Friday, July 27, 2007

E.T., Phone….My Cell?

Remember the days when you had to be some fancy-schmancy business person, or a well-connected techie with deep pockets in order to own a cell phone? And even when you did own one, it was a huge, brick-styled contraption that surely didn’t spell convenience in every sense of the word. Today, cell phones have grown so much in popularity, that recent reports indicate they’ve actually surpassed landline phones!

The Globe & Mail cites figures of $36.1 billion for cellular and Internet services in Canada in 2006, compared to just $9.75 billion for local phone services. Cellular phones accounted for 35 per cent of the total revenue with an impressive $12.64 billion.

According to a recent report, two-thirds of Canadian homes have at least one cellular phone; while about 7.5 million residents have broadband Internet access. I represent a growing category of consumer that doesn’t even own a landline service or phone, and strictly uses a cell phone and the Internet for communication.

In fact, I touched upon this very topic in the December 2006 issue of Marketnews Magazine (High-Tech Telephony, pg. 66). With the growing number of people who own cell phones, the traditional “home phone” is becoming a thing of the past.

The key word, however, is “traditional”, as neat, new home phone incarnations attempt to rejuvenate the category. These include things like Bluetooth phones, which connect with your Bluetooth-equipped cell phone to allow for making and receiving calls in areas of the home where you might not get adequate cellular reception (e.g. a basement); and Skype-capable multi-handset bundles that let you chat via the Internet in every room of the home using a traditional-looking handset.

It’s great to see even the home telephony sector moving forward with technology. Members of the consumer electronics industry can read High Tech Telephony by logging into the digital edition of Marketnews Magazine. Consumers can check out Talkin’ on the Cheap, a hands-on review of five Skype phones, on pg. 86 in the December 2006 Holiday Issue of here’s how! magazine (Click Here to download the full issue in PDF format:

[Photo: GE’s 28300EE2 2-in-1 Internet phone system can function as both a traditional landline phone, and an Internet phone. This model, and four others, were reviewed in the Dec. 2006 issue of here's how! magazine.]

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