A clean, minimalist design works well in consumer tech. Apple, obviously, has done very well with that motif. But practicality and usability always trump beauty, a tech rule that Bang & Olufsen didn't quite grasp when it launched its crazy-expensive Serene phone in 2005. With its retro, rotary dial-inspired keypad, oddly positioned camera and limited feature set, the Serene was a very hard sell at $1,275. CNET's 2006 review of Bang & Olufsen's pricey faux pas summed it up beautifully: "The Serene is more suited to be showcased in a museum rather than carried around in your pocket."