Thursday, July 24, 2008

Need a Veterinarian? Ask My Phone!

My new cell phone is a wonder. A total wonder.

I watched Carl Pope, the head of the Sierra Club getting skewered by Steve Colbert on Comedy Central while I was in a bathroom stall in my office building, and then I read the latest web news articles on the elevator as I descended into the basement garage to pick up my car for my drive home from work.

Yes, yes, I have Comedy Central on the phone -- both live feed and and taped bits too.

Ditto for all the network news stations, VH1, E!, MTV, Discovery, CNN, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, CW, VH1, etc.

And yes, the speakers on the phone are good enough to play TV out loud without ear phones.


On the drive home last night, I played "stump the voice-activation" feature. I started with "Pizza" -- a snap -- and then tried Exxon (no problem), and "restaurant" (ditto), as well as "coffee."

The phone provided entire lists of choices for each kind of establishment, arranged from closest to me at the moment to farthest (yes, the phone has excellent GPS).

I tried to stump it by asking for specific local establishments that are not part of chains. Single stores -- no other location anywhere on earth. No problem; it knew where these places were.

I tried to get tougher. How about morally ambiguous places like a bar? No problem.

OK, I was going to show it up. Try harder. "Strip Club?" Surely that would be a problem. But it wasn't; it was in there! So too was "Massage Parlour" and "Gun Store" (though this last search also gave me lock smiths which sold gun safes). There is no moral ambiguity with this phone -- it has no morality at all. Wow.

OK, back to useful stuff. Grocery stores, pet stores, veterinarians, barbers, and WalMart. All in there. Nice!

And the amazing thing is that not only does the phone know where I am right that minute, it also knows where I want to go, and how to get there. And if I talk to it, it will talk back to me! No typing needed. The phone not only has the address and the phone number, but it also a ready map on screen, and turn-by-turn voice directions while I drive.

Yes, that's right; you speak to the phone, tell it what you want, and the phone finds it for you and then tells you how to get there. It TALKS to you!

Wow, wow, wow.

I'm thinking this phone will be a great asset for blind folks. Assistance dogs are useful but how many of them really know where the hardware store is? No problem -- this phone does, and it gives turn by turn directions while you walk!

I tried more spots.

Home Depot? WalMart? Staples? Safeway? Southern States? Tractor Supply? Book stores. Gas stations? Bicycle stores? The National Zoo? 7-Eleven? They were all in there.

So too was the weather report, and not just for today, but for the entire week ahead. The short version popped up in nice clear graphics, and the longer, more detailed version (hi-low, humidity, wind, dew point, air pressure, visibility) was one touch away and in text. And yes, we have tides and marine weather forecasts as well.

Plus the phone gets doppler radar. Doppler radar. On the phone.

Case closed. This telephone is smoking.

Cost: $130 for the phone from Best Buy with a 2-year "Simply Everything" plan from Sprint which costs $99 a month and gives you unlimited data and email.

Worth it. Totally worth it. You probably have to a cellphone already; at this price you might as well get the best. And my son called from inside metro (the subway). He had a connection! Try that with AT&T or T-Mobile.

My advice: do not walk down to Best Buy to get this phone ... RUN!

There is as much difference between phone #3 and #2 as between #1 and #2.



Anonymous said...

..."soft-earth sette occupied by slow moving groundhog"?


jdege said...

Isaac Nichols アイザック ニコルス said...

When are we going to stop calling these things phones? I mean c'mon, it has telephone capabilities but a simple word like telephone or phone isn't exactly an accurate description of this device. Personal Computer (PC) is already taken...anyone have any good suggestions? I refuse to call that thing a phone!! ;-)