Do we REALLY need a phone?

Stefano Cavallari stefano at
Sun Apr 20 14:23:26 CEST 2008

On Sunday 20 April 2008 13:49:29 Schmidt AndrXs wrote:
> I disagree with that GSM phone is dying. In Europe almost everyone over
> 12 has a GSM phone and use it every day. How can you state it is dying? 
I said it is dying but few realizes it yet. Sooner or later people will want a 
internet connection with them. And the step from that and no longer needing a 
the full fledged phone network is quite small.
> On the other hand noone knows what would happen to the Internet if all
> those people would choose to use VOIP instead of PSTN (Public switched
> telephone network).
You can potentially use less bandwidth if you choose more intelligent codecs. 
And yes I'm for paying actual bandwidth for mobile Internet.
The Internet doesn't mean necessarily broadband and flat prices. 
And remember that IM is way more efficient (both from the human and the hw 
point of view) and cheap than VoIP, so many people would just switch to IM. 
It's because of absurd SMS costs and size limits that few uses them.
> The two networks have completely different 
> characteristics and PSTN is better for voice communication.
With GSM you are already using a digital protocol with a very lossy codec, and 
the latency is quite high (about 400 ms last time I checked). VoIP let's you 
choose the codec quality and associated costs. A better provider gives you 
lower latencies and jitter. People will just switch to the best one. 
So VoIP is potentially way better than PSTN :)

> ramsesoriginal wrote:
> > 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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