Your 2014 Round-up of April Fool’s Tech Pranks

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Forget about finding any proper tech news today, at least until after noon—this morning the Internet will be awash with the yearly tradition of fake tech stories and pranks. I suppose I should take comfort in this evidence that the playful hacker spirit is alive and well, even if only  for one day. It’s just a shame that the vast majority of these “pranks” are entirely too obvious and dumb.

Here is the best—and some of the worst—of what I’ve come across so far.

Satire

The spectre of paywalls is a constant threat to a free Internet, and as such make for a good prank. Thus, at the start of their latest podcast the co-hosts of Android App Addicts announced a new mandatory subscription: $9.99/month.

I knew it was bogus from the get-go, but the conviction and details made it pretty convincing nonetheless. With sound bites like “it’s only two coffees a month,” and “we’re worth it,” this prank wandered, perhaps unwittingly, into satire. Well done.

Wearables

It figures that the hottest new category in hardware would be given the April Fool’s treatment; sure enough, both HTC and Samsung have stepped up to the plate—HTC with the Gluuv and Samsung with Fingers. Knowing Samsung they’ll probably go ahead and turn their prank into an actual product at some point, just because.

Virgin Mobile SmartSneaks

Virgin Mobile Canada, meanwhile, has been advertising SmartKicks since at least the weekend. Basically shoes with integrated Bluetooth speakers, it’s the work that’s gone into the website that makes this a better-than-average effort:

With a blend of fun and function, SmartKicks give people what they really want – an easier, deeper connection to their friends and the world around them.

For fake ad copy this is eerily accurate.

Too Far

Speaking of Canadian carriers, Fido would have us believe that the company with a dog’s name will now have a cat for its mascot:

Watching this fake ad made me suddenly and keenly aware of how much money this country’s telcos have to shamelessly toss around, and left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Similarly, forums member Ben Klass posted a fake story about TELUS becoming Canada’s uncarrier, offering prairie prices for data to Canadians across the country. If only

Brilliant

Google has a long and storied tradition of April Fool’s Day pranks. I’m not even sure if this year’s event qualifies as a “prank”, per se, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless. For a limited time you can use Google Maps on your smartphone to catch Pokémon. You can get all the details on the Google Maps blog, but there’s really not much more to it than that; without really trying I stumbled across three of them last night.

Anything Else?

As I post this the morning news is only starting to roll in, so feel free to add your favourite April Fool’s Day prank to this informal list…