Data Only Phones

It’s interesting that the current speculation about mobile technology is that smartphones may soon loose the phone component. You have AT&T boss predicting data only plans and massive speculation about a Facebook phone, the New York Times says the social network has been recruiting hardware engineers to build its own phone. What these two ideas do is subvert the traditional business and role of the telco companies. It also undermines their traditional dominance of the marketplace. Steve Jobs had an idea for a data only iPhone back in 2007 – unfortunately the smartphone revolution hadn’t quite begun back then and the world was not ready.

But is it now?

I think the time is about right with services and infrastructure just about up to the job. I can do a lot of what my smartphone can do now from my data only iPad. If I could use a few more features over 3G (like facetime) and make calls to landlines I would be pretty much there. I could use skype to make these calls – but that’s another subscription and one I can’t afford right now – so it’s all possible right now. Its complicated and not very robust, so if someone can package all that into something simple and  intuitive you could definitely sell that.

So, will it be Facebook?


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