March 29th, 2009

Mobile Phones and Some Cool Things To Do With Them

The average American is never further than four feet away from their mobile device at any point throughout the day.*  Cell phones will become a key route for communicating to customers as marketing tools continue to evolve.  How we do that exactly has yet to be determined: opt-in text messaging, advertising on search sites/services (i.e., Cha Cha), and banner ads on mobile-specific websites (i.e., Wall Street Journal Mobile) are a few possibilities.  As mobile technologies continue to enter the marketplace, the importance of cell phones will only increase. This morning, I watched David Pogue’s TED talk “Cool new things you can do with your mobile phone.”  Not only did Mr. Pogue reveal some fun newish technologies, but he was a very entertaining presenter as well (video embedded below for your viewing pleasure).  Here are some of the technologies Mr. Pogue discusses in his TED talk that were particularly interesting to me:

  • Voicemail transcription services. I have been using Phone Tag now for several months, and I agree with Mr. Pogue: it is a blessing.  These services record your voicemail, transcribe it, then send it to you as email or text.  Included with the email is a WAV file of the audio recording so you can listen to it yourself.  It is a fantastic timesaver as you can avoid all the tedious button pressing and voice command maneuvering that is necessary to check regular voicemail.
  • Automated, pre-scheduled calling services. Ok, I made up that description, but that is the best way to describe Popularity Dialer.  This service will call your phone at a pre-determined time, using a voice that you pre-select and allow you to fake a conversation.  When might this be used, you ask?  Maybe you are on a blind date and want a way to get out of it, just in case it is not going well.  Maybe you need people to think you are really popular and that is measured by the number of phone calls you receive.  You can even plan a Popularity Dialer “Affirmation Call” to give you encouragement at time you think you might need it.  This is hilarious.  Disclaimer: I have never used this service.
  • One number for everything. Google Voice recently purchased Grand Central, so it hasn’t launched to the masses yet, but the premise is interesting.  Through this service, Google Voice will provide users with one number that will ring to all of the user’s phones: office, home, cell, etc.  The official description: “Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.”  Mr. Pogue talks more about this in his TED talk.  I will be anxious to test it once the service become available.

David Pogue on TED:

*According to a Blake’s Think Tank Twitter post on March 19th.

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