The Twitter (X) Smartphone sports an X-shaped camera and a dedicated rear display for notifications

While the world’s been living on a prayer of a Tesla phone some day, designer Antonio De Rosa had a much better idea – why not build a phone centered around a much more smartphone-centric company? The Object-X is every microblogger’s dream device, with its own dedicated display unit just for Twitter (ahem, X). You can see notifications, browse the app, send tweets, and even access your Tesla right through the rear display. For everything else, a normal front display serves its purpose. Oh, and extra points if you noticed the X-shaped camera bump…

Designer: Antonio De Rosa

Just given the company’s (and its founder’s) trajectory over the past year, the Object-X may not be for everyone, but as a concept and design exercise, it makes for a pretty nifty piece of hardware. It builds on all of Elon’s companies’ most smartphone-centric features, from the social media app to Tesla integration, AI-based computational photography, and even enhanced connectivity thanks to Tesla SpaceLink.

The Object-X sports a 6.9-inch (nice) screen on the front, with a slightly asymmetric design and a sharper corner on the bottom right, with a dedicated X button that doubles as an Action Button, allowing you to do things like fire up the social media app, start your Tesla, or even chat with Grok (X’s ‘free speech’ AI chatbot). No, it probably isn’t made from the same metal as the Cybertruck, but it’s nice to think that maybe this could be possible one day.

The rear display is the Object-X’s most visually iconic feature, giving Twitter-addicts their dedicated supply of the microblogging platform. Although it’s really impossible to get any typing done on that small screen, it’s perfect for browsing tweets, retweeting, checking notifications, and liking tweets from your feed. A sidebar lets you also toggle between Twitter and Tesla applets, so you can also do things like locate your car, auto-park it, unlock it, or even remote-start your vehicle.

If the secondary display didn’t excite you, the quad-cam system probably might. Shaped to look like the X logo, the cameras are augmented by Twitter’s GROK AI that processes the photos to give you great images every time… or at least that’s what designer Antonio De Rosa envisions with the phone. The four cameras cover a wide range of scenarios, while a flash in the middle handles low-light photography.

The Object-X is clearly just a concept phone, but it explores possibilities more than it does feasibility. I doubt most people would trust Musk with a smart device that knows everything about you (no single person deserves all that power), but hey, you never know… the Cybertruck still has 1.9 million preorders as of last year, with no clear delivery in sight. People clearly have money to spare when it comes to Musk’s visions.

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The ‘Threads’ App is FILLED With Deceptive Dark Design Patterns – We Spotted More Than TEN

Aside from probably the launch of ChatGPT, I can’t ever recall a recent time in which the internet was THIS excited. While I personally believed that Zuckerberg’s new Threads app was doomed to be a hit and miss, it seems like I was dead wrong – the app saw more than 10 million users sign up in just 1.5 hours, with the number climbing up to 75 million as per a recent announcement from Zuckerberg. The reason? FOMO, along with the fact that the Threads app was designed to be incredibly intuitive. You didn’t need to make an account – if you were on Instagram, the account was already made for you. A simple click would import all your followers, your profile settings, and profile-picture and bio. However, veiled underneath that ease and convenience were a few patterns that designers and tech nerds were all too familiar with. These patterns, referred to as Dark Design Patterns, are known to manipulate and influence a user into doing something against their will.

If you’ve used the Uber app, you’re familiar with how notorious it is to cancel a ride while the app is searching for one. The ‘Cancel Ride’ button is greyed out, but the ‘Continue Searching’ is black and highly visible. Hit the Cancel button and Uber asks you at least twice if you’re sure you want to cancel. Amazon does the same thing with its Prime subscribers. Try canceling your Prime subscription and chances are you’ll just give up because Amazon’s made it so incredibly hard to cancel an active Prime membership.

The Threads app almost immediately displayed a whole bunch of dark patterns with its user interface. We spotted at least 11 of them, and we’re sure there are a lot more to come. Here are some highly evident dark tricks the Threads app is using to ensure you stay on the platform as long as you possibly can… and supply Meta with even more data than before.

1. In order to first make your Threads account, you need to log in through Instagram. The Threads app doesn’t let you create an account WITHOUT having an Instagram account. It does so to make the transition for Instagram users incredibly easy… but in doing so, it also ensures that people NEED to have both Instagram and Threads accounts active at all times. There’s no Threads without Instagram, so if you gave up your IG for any particular reason, you’re in a tough spot.

2. While onboarding users was designed to be easy, the Threads app does something notorious to ensure users don’t leave too. If at any point in time you feel the need to ‘delete’ your Threads app, it means you’ll have to delete your Instagram too. Sounds bizarre, right?! Well, the settings panel in the Threads app mentions that “deleting your account apply to both Threads and Instagram”, taking the ability to selectively delete your accounts right out of your hands.

3. As a form of consolation, Threads does allow you to ‘deactivate’ your account. This takes your Threads profile offline… but the data still exists on Meta’s servers, and it still remains tied to your IG at all times to help Meta build that dataset on you.

4. The reason why joining Threads was so easy was because your account was already created for you in advance. Prior to the launch, a Threads section on your Instagram page would give you a QR code and tell you that your IG handle was already reserved for you on Threads. It’s easy because the app is literally being handed to you on a silver platter with your username already pre-selected. This dark pattern becomes even darker because if your IG accidentally gets hacked, the hacker gets you Threads account with it, with little to no effort.

5. However, if you’ve somehow resisted joining Threads, don’t worry because Instagram makes it incredibly easy for others to share Threads content on the IG app – as a post, a story, or even a DM. This means that there’s really no escaping Threads content even if you made the conscious decision to not sign up for it. The fact that it’s so easy to share you Threads on Instagram just makes it grow faster, and in doing so, trap more users easily. Don’t think it’s a dark pattern? Well, think of it as being incredibly anti-competitive to all of Thread’s newer rivals like Mastodon or Blue Sky.

6. The Threads app conveniently copies all your profile settings from Instagram, but requires you to manually set your notification settings all over again. Moreover, just like Facebook and Instagram are often filled with bogus notifications, the Threads app will send you a ping every time someone you know joins Threads… a classic dark pattern to have you constantly checking the app every few minutes.

7. The Threads app doesn’t just copy profile settings, it basically mirrors all your IG data, providing Meta with yet another avenue for advertising. Sure, the Threads app doesn’t have ads or sponsored content, but don’t be surprised if you get ads on Instagram for stuff you speak about in Threads.

8. Perhaps one of the most malicious dark patterns lies in how much data the app collects on you. Even though Threads is just a microblogging platform, the app has access to your health data, financial data, and even your location. In fact, ex-CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey shared a snippet of the amount of data the app collects on you and it’s shocking. If you’re in the EU, you probably don’t have access to Threads for this exact reason, because the European Union has some incredibly strict laws on data gathering.

9. And even though Threads makes it very easy to share stuff to Instagram, your IG followers can’t view your thread unless they install the app and make their account. The most they can see is a snippet, which lures them into signing up.

10. The above is reinforced by the fact that Threads doesn’t have a desktop website either. Even though its competitor Twitter does, and even though Instagram does too, Threads can ONLY be accessed by installing an app, and logging in. That’s how Meta coerces you into installing an app that you then can’t remove… and an app that then constantly gathers data on you.

11. This one verges more on speculation at this point, but Threads rather visibly lacks DMs. It’s true that Meta is building out the feature as of now, but there’s a high chance those DMs will also be connected to your Instagram DMs. Famously a few years ago, Meta merged IG DMs with Messenger in order to facilitate cross-platform messaging (and in order to revive Messenger, which saw a slow but steady decline). While there’s no concrete evidence to back this, it’ll be interesting to see if Meta chooses to centralize Threads and Instagram DMs into one channel, creating yet another dark pattern. All we can do right now is wait and watch…

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Will you give this little gadget a Twitter Blue?

Ever since Elon Musk has acquired Twitter for $44 billion, there’s been a piqued interest in the social media platform. The introduction of paid blue tick (Twitter Blue) badge has been through a love-hate relationship all the way; but it has finally rolled out. If you’re unperturbed by the changing hierarchy or terms of use; the dedicated Twitter fan in you deserves a pocket device made especially for tweeting.

For someone who uses the platform a lot, merely having an app to explore isn’t a novelty. So, how about something like the Twitter 3D Gadget – a dedicated gadget for Tweeting. Get going with the exploration using devoted buttons, small screen, and a scroller on the device.

Designer: Duxica Design Agency

Looking more like a high-resolution portable media player – something akin to the Mighty Vibe – this little gadget would be the best thing for Twitterholics to have handy, especially for the ones who’ve started dishing out money for the Twitter Blue.

This conceptual design is all draped in the signature Blue with Black for contrast. There’s a small display on the front with a little camera lens on the top to click instant images you can upload instantly on the press of a button.

The front island has a mechanical scroll wheel, new tweet jot-down button, home button and more. To one side are placed the comment, like, retweet and upload media button. A dedicated notifications slider adjacent to these buttons, lets you zone off when committed to a productive task. Twitter 3D Gadget looks cute and fancy to pull out from the pocket at a café, but how useful would it for Spaces is something we’d know when it’s actually in the market?

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