What does a soft drink and a smartphone have in common? Realme recently unveiled a Coca-Cola edition of the Realme 10 Pro 5G, a phone that pays tribute to the “Real Thing” in terms of designs and some neat interface touches. While it is routine to see special edition of gadgets based on content seen on them (editions of consoles based on certain games, for example), gadgets having special editions revolving around seemingly unrelated products and services are a relative rarity.
This is not to say that gadget manufacturers have not taken this less-travelled special edition road from time to time. It has not always worked in the commercial sense but has almost always grabbed attention and delighted those who wanted a break from regular routine gadgetry.
Here are seven occasions when brands announced special edition gadgets that were anything but geeky:
Mountain Dew Xbox Edition
A “Do the Dew” Xbox? Yes, it existed and was released in limited numbers in 2004. In terms of hardware, it was an exact copy of the original Xbox. But what was different was that it came in the brilliant fluorescent green colour that was the Mountain Dew trademark.
This special edition of the console was not available for sale over the counter — you had to purchase bottles of Mountain Dew, which got you points, and those points in turn enabled you to purchase this special Xbox edition. There were some plans to make a Mountain Dew controller too, but those did not work out. We just wish it had come to the market.
Oppo Reno 10x Zoom FC Barcelona Edition
Oppo had very close links with the legendary Spanish football club Barcelona and it is hardly surprising that the brand came out with a number of devices with the FC Barcelona Edition tag. Of these, the Oppo Redno 10x Zoom FC Barcelona Edition in 2019 stands out.
It came with the iconic Barcelona blue and red colours and also a specially designed cable and earbuds, and packed in some very powerful specs — the exact same as the flagship Oppo Reno 10x. So you got a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, a super AMOLED display, and fantastic cameras (with 10x zoom, obviously). Definitely one for football fans. A looker, and a performer too.
Nokia Lumia 800 Dark Knight Rises Edition
The Nokia Lumia 800 was a very important device as it was the first to come with Windows Phone on it as part of the Nokia-Microsoft alliance. As if this were not enough, the phone brand also came out with a special Dark Knight Rises edition of the phone.
The phone was the Lumia 800 in every sense of the word (3.7-inch AMOLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor and an 8-megapixel camera) but came with some Dark Knight Rises content which included trailers, wallpapers, some ringtones and even a Batman game. But perhaps the biggest attraction of the phone was the Batman logo on its back.
There were very limited units released in the market, but everyone who got one kept it.
Skullcandy Dorito SLYR
A pair of headphones inspired and dedicated to potato chips? Skullcandy has come out with just that. The band which is known for its innovatively designed personal audio equipment has come out with a Doritos edition of wired headphones targeted at gamers.
The bright-red SLYR headphones come with dazzling “UV-reactive glow graphics” which light up when you are gaming, making this one of the most eye-catching headphones out there. There is also a Skullcandy Dime TWS Doritos edition, but we prefer the larger headphones in terms of sheer impact.
“They’ll probably scare off the boring, plain chips crowd, but that’s OK,” said Skullcandy in its typically understated manner.
BlackBerry Porsche Design
Cars and gadgets have always had a close relationship and we have seen a number of smartphones and notebooks that have affiliations with the likes of Lamborghini and Ferrari, but one of the best car-phone blends was perhaps the BlackBerry Porsche Design in 2011.
On paper, the phone was a variant of the highly acclaimed BlackBerry Bold 9900 which combined the traditional BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard with a small but very sensitive touchscreen. However it was the frame and back that came laden with Porsche touches — the frame was stainless steel and the back was leather.
Even the keyboard was metallic. There were some Porsche touches in the UI too, but it was the design that hit home.
OnePlus Watch Harry Potter Edition
From having phones with Star Wars, Avenger, Pac-Man, and McLaren themes to TWS in collaboration with graffiti-making celebs, OnePlus has always been on the front foot when it comes to special editions of its devices. However, our favourite OnePlus special edition device was its Harry Potter-flavoured smartwatch launched in 2021.
From well-crafted packaging, which was modelled on the moving bricks of Diagon Alley to a beautifully embossed strap to special interface touches, this was the OnePlus Watch (which looked premium enough in its own right) with a generous dollop of Potter magic added to it.
It was a powerful smartwatch too, for good measure.
iPod U2 Special Edition
In terms of special editions, we think this is our favourite gadget of all time. In 2004, Apple introduced a U2-themed special edition of its iPod music player and of course, made it utterly memorable.
The Special Edition iPod came with a jet-black front, with a red click wheel for navigation. And as if that was not enough, the back of this special edition iPod came with signatures of the band members laser etched on its back.
The iPod also came with U2 content on it. This special edition was such a hit that Apple came out with three more variants of it. It remains a collector’s item to this day.