, right? Have the people who came up with this been anywhere else?

  22. argh says:

    Wow, what a decadent waste of ressources. You can get the content with devices 99% of the customers that buy this magazine already own. But instead use electronic litter that 95% throw in their thrash can and pollute the environement with heavy metal and toxins. Nah, too much for a marketing-gag.

    • nes says:

      You have a good point: not so much the waste of resources as they only did a run of 1000, but this isn’t going to get recycled correctly. What’s the battery chemistry they used? I guess if the phones are intended for China domestic market they’ll be using Pb bearing solder.

      • pelrun says:

        Lipos are landfill-safe once they’re discharged (throw them in a bucket of saltwater overnight) – there’s nothing environmentally hazardous in them.

        Proper battery disposal is more important for the battery types that have heavy metals in them (NiCad, Lead Acid, etc)

  23. simbin says:

    Probably only get these in NY right?

  24. Argon says:

    Back in late 1980s there were those hi-tech “musical postcards”. Inside was a PCB with lithium battery, plastic strip^Wtab actually turning thing on, and a piezo speaker with plastic resonator. After 20+ years cellphone is nothing special actually, given the price. Possibly it’s cheaper to write an android app and buy 10k modded Raspberry clones than design such a thing from scratch. Overkill, possibly, as using Arduino for blinking LEDs.

  25. Foo says:

    It’s really heartwarming that someone let these retarded people tear apart this magazine. It’s a phone! It’s a phone! It’s a phone!

  26. Halloween_Harry says:

    Im glad this story is on here but i do regret watching the video. i should have listened to the 2nd post. now i have no tongue, and half my IQ.

    granted, that’s still more than both these fools put together.

  27. Daley says:

    This is the same level of excitement my dog achieves when receiving a new toy. To me, the $3 toy is insignificant; to her dog-brain, the experience is exhilarating.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  28. Sienar Fleet Systems says:

    Just the dumbness of these presenters makes this video entertaining.

    In the company i work in, that woman would be fired in µs…

    Oh, and because of some comments on YT:

  29. soopergooman says:

    A systems analyst that cant tell the difference between android and a blackberry? YOU’RE FIRED!

    • SavannahLion says:

      They’re not alone. I spent an hour in a meeting where an SA explained why the hard drives in our office could not read the 5.5″ floppies.

      I would’ve piped up and said something but I’m not paid enough.

  30. CRJEEA says:

    At least it was a backwards facing camera.
    I wonder if they left the microphone conected? Can you imagine if for “consumer research” they used the phones as bugging devices? Totally do able.

  31. HackJack says:

    It really gets in my nerve that the woman keeps saying it is a blackberry. It is like she have never seen a phone with keyboard other than blackberry.

    BTW, I think the phone has some sort of prepaid voice/data-plan.

  32. pencilneck says:

    These people are smart enough to be TSA agents.

  33. mur1010 says:

    I couldn’t watch the whole thing…Senior Tech Analyst, O RLY? “Old school USB port” WTF? I can’t think of a worst teardown than this…even that times when I was 3 yr. old and used to disassemble things with a blind knife or a hammer can’t be worse than this…

  34. Don says:

    Uh excuse me sir. The magazine in your carry on luggage has some wiring and a battery in it. Do you
    know any thing about that.
    Me scared No I just bought it from the new stand.
    Sir put your hands behind your back. Click
    Come with me.

  35. jyio says:

    I stopped by Barnes & Noble today to check this out; confirmed that it’s for subscribers only.

  36. Larissa says:

    Credit for a main stream magazine to make steps to improving the general population’s electronic literacy.

    Although the video is painful for most of us to watch… I think they did a good job for thier skill and comfort level. Props for stepping out of the house-mom dentist office crowd and making an effort to bridge the gap between technology and Apple-style “magic” so many seem to accept.

    Like watching a grown adult ice skate for the first time… This is new and I hope they get the hang of it (or see value in hiring a better expert :-) )

  37. Haku says:

    It was like watching the modern day equivilant of the beginning of 2001:A Space Odyssey with the monkeys.

  38. Tech Zoo says:

    Geesh, and people have previously complained on HAD that posters don’t monkey around enough. :D

  39. Galane says:

    Next step, Elroy Jetson’s box of Moonies cereal with a TV on the back, but it’ll only receive the Nimbus the Great show.

  40. tedmeyers says:

    Hmm, how long until the advertiser uses the camera to take videos of the subscribers? That could be fun.

  41. xorpunk says:

    I’d like to dump the core firmware just to look at in IDA and look for hidden features..

    Looks like a programmable display, media via USB program via something else..

  42. Jeff says:

    The two people depicted in this video are responsible for the downfall of America…

  43. joi says:

    A person at my current job always redundantly repeats whatever other people just said. I’ll advise him to seek employment as senior tech analyst.

  44. pablo says:

    I recently got a video in print magazine here in the UK that is almost identical CBS magazine a few years ago but with updated hardware and micro SD. I couldn’t find anything on hacking it other than replacing the videos on board but some Russian guys (google sites) seem to have managed to get linux running on it. I’m goimg to try and work it out at when i get a chance.

  45. bothersaidpooh says:

    Interesting, even if its a low resolution display and a modern “core” running Java this is still amazingly cheap for a disposable product.

    It could be possible to sell a future RPi in this way, have it display its “Buy Me!!” adverts as someone walks past via light level driven switch.

    Rumour has it that the Rev 4 might have an onboard display socket suitable for the cheapest displays such as the Nokia ones and others, or even two sockets.
    Adding a video input would also be handy or simply use a flat solar cell and sensor behind the LCD and rely on “active” pixel scanning to capture a colour image.

  46. wiimanofthenorth says:

    Looks like a foxconn A8000 to me!

  47. Nova says:

    “I wonder where the port goes into the battery”
    USB never connects to a lipo directly…
    “That’s also a battery” *points to empty coin-cell holder*

    The list goes on and on, I cringed when he blindly stabbed the page before even knowing what was really underneath.

  48. Augur says:

    I think I’ve lost time I will get back…. My Yorkie could do a better teardown….

  49. Ryan says:

    That’s awesome

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