No, Xiaomi’s Mi 8 Explorer Edition is not the first transparent device

Blast from the past: Apple iMac G3, Nintendo Game Boy Color, Sony Crystal PS4 controller - these are some of the few gadgets with translucent shells.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: June 3, 2018 5:30:14 pm
Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 From Apple iMac G3 to Nintendo Game Boy Color, here is a list of gadgets with translucent shells.

Although the suspense continues to what degree the transparent back on the Mi 8 ‘Explorer Edition’ actually shows the components inside, there is no doubt that the Xiaomi-made smartphone is innovative. The translucent back not just allows you to see all of the innards stacked together, it dramatically sets the Mi 8 ‘Explorer Edition’ apart from a sea of regular glass-backed phones. But the Explorer Edition isn’t the first device to show you what’s inside. I scanned the web and found more cool devices with a see-through chassis. Some are highly collectible, while others are pretty adorable. Here’s a look at transparent devices from the past.

Apple iMac G3

Apple released the iMac G3 in August 1998. The project was supervised by Steve Jobs who had returned to the Cupertino company the same year. Jony Ive was credited with the design, which makes the iMac 3 one of the best-looking computers ever made.

 Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 Apple iMac G3 is one of the most iconic computers ever created. (Image credit: Amazon.com)

The iMac G3 was made available in a range of different colours and used translucent plastic to allow the consumer to see the inner workings of the computer. The iMac 3 was a revolutionary product and it changed the fortunes of Apple. The base model of the iMac G3 sold for $999 (or approx Rs 66,928).

Also readMi 8 Explorer edition transparent back controversy: Xiaomi says parts are of actual mainboard

Nintendo Game Boy Color

The Game Boy Color was released in North America in 1998, the same year as the Apple iMac G3. The handheld console was affordable and was launched in a number of colours. Game Boy Color was offered in a see-through casing that lets users see the innards and circuit boards.

 Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 The popular Game Boy Color was offered in a see-through casing. (Image credit: Amazon.com)

The best selling game for the Nintendo Game Boy Color was the Pokémon Gold and Silver. Gamers also got to play the Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, and the twin Legend of Zelda games.

LG GD900

In 2009, LG showed off the world’s first transparent design phone, the GD900. Perhaps its distinguishing feature was a translucent sliding keypad with support for finger-writing recognition and vibrational haptic feedback. The phone came in a sliding form factor, and its translucent keypad illuminates when opened that reflects the device’s polished silver body.

 Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 LG GD900 came with a translucent keypad, and was primarily pitched as a fashion-centric phone. (Image credit: LG UK)

The LG GD900 was designed to make a fashion statement. It had a 3-inch multitouch screen and was powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional.

Also readHTC U12+ with four cameras, translucent back launched: Key specifications and features

Sony PS4 Crystal controller

In late 2017, Sony debuted see-through DualShock 4 controllers for PS4 in red, blue and crystal. The entire front face of the new pads was translucent revealing the internal components and interior of the DualShock 4.

Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 The limited-edition PS4 controller featured a translucent top panel. (Image credit: Sony)

These controllers had a redesigned touchpad with a new lightbar that shows things like your health in the game. Sony had previously released a similar Crystal DualShock 4 controller back in 2015.

LG Fx0

LG Fx0, which ran the now-defunct Firefox OS, was released in 2014. Conceptualised by award-winning designer Tokujin Yoshioka, the Fx0 was exclusive to Japanese carrier KDDI. The phone’s chassis was made from a transparent gold plastic, allowing you to see through to the battery, SD card holder, and other internal components.

Mi 8 explorer edition, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer edition, Apple iMac G3, iMac G3 translucent, Nintendo Game Boy Colour, LG Fx0, LG Fx0 firefox OS, PS4 crystal controller, gadgets with translucent chassis. LG GD900, Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 LG Fx0 had a transparent plastic, allowing you to see through the phone’s internal components. (Image credit: Souq.com)

LG Fx0 happens to be the first high-end smartphone to run Firefox OS 2.0. The handset’s specifications were, however, mediocre. Its claim to fame was a translucent shell – and an astonishing price of $450 (or approx Rs 30,147).

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