Ringing in the Spring -
By Ernest Lilley
I've gone over to the dark side of the cellular force.
It happened at CTIA last month, when I started playing Asteroids, the classic arcade game, on a Blackberry. Long ago, in a bar far, far away, I promised myself that if I ever made it, I'd buy my own Asteroids machine. It's a fairly mindless game, but I still like it, and I've installed it on most every computer I've owned. Now I've played it on a cell phone I realize that I'm as much a mobile gamer as my nephew, something I'd been denying. Then over at Sprint's booth, where they were demonstrating their $9.99-per-month MobiTV, I got hooked on video content. Though the image is jerky, the screen small and its battery appetite considerable, I can get channels on it I can't even get on my cable.
Like many technically oriented people, especially those over forty, I'm fiscally conservative. I've been accused of being cheap, but they never made it stick. I prefer to think of myself as value oriented. I like to buy a thing and use it up. Unfortunately, current business models are about sustainable cash streams, not durable goods. I've been a futurist all my life, and I'm not about to give it up just because it's not the future I expected. This is the real future, and I've decided to try accepting it for a change, because (and I'm sure about this) the alternative is to get left behind.
I think I'll download some ringtones, even if they do cost twice as much as an MP3 and only last 90 days.
Although Nextel pioneered Push-To-Talk (PTT) on cell phones, they no longer have a monopoly on it, as Verizon and Sprint have added PTT service on their handsets as well. Even though you can only talk within your own carrier's network today, interoperability between carriers should be only a matter of time.