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Hype machine junkyard

As the hype machine clicks into high gear for the CTIA Wireless 2007 show, I thought it might be nice to review some of the hype from years past. The goal, of course, is to show that this year’s hottest thing might not actually hang around until next year.
So, let’s review:
— Two-way paging. Remember pagers? They were so cool in the 1980s (the market reached a high point of 40 million subscribers). But as the 1990s dawned and cellphones moved from car trunks and into pockets, the nation’s paging companies began relentlessly hyping the market for two-way pagers. It was their only defense.
Suffice it to say, paging fell to the relentless march of cellular.
— PTT. Remember a few years ago when push to talk was all the rage, and the nation’s carriers breathlessly raced to be the first to offer non-iDEN PTT? Whatever happened to PTT?
Nothing, that’s what. Nowadays, only a handful of phones are capable of PTT. Those few who wanted PTT got it, and the rest of us went on our merry way.
— Mobile commerce. The business plan makes sense: Everyone has a cellphone, so why shouldn’t they conduct financial transactions using that phone? After all, users could check their bank accounts, send money to a friend, or even pay for a Coke using a text message. Imagine the possibilities!
Now, I admit there’s still a chance that mobile commerce could take off in wireless, but the topic has been around so long, and the hype has become so stale, it’s a service that I’m content to write off.
— WAP. When WAP first entered the scene it was billed as the Internet on your phone-how amazing! But now, as everyone knows, it’s absolutely not the Internet on your phone.
The problem with WAP is that it’s a completely different language from HTML, which forms the basis for the regular Internet. So of course it’s not going to be the Internet on your phone. It’s actually just WAP on your phone.
Now, on a more positive note, there are a few services I think should get more hype.
First, I think anytime minute reminders-in the form of text messages-should be a standard feature from all carriers. I also think we desperately need a visual voicemail system: “press star-six-six-pound to repeat this message” is just too complicated for me to work anymore.
I also think we need a cellphone-chapstick converged device, but maybe that’s just me.


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