Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The end of pay phones... cell phones next

I thoroughly enjoyed this read at the Yourdon Report on the end of the pay phone.

It didn’t really come as a surprise when I saw the story that ATT had announced it would withdraw from the pay-phone marketplace within the next year; if anything, it’s a surprise that there are any pay phones any more, at least in urban centers around the world.

What confused me, however, is that the article was titled: Bye bye, cell phones. I kept reading expecting a conclusion that cell phones would be obsolete in the near future as well. It didn't go there, and the title still confuses me, but I'm glad I kept reading. The story had an amusing and surprising ending.

It was this post by Harold Feld, Four Reasons Why Google Will Bid To Win in the 700 MHz Auction, that had me thinking optimistically about the end of the cell phone in the first place.

1. Google Has A Different Vision For the Wireless World It Can Only Achieve By Owning Licenses.

OK, the biggest problem is that analysts are looking at this as if Google wanted to break into the wireless phone business and introduce the fabled “G-Phone” similar to the Apple iPhone. But that's not what Google (and the rest of Silicon Valley) want. What Google really wants is far more audacious. Google wants to eliminate the entire wireless “phone” industry and replace it with the “mobile broadband” industry. In this world, people do not buy “mobile phone service” with the option to load all manner of various features for additional prices onto their phones. People buy a wireless service contract for a “dumb pipe” similar to what they buy (now) from cable and dsl companies.

We can only hope that the death of the cell phone is following shortly on the heels of the pay phone. Can't happen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.


Anonymous said...

I didn't go for the iphone. I went for the ipod touch and strongly considered the Nokia N810. As for paying a giant monthly cell fee to get those services, no thank you.

As for whether google will commoditize the device business, I don't know. It seems like people are willing to pay for design in devices.

The open standards seem to make well designed devices more valuable by allowing them to tap into the largest network, not the reverse.

Anonymous said...

Agreed again!

I like my Nokia N810. Liking it more all the time. There are things that the make the iPod Touch just a little more fun to play with, but the Nokia most definitely has more functionality. Way more programs than my jailbroken Touch.

I'm using them both through WiFi so there are no costs just yet.