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[GreenYes] disposable cell phones in development...
Forwarded, without comment, for comments!  -- terri steen

Reuters, 03/13/2001 19:22	[EDITED FOR LENGTH]
New phone heats up "chat'n'chuck" competition
By Andrew Quinn

SAN FRANCISCO, March 13 (Reuters) - [...] On Tuesday, San Francisco-based
start-up Telespree Communications officially entered the race to market it
called a new, low-cost alternative -- a disposable cell phone, most of which
people can throw away after finishing their conversation.

Proponents of the so-called "chat 'n chuck" cell phone say it will do for
wireless communication what the disposable camera did for photography,
making it cheap, easy and accessible enough for school children, older
people and low income earners to join the cell phone revolution.
[...]
Telespree is not the first to dream up an "over-the-counter" cell phone. New
Jersey toy developer Randice-Lisa Altschul won widespread news coverage in
recent months by announcing she had invented a cell phone made largely out
of paper, utilizing cheap, ultra-thin circuitry.

While Altschul's so-called "Phone-Card-Phone" is still in development,
Telespree has moved ahead with its vision of disposable wireless technology
-- a simple, two-piece phone that the company says may one day be sold at
gas stations and vending machines for as little as $30 and would be good to
go as soon as you took it out of the package.
[...] 
Telespree's phone has only two buttons, one to turn the device on and one to
make emergency calls. For normal calls, the user simply speaks the number
into the microphone and voice recognition software places the call.
While consumers may keep the earpiece and microphone, the "AirClip" portion
holds the battery and keeps track of how many minutes are left. When it is
finished, it is simply thrown away. (emphasis added)
Segal said the Telespree model was aimed at an "over-the-counter" consumer
who might want to buy a phone and begin talking right away.  "Buying a cell
phone now is a long, cumbersome, fairly painful process," he said. "With
this, all that paperwork is taken care of for you."
[...]
While the first versions will allow only outgoing calls, subsequent models
are expected to offer features like incoming calls as well as an address
book and voicemail, which could be written into the software hosted by the
system network.
[...]
Segal said the Telespree strategy would enable carriers to expand to
underserved telecommunications markets, both in the United States and
abroad.

"While the perception is that wireless has reached the mass market,
statistics point out that 60 percent of individuals in the United States
still don't own a wireless phone, with even larger unserved markets in much
of the rest of the world," Segal said in a statement.

(San Francisco bureau, 415-677-2541, andrew.quinn@reuters.com) 

Copyright 2001, Reuters News Service




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