Telephony

The Next Revolution

The original iPhone was revolutionary because it was the first product to combine a phone, music player, Internet browser, mail client, camera, gaming system, and – let’s face it – an anything-to-anyone customizable application platform.

Likewise, the iPad was equally revolutionary in it’s positioning as a re-imagined PC alternative and Internet/media consumption device.

These were paradigm shifts. Nothing since then – whether from competitors or Apple’s own evolutionary releases – carry the gravitas that would allow anyone to call them similarly “revolutionary”.

Yet “not revolutionary” has been the charge levied – unfairly, in my opinion – against releases such as iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, and iPhone 4S. To my way of thinking, “revolutionary” is a difficult goal to achieve for any well-entrenched product line. And it got me to thinking: what would make for a “revolutionary” jump in mobile devices?

  • A capacitive multitouch display that also had solar charging capabilities? (Not just a solar cell on the back, but one integrated into the touchscreen?)
  • A pico projector and integrated laser-projection keyboard?

 

What do you think? Take a moment to participate in this thought experiment. Beyond simply “bigger, faster”, what next technology iteration would make a mobile device be worthy of the label “revolutionary”? Please comment!

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Android vs iPhone, Fair and Balanced

Nick Saint offers the most unbiased Android vs iPhone comparison that I have seen to date. It is well-balanced and (IMHO) reasonable in its assessment. The comments pre-date the iPhone availability of Google Voice, Google Goggles, or the potential “Verizon iPhone” – which might ameliorate some criticisms – but otherwise it is very fair.

I have hated all other “which is best” articles because they are so black-and-white in stating their personal preferences as fact. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are somehow less intelligent/attractive/moral if you prefer to have a virtual keyboard (iPhone) or removable battery (Android). There is no one right answer, no universal choice. Whatever you prefer is right for you, no matter what anyone else may opine.


The End of Phone as Utility

There’s an app for that. And it may soon replace the idea of Baby Bells and Verizon as utility companies. If it hadn’t already via Skype, telephony is now well on its way to becoming an application rather than a network, thanks to Google “Voice Chat”.

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Smartphone Tethering

Long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, computers went on-net – whether “on net” was “the Internet”, CompuServe, or (for the old-timers) something like FIDOnet – with a device called a “modem”. (Modems got their name because they MOdulated and DEModulated analog telephone signals to transmit binary data.)

In  these days of digital high-speed broadband and FIOS, a genuine “mo-dem” is somewhat of an ancient relic in the vernacular. However, if you have a smartphone, it can act as an analog (no pun intended) of an old-school telephony modem for getting your laptop onto the Internet when there is no other access available.

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Cell Phones Gaining On Landline Phones

I know many people who have ditched their landline in favor of becoming a cell-only household. Now I see them in a whole new light: chain-smoking, binge-drinking cellphone users, who, despite the extra handset radiation, alcohol, and cancer-sticks are statistically more healthy than I am!

I know that is not the conclusion to make of the CDC study described in the InformationWeek article, but I did find that part amusing.

I can certainly see the appeal of switching to cell-only. I’m actually halfway there. I absolutely love my XLink system, a Bluetooth bridge that allows me to answer my cell calls on the house line. And since incorporating Google Voice, the only direct calls I get on my landline are telemarketers who conveniently ignore the Do-Not-Call list. Why am I keeping the Cox bundle anyway; maybe I should cut out that part of the service? As long as I don’t have to take up smoking as a prerequisite…


The Telephony Decade

Many end-of-year articles tagged the “Ought” decade as “The Internet Decade”, citing the emergence of Google, FaceBook, YouTube, etc. I have too much love for the Internet to wedge it into a decade. The Internet is an era, an epoch, a revolution. The Internet began in the 60s. The web, as many people use synonymously as the Internet, technically started in the early 90s and began to push into commercial consciousness before 2000. Even Google itself actually began in 1998, though its stock value did not go meteoric until after 2002.

And while the Internet undoubtedly played a huge role in all those retrospective choices, many of the other catalysts attributed to the Internet actually had a lot to do with the telephone, and  more specifically, the cellphone. This might make the 2000s more appropriately “The Telephony Decade”.

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