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The Gadget Helpline’s April Fools Round-Up

April the 1st – a date notorious for its tradition of pranks and fake stories in which our favourite tech brands and websites will usually try to tease us with tantalising news of unbelievable product launches and other make-believe marketing. Throughout the day we’ll try to keep an eye on some of the best (and worst) of April Fool’s 2016 and bring them to you here:

May the Farce Be With You – (IGN)

IGN has posted an exciting video claiming to be the first teaser trailer for the long hinted at Star Wars live action TV show.

The trailer is dark – like really dark, and opens with dead Imperial officers and a Stormtrooper laid out in a corridor while a cloaked figure slowly walks through the carnage. The cloaked figure is then seen approaching a long haired Jedi before the red blade of a lightsaber comes to life – and this is where the fun begins.

Teasing shots of the infamous Slave 2 – the presumably deceased bounty hunter Boba Fett’s ship, plunging into a canyon with lavish special effects make us wish this was the real deal. We’re then treated to almost a minute of fight scenes and action between Mandalorian, Jedi and Sith – with the Dark Lord in question revealed to be The Phantom Menace’s main villain turned cult anti-hero Darth Maul.

The series title ‘Fury of Maul’ is revealed at the end, along with a release date appropriately set for May the 4th. This well-made hoax even bears the official logos for Lucasfilm and Netflix who are clearly willing to play along with the gag.

Don’t Believe Me, Just Watch – (Samsung)

Samsung has been dragging out its April Fools gag since yesterday when a mysterious tweet appeared advising that ‘Something big is coming tomorrow’.

This kind of cryptic slogan from the mobile maker usually heralds the arrival of a new Galaxy product and, to further bait us, they even posted an animated gif of a blue glowing figure of 8. With the company’s current flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, released just recently (20 days ago in fact) the news of another premium handset would be very questionable indeed – but throw in the hashtag #TheNextGalaxy and an emoji face sporting a VR headset and it almost made it believable. Almost.

But the joke is apparently on the Samsung Twitter followers because the next Galaxy smartphone is still far, far away and extra footage has been added to the gif today which reveals the 8 is merely the circular illuminated faces of a pair of Gear S2 Classic smartwatches. The date Fri Apr 1 – April Fool’s Day appears on one screen while the one beneath flashes up a cheeky tongue wagging emoji!

Joke’s on Goog – (Google)

Google’s April Fool’s gag this year went a bit wrong when a new ‘Mic Drop’ feature for Gmail didn’t end up as funny as first intended.

Google had planted the new feature into its email service as a joke, allowing users to end a conversation with a ‘Mic Drop’ – the recognised metaphor for abruptly ending a conversation with the upper hand, when there is nothing left to say. The feature was intended as a comical alternative to the mute option, replacing Send & Archive and adding a Mic Drop at the end of an email through Gmail would also insert a gif of an animated Minion – those little yellow dudes from Despicable Me, not the mention countless subsequent memes.

True, this might be humorous in some circumstances and to the right crowd but a glitch with the Gmail system caused the Mic Drop to appear in all emails when the Send button was hit and work bosses were among the recipients of the childish footnote. In one instance, reported on Twitter, a funeral home inadvertently closed an email to a grieving customer with a Mic Drop and a playful Minion after consoling them over the passing of their daughter. After things took a dark turn it was time for Google to quickly pull the plug on the prank.

Google’s official blog humbly apologised and announced the withdrawal of the Mic Drop feature and remarks “It looks like we pranked ourselves this year.”

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