atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#112: My New Cell Phone

Yeah, I needed a new phone. My old one is utterly kaput.

The new phone cost $19, less my 10% discount, and I also got a $20 (again, less my 10% discount) airtime card. Total outlay came to something like $40 with tax.

The new phone is tiny even compared with my old phone; here is an utterly crummy picture:

The new phone is smaller in every dimension. It has a color screen and programmable ringtones.

It's a Motorola. My first cell phone was a Motorola, one based on their "DynaTak" model--the one that was about the size and shape of a beige brick, and weighed nearly two pounds for an hour of talk time--that one. It had been given to me by a friend who had bought himself a newer phone. I used that Motorola for a couple of years before canceling my service.

This new phone weighs a few ounces and I can almost conceal it in my hand. I'm actually worried about losing it. I contemplated making it a keychain fob!

Still...I can't help wondering what the price of such a phone actually is. It's no secret that cell phone services sell the phones at a loss, which they make up on service charges. (More than make up....) I sincerely doubt that TracFone--my provider of choice--is making any money seeling this phone at a price where my employer can make a profit on selling them for $19. (If they are making money on the hardware, I'd be surprised. But I hear that in Japan you can buy pay-as-you-go cell phones for around $5.)

That would be an interesting niche market: the keychain phone. Heck, I have a "keychain digital camera"--the one I took the above picture with--and ironically it cost more than the phone did. Such a phone would have few features--maybe some memory for a few numbers, but no camera, MP3 player, text messaging, games, etc, etc--but it would be a good basic cell phone: you punch in a number and you talk to people. It could be about the size of an iPod Nano, and be "hardened" such that it could handle being jumbled around in your pocket with your keys. Maybe use a similar kind of control pad to enter the numbers--navigate a cursor around a screen and hit "enter" for each number, maybe, and then have a "send" and "end" button below that.

I'm sure someone's working on something like that.

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