Recycled Computing

I Want a Mobile Phone, Walkie-Talkie, and VOIP Phone in a Single Device

- 2008.08.05

Every once in a while, it would be nice to have more money. This thought usually occurs to me after I get my monthly cell phone bill. I have three teenagers and . . . I don't think I need to explain anything more.

I figured I'd better think up a way to make a gazillion dollars.

Eureka! I just thought one up. Now in order to do this, I'm going to need to own a cell phone company or a cell phone manufacturing company.

Hmmm, this is going to be a little bit more complicated than I thought.

I admire Apple's iPhone in that it will be another way for Apple and AT&T to make gazillions of dollars, and the iPhone is an innovation a light year ahead of the current "smart" phone market. However, no one is going to say that owning an iPhone on AT&T is going to be cheap. I have heard that the AT&T charges at least 50 smackers a month to use the iPhone on it's network. The iPhone has a web browser (heck, it has OS X on it), but you can't use the iPhone as an Internet phone (yet).

Skype would be perfect with an iPhone, but I can't see AT&T will sitting still for that.

If an iPhone or an Internet cell phone isn't near a WiFi spot, you can't use it to browse the Internet or make a VOIP call. And if your cell phone isn't near a cell phone tower (this can happen out here in rural America), you have an expensive doorstop.

Furthermore, when I go to the mall, my crew splits up faster than you can say "Sale! 50 percent off!" In order to regroup (it's a big mall) I have to call my wife at a clothing store, my daughter at the jewelry store, and my sons at Game Stop. As I make these calls, my cellphone company is gleefully charging me money. A walkie-talkie would solve this problem, but it would be just another product to purchase and carry.

Doesn't it make sense to have a phone that does all three?

T-Mobile offers a phone and service that lets you make cellphone calls and VOIP (Voice over IP) calls. And Nextel offers a walkie-talkie service with its cell phones. But nobody has the whole kit and kaboodle.

Imagine having a portable communication device that allows you to use VOIP when you are near a hotspot (I ran into one at a McDonald's, of all places), a regular cell service when you're not near a hotspot, and use it as a portable two-way radio when you're near another user or out in the woods.

I need an iTalk. (Has Steve Jobs trademarked that? I'll just bet someone has.)

It's three, three, three phones in one.

Meanwhile, I'd better pay that cellphone bill. LEM

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