I’ve got a feeling… that this new iPhone accessory is going to be an outrageously overpriced flop.
That sure is a snazzy looking camera up there… except that it’s not really a camera. No, this is the foto.sosho, brainchild of Black Eyed Peas frontman and gadget aficionado Will.i.am. So what is foto.sosho if it’s not a camera? It’s an upgrade that will “transform your iPhone from a smartphone to a genius phone,” according to the official PR.
The curious accessory bolts on a camera body with support for interchangeable lenses, an enhanced flash, and a grip so that your phone feels more like a digital point-and-shoot while you snap photos. The foto.sosho C.4 is the lowest-end model, and it’ll sell for about $250. Apart from the ability to swap in a fisheye or wide-angle lens, you’d really just be spending $250 for an eye-catching (in a good or bad way, depending on your tastes) case that makes you look slightly more ridiculous when you use your iPhone as an actual phone.
Step up to the photo.sosho V.4 and you’ll get a slide-out, backlit QWERTY keyboard for your $380 outlay. It pairs with your iPhone 4 or 4S using Bluetooth, and turns your smartly-designed Apple smartphone into the bizarre, Frankensteinish creation you see below.
Those of you who own an iPhone 5, don’t fret — there’s the foto.sosho V.5, too. This model has yet to be priced, and no working prototype was on display at Will.i.am’s big unveiling event, but it’s reportedly going to pack its own 14MP sensor (instead of the iPhone 5′s own 8MP Exmor R sensor) to capture images. How exactly is it going to work? That’s top secret for the time being, though the V.5 could end up being nothing more than vapourware.
Will.i.am’s partner on the foto.sosho is Chandra Rathakrishnan, who was behind the ill-fated Joojoo tablet. Rathakrishnan headed up Fusion Garage, the company that was working with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington on the CrunchPad, a tablet designed for mobile web browsing. The whole situation got very messy, and Arrington ended up suing Fusion Garage in 2009.
The JooJoo never got off the ground, either. Fusion Garage put it up for pre-orders in December of 2009 for $499, and two months later the company announced that it was ceasing production. 90 JooJoo tablets were pre-ordered in total, and Fusion Garage declared bankruptcy at the beginning of this year. Knowing this, is Rathakrishnan really the guy to help Will.i.am turn his vision for the foto.sosho V.5 into a reality? And just who would pay hundreds of dollars for accessories like these when you can pick up something like the Olloclip for a fraction of the cost?
Prehaps Will’s red-carpet chums have already plunked down the cash for the first run. It’s hard to imagine the iam+ line attracting anyone but celebs with money to burn.