Thursday, March 27, 2014

5 Reasons why the Offline Glass will never be a hit

Offline Glass
Now you'll never use your phone in the bar again!
You may have seen the video of the "Offline glass", one bar's solution to people constantly checking their phones at the bar. It is a pilsner glass with a notch cut out in its base for one to place their phone under to keep the glass upright. If the phone is under the glass, it no longer is in your hand and therefore you can't be using it. Sounds like a great idea for a bar environment, right? Am I right?


There are so many things wrong with this idea that I can barely begin to list them. Here are 5 reasons why this will never take off with bar owners.

Above is the video where this glass was first introduced. Watch it first before reading my section below.

1) The 'notch' makes the glass functionality limited outside its original intent.
Due to weird shape, storing this glass would be weird. There are a few solutions I can think of this this problem. The cut can be made so the wedge can be reinserted into the glass to keep it's functionality as a normal drinking glass. Alternatively, a phone-sized wooden block can be cut to be used as a balance to keep the glasses in storage. Luckily, I have designed a way for this glass to be stored, so in case this idea does take off, consult the image below.
9000 hours in MS paint
2) One size doesn't fit all.
Say you are in a bar, but you don't have an iPhone or similarly sized smartphone. What are you going to do if you are handed your beverage in this glass? Aside from the fact that this person would not have their nose in their phone, they also won't be able to set their glass down without it falling over. I highly doubt anyone would be willing to give up their phone to help this poor individual. I have never seen anyone lend their phone for a similar manner willingly. If this does get popular in all bars, either patron without phone will have to start ordering different drinks or get a wooden block (see above).

3) The glass cut only works for a pilsner glass.
As pilsner glasses have thick bases, it makes it easy to cut a notch into the base. However, not all beer is served in a pilsner glass. Wine glasses and pint glasses are also commonly used to serve drinks. These don't have thick enough bases to cut a notch into (not even DAS BOOT has a thick enough base). What is the solution to stop antisocial behavior then?
I'd like to see them try to cut a tankard like this
4) The unique shape of the glass makes it and the phones obvious targets for theft.
I have a kleptomaniac of a friend who likes to "borrow" glassware from the bars. I can only imagine her face when she first encounters this glass. From watching the video, the way the glasses are cut is very labor intensive (unless automated) so losing any of these glasses would be costly for the bar. In addition to the glasses being stolen, people are likely to leave their phones at the bar if they forget to pick them up after finishing their drink. This will lead to a lot of unhappy customers (but very happy thieves!)

5) Liquids and electronics do not mix.
Since the glass has such a unique bottom, it's very likely for them to collapse and shatter into a million little glass pieces. This is especially devastating if the glass is filled with beer at the time it falls over. I can already envision problems occurring when someone who has had a few too many drinks ends up missing their "coaster" and sends the drink spilling off onto the people and the phones around them. Who's going to pay for the damages? The bar will have to cover the cost of their broken glasses already. But due to our sue happy culture, it's likely people will take their frustration and financial woes out on them too.
I should also mention that the kind of beer served in a pilsner glass is usually ice cold, meaning the glass will pick up a lot of condensation. Now you don't even need to spill to potentially damage the phone, the droplets can drip down and cause the necessary damage.

As good of an idea the Offline Glass sounds to many people my age, changing drinking habits cannot be accomplished by changing the hardware alone. What really needs to change is the behavior of the bar patrons themselves. There have been many games developed (such as phone stack) to eliminate antisocial behavior in bars. Let's stick to those instead of mutilating our beer glasses or destroying our phones.

My opinion varies from my buddy at My Lack of Writing Skill. Go read his argument.

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