Do we REALLY need a phone?

ramsesoriginal ramsesoriginal at
Sun Apr 20 13:27:03 CEST 2008

On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 12:10 PM, Stefano Cavallari
<stefano at> wrote:
> (sorry for the length of this message)
>  I was thinking today about how the phone system is quite dead without no one
>  noticing it. We are paying unreasonable tariffs for just sending data which
>  happens to be voice. The whole motivation behind having a number is no longer
>  existent as with portability and roaming you don't do switching anymore.
>  So you don't want to access the telephone network, you want to access the
>  Internet, then do whatever you want from there.
>  Yes in the meantime you may still want to do normal calls but the focus is in
>  doing VoIP and IM.
>  Because of this I think the next moko should be designed around this and be
>  mainly a handheld. With no included GSM module so you can focus in the
>  interesting part of the product and don't bet on the next mainstream
>  communication technology (mobile wimax? UMTS? EDGE? CDMA something?) and just
>  provide the one you are sure they will be supported for much time (wifi,
>  bluetooth).
>  Then you just provide some module to access the chosen network, like a SDIO
>  card (probably with a big external part like most wifi ones).
>  I was thinking of a beast like a bluetooth UMTS dongle. There are already USB
>  UMTS dongle right now which emulates a serial port. So it's a no brainer to
>  take an existing design, strip the usb-serial chip and put a bluetooth-serial
>  chip and a battery (the usual nokia one which most GPS and the Neo uses).
>  This gives the advantage of not having a powerful antenna attached to the ear
>  (when talking) or anyway near you (when messaging, browsing).
>  You can put it near a window and get better signal, and so on.
>  Of course some may find the SDIO more appealing or not. Anyway if you keep
>  this component separated you let the user choose whether they really need
>  GSM, you can develop the hardware WAY faster and most important, you don't
>  have to wait for the comm. modules to be functional to start selling, and if
>  a comm. module happens to be a total market/design/whatever failure you still
>  have the main product (the handheld) selling well.
>  Just my (long) 2 ¢
>  --

I have always been a big fan of the maximum modularity and
abstraction, and I totally agree on this part of your idea. I also
agree that the telephone system is a dying system, but since all of
your friends/family use it, and since we stil have no real mobile
alternative, i think its a bit to early for throwing away the whole
gsm parts. And that's why I like modularity: like you said, every one
can choose wether to have gsm, wifi, wimax, umts, or a some sort of
star trek transponder.
But since this would be a complete redesign of the system, and a
reinvention of the concept of mobile handheld. The idea is really
innovative, but difficult. Sure nothing to produce after the gta3, but
maybe to start developing.Ideally the modularity could be extendend to
some sort of wireless, maybe bluetooth.

btw, we already discussed a modular design some time ago... but I
don't remember how we decided.

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