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Disposable Cell Phones Arrive

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the junking-one's-conversations dept.

Handhelds 434

headGasket writes "After the disposable cameras, here comes the disposable cell phones. Ideal for trash talk. Seriously, there is a $5 incentive to not dispose of it in the trash and bring it back for a rebate on the next one." These seem like a nice alternative to being locked into a lengthy contract, or for people who only need a cell phone for a short period of time.

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434 comments

West Wing women (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427940)

(a) CJ?
(b) Donna Moss?
(c) Joey Lucas?

Re:West Wing women (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427961)

(b) Donna Moss. She's ditzy. I love ditzy women.

Re:West Wing women (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428004)

who cares about those tramps when you have her [bakla.net] ?

Re:West Wing women (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428016)

As a voting liberal Democrat I don't have anything against transsexuals. She looks great - more power to her!

It's the conservatism that makes one ugly no matter how good you look on the outside.

Reception (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427941)

I would imagine with disposable-grade aerial setups you would get weak reception? If I have to jump into an 80's time warp to get equal reception i'm out :)

Wop Hoo! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427942)

Finally, a cell phone that works with my tin-foil hat!

FP?

Re:Wop Hoo! (4, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428083)

Works with your tin-foil hat? These phones are made for tin-foil hat wearers!

What more could you ask for.
No contract. Anonymity. Low Prices. That's how cell phones are supposed to work. Don't want the man listening in on my phone calls.

Hrmph. I think my tin-foil hat is too tight.

Where's my disposable car (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427943)

It would make parking a lot easier if I could just drive my car into a dumpster.
And how about clothes that last for 1 day so we can keep up with the latest trends.
Or pets that die after a week, for when you want some love around Christmas but don't want an 8-20 year commitment.

Re:Where's my disposable car (1, Troll)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427995)

You can dispose of people if you chop them into bits and bury them. There's a rebate opportunity in selling the meaty parts to ethnic restaurants.

Re:Where's my disposable car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428030)

You can dispose of people if you chop them into bits and bury them. There's a rebate opportunity in selling the meaty parts to ethnic restaurants.

But as a sustained farming initiative, it's just not worth it. Let's face it... the cost of raising and feeding humans is far too prohibitive given the meager volume of meat produced. However, kidney, liver, heart, lung, etc. farming is a good growth market to pursue in the future. With the advances in the biotech sector, organ harvesting will all but guarantee you some VC startup capital.

OTOH, should human meat prices exceed $99/pound, we just might see enough profit built in to make human meat farming sustainable over the long run. But don't farm Asians -- you want to start with Americans as you'll get the highest fat content which makes for some nice marbled cuts, not unlike a fine rib eye steak.

And for the discerning connoisseur, human steaks go well with potatoes au gratin, a nice yorkshire pudding, and chilled glass of a 21 year old Glenfiddich. Failing the scotch, I'd recommend a 1987 Chateau De Brille. Top the dinner off with a freshly prepared creme de Brule and you'll never find a finer human meal in any restaurant.

Re:Where's my disposable car (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428052)

Seems to me that you have read "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift.

Here is a link to the story [art-bin.com] for the uneducated

Re:Where's my disposable car (5, Funny)

rizawbone (577492) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427998)

Or pets that die after a week...

Looks like you've never had a goldfish.

or a rabbit at Easter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428060)

Seriously, we've had starter marriages and prostitution for a while.

Re:Where's my disposable car (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428094)

...or a Hyundai or Kia

Now if we could just... (2, Informative)

Freaek (11909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427945)

get that global communications network up & running, these things would be great.

Going on holiday to BumFuckEgypt? No worries, buy a phone there. What, didn't use all your credit? Sweet, bring it on home and finish it there.

Ooooh, this will be great for Shane Warne, he can SMS chicks without getting found out now :)

Re:Now if we could just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427959)

Going on holiday to BumFuckEgypt?
I usually go to BumFuckSanFransisco instead

Re:Now if we could just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427978)

A plain old bumfuck is a-ok... anytime, anywhere.

Just ask prince Charles [smh.com.au] .

Re:Now if we could just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428028)

FYI BumFuckEgypt has high speed GPRS almost a year ago, DSL three years ago, ISDN even before so we are very connected here, I'd rather call it EgyptFuckFreaek. sigh..

In Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427946)

In Soviet Russia, dispose cel PHONES YOU!!!

1 Reason: You can type more than that for your sub (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427947)

Post that is first.

Great for tourists (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427953)

This is great for tourists. The USA use 1900MHz for their GSM networks, so the dualband (900MHz and 1800MHz) GSM phones which are common in Europe are of no use to tourists. A disposable cell phone looks like a good way to stay in touch with home and fellow travellers.

Re:Great for tourists (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427958)

Not to mention terrorists. Like the kind that flew into the WTC.

Re:Great for tourists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428002)

I'm sure a terrorist is ready to pay for a normal (used) cellphone. They want to appear normal. For that and other reasons they live in the target country for months or even years before the act. A tourist on the other hand won't buy a phone which is useless after a few weeks of vacation.

Re:Great for tourists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428039)

Don't discriminate, there are lots of other terrorists who would love this. What about those South American terrorists who Schwarzenegger battled in Collateral Damage? Timothy McVeigh copycats would have a great trigger now, now without a contract to sign. Or drug dealers?

Re:Great for tourists (4, Informative)

GodEater (7709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428076)

Most phones on sale in Europe this days are now tri-band - so they support 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz. I've personally been able to use my last three phones in both Europe and the USA without any problems...

Re:Great for tourists (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428092)

That is a very recent development, at least in the mainstream market. The installed base is still dominated by dualband devices.

Um.. not a nice alternative.. (4, Insightful)

k98sven (324383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427956)

These seem like a nice alternative to being locked into a lengthy contract, or for people who only need a cell phone for a short period of time.

I'd say it sounds quite wasteful, even if the phone is recyclable.. (how many will recycle it?)

There are alternatives to lengthy contracts, such as prepaid accounts.

And there are alternatives for people who need a phone for a short period: Renting.

I'll just chalk this all down as another symptom that some people can't get the idea that waste is BAD.

Re:Um.. not a nice alternative.. (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427970)

>> (how many will recycle it?)

If Hop-on takes them to be recycled, then most will. After all, anyone that uses these more than once will be wanting the $5 off.

Re:Um.. not a nice alternative.. (1)

u01000101 (574295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427976)

Renting brings a lot of overhead with it - it may get more expensive than the disposable solution.

Maybe there is a niche market for the disposable phones after all.

Re:Um.. not a nice alternative.. (2, Insightful)

Artifex (18308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427993)

I'd say it sounds quite wasteful, even if the phone is recyclable.. (how many will recycle it?)


I've noticed that in Oregon (where I lived last), where there's a mandatory 5 cent deposit per soda bottle or can, people are much more conscientious about returning them than here in Texas, where there is no deposit, stores won't pay you for them, and you have to go find a "can bank" or something to get paid 16 cents a pound, or whatever they give these days.

Now apply that with cell phones. Right now, sometimes providers will give you discounts to trade in your phone, or you can give them back and they supposedly give them to needy causes (though I've heard mostly they give them to outfits that fix and clean them and then sell them to nonprofits), but if you try to show up at the local household hazardous materials reclamation center, they want to charge you to take them!

Imagine if a $25 deposit fee was charged for each phone. Yes, you'd have more people stealing phones, probably. But you'd also have a lot more phones returned instead of winding up in landfills. You could apply a similar deposit fee to phone batteries as well, which are actually more likely to be thrown away.

Re:Um.. not a nice alternative.. (2, Interesting)

Zemran (3101) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428046)

Although I agree with the comment I think that it may not fit the case. Would someone that lives and stays in an area want one of these? I think that the most common customer will be the tourist/business trip. As this is a US thing (note 911 button for example and I doubt that it is on the ROW bands) there will be nowhere for the buyer to get a refund when they return. I think they will just end up in rubbish bin in Europe and Asia.

21st Century Business Plan (5, Funny)

BriSTO(V)L (668928) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427960)

This is how to make money today: 1. Think of current newish technology that is expensive but cool. 2. Figure that in 5 years it'll be cheap. 3. Take out patents on the *disposable* use of said tech. 4. Wait 5 years for someone elso to make it cheap. 5. Profit 6. Have fun This is probably a reasonably viable business plan - my tongue is only partly in my cheek...

Re:21st Century Business Plan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427967)

After reading this [penguinhosting.com] and doing a numeric comparision, it turns out that the investment just isn't worth it.

WARNING: don't click above link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427988)

above link is some kind of disgusting picture.

Re:WARNING: don't click above link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428020)

Oh come on, don't pretend you don't know what it is.

It's a prime number generator!

Re:WARNING: don't click above link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428029)

To be exact, it is an image of the goatse man with prime numbers flying out of his enlarged anus.

Oops! (5, Informative)

Shonufftheshogun (620824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427963)

I could see the 911 button being a nightmare for the 911 call center; it's centered right between the "send" and the "end" button.

Re:Oops! (2, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428114)

Actually, that's a good place to put the button. The fact that it is labeled as such will mean that most people will intentionally avoid that button. One of the ways they can 'recycle' this phone is by giving them to prostitutes. No, this isn't a troll.

Almost all major metropolitan cities in America have a program where unneeded cell phones are given to prostitutes to use in emergencies. Federal law says that all cellular phones have the ability to make an emergency call to 911 regardless of account status. I've read about cell phone recycling centers for phones in Portland, LA, Seattle and San Francisco. I'm sure there are many others out there.

Obligatory Simpson's quote (0)

Sean Clifford (322444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428121)

Homer: What's the number to 911?

Is it just me... (5, Insightful)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427964)

...or does that phone look a shitload better designed than most of the current overgadgety, tacky, moronic-buttoned phones that saturate the market? I swear there's a special kind of drug you must need to be on to design current phones.

(barring the T610, which is simple and gorgeous for it)

Re:Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428036)

It's a matter of taste, I know one or two peeps who kick with a T610 but I think their just boring but something like a nokia 8810 is phat, look all the extra accessories [88-cellular.com] you can get for them more than a t610 has

Re:Is it just me... (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428054)

No, that thing looks about as tacky as tacky gets.

I, quite honestly, would not be caught dead using one of those things. They may be disposeable, but at least make them look decent (and not like fisher-price toys! Look, it's My First Cellphone!)

Re:Is it just me... (2, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428072)

I think it would have been OK if the logo did not look like a child's cartoon. Change that to a small, modern logo and stick it discretely to the top left of the phone. Get rid of the blue and the stupid "disposable CELL PHONE" and you have something almost ipod-ish. The keypad is fairly nicely laid out.

Re:Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428077)

The T610 lacks a display which is readable when the phone is standing by. You have to press a key to activate the main display just to see if you missed calls or received a message. Also, who in their right mind makes a phone with a big display, calendar, calculator, etc. but leaves out a way to store addresses for contacts? And hey, that phone can play arbitrary sounds as ringtones, so why can't it be used as a hands-free phone (except with a headset of course)?

Re:Is it just me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428125)

I think your miles off the mark. it looks more like a toy than a phone, and a t610 doesn't have ANY design whatsoever. Personally a nokia ngage, nokia 3650 or nokia 7650 are miles better designed

Disposable Items (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427966)

Does anyone else find this crass? It looks like the trend towards low-cost, disposable, devices for mass consumption is not going to let up anytime soon. What ever happened to the care for quality, workmanship, and longevity in products? I guess it's as they say, "they don't make 'em like they used to."

Re:Disposable Items (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427985)

I'd find it crass if I believed that current expensive phones were quality, well made, with any longevity, but after contracts are up they're virtually disposable anyway. if not out of technology or battery life, then out of fashion.

Re:Disposable Items (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428035)

I bought my Nokia 6110 in 1998 and it is still working just fine.

It was the latest model when I bought it and the price was salty, but it has definitely paid itself back by working perfectly all those years.

911? (3, Insightful)

clfrd (545421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427968)

I see lots of accidental 911 calls in the future.

I don't really see the point of having a huge button for dialing 911.. it's really not that hard to dial, is it?

The website doesn't say, but I'd also be interested to know if dialing 911 is still allowed after your minutes have expired.

Re:911? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7427991)

At least in the GSM networks, but I guess it's the same with other systems, it is compulsory to support emmergency calls for free, even if it comes from a phone that doesn't belong to the network.

It even works if it's a phone that does not have a SIM card in it.

Re:911? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428024)

9 and 1 are on the opposite corners of the dial pad. That's why it's 911, not 111 or something similarly easy to dial by accident (actually 111 was used at some point but, before tone-dialing, people frequently "dialed" 111 when they tapped the hook, so it was changed).

Re:911? (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428050)

Within EU the number is 112.

Great thinking there...

Re:911? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428103)

well in australia we have 000... often gets dialled by accident.

Re:911? (1)

Versix (575619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428118)

I thought 112 was an international number - that is, it works no matter where you are (I know it works in Australia too). Here the emergency number is 000. This also happens to be the exact number that is dialed if I place my Nokia 3310 keypad-down on a hard surface and press the back three times... it seems that the zero is the load-bearing button.

Re:911? (1)

JAYOYAYOYAYO (700885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428134)

The website doesn't say, but I'd also be interested to know if dialing 911 is still allowed after your minutes have expired

Yes. In the U.S. it is madated that every cellphone be able to freely call 911, irregardless of minutes left. it works even if you dont have a service plan. well, i guess the FCC isnt pure evil...

Re:911? (5, Informative)

gibbonboy (162143) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428137)

While it is law (in the US, anyway) that all cell phones, even un-initialized handsets, must be able to access 911, these unidentifiable phones are a burden on the emergency system. Several localities have given them to the elderly and battered women, and I believe AAA will sell you a phone cheap, the only button on the phone is a big, round, "911" button. People don't realize that with Phase I and II wireless around the corner, these throw-away phones could represent a false sense of security. The wireless carriers have fought tooth and nail to avoid installing Phase II equipment, even though the per-chip cost for gps units is now under 4 dollars. At present, less than 50 911 centers in the US can handle a Phase II wireless call, more can do Phase I, which is just having a callback number. And the stupid (and I mean stupid) 911 button on these phones will mean swamping 911 centers with "butt-dialling" 911 calls, because I don't see a "keylock" button anywhere.

Re:911? (1)

numark (577503) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428140)

Any cell phone network is required to accept calls to 911 even if the phone no longer has paid service. The cell will detect the call going through and immediately route it without requiring any sort of plan, etc.

Is it legit? (5, Interesting)

Akai (11434) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427974)

Remember that Hop-On has been caught [slashdot.org] in the past passing of repackaged Nokia phones as their "disposable" solutions.

I believe it when I see it at my local 7-11.....

Re:Is it legit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428018)

Just make sure you're calling 7-11 and not some other number [penguinhosting.com] [eg:911].

No product for Europe (1)

tmk (712144) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427975)

I guess you will never be able to buy such an telephone in Europe. We hear all the time about criminals with dozens of cellphones, so that the police never can intercept their criminal talks.

Dis pose a ble... (0, Redundant)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427977)

are you serious?

Pay phones (4, Insightful)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427980)

Now, I thought that the reason Pay Phones in the US can no longer receive incoming calls is because drug dealers were using them to do business.

Wouldn't this just do the same? I can see this as a boon for an illicit dealer.

Re:Pay phones (4, Interesting)

muffen (321442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428073)

I can see this as a boon for an illicit dealer.

There was the same fear here in europe when the prepaid mobile phonecards came into use. As it turns out, they are able to track people even if they use prepaid mobile phones.
Therefore, I don't think it'll be that bad.

Actually, I think these things may give people a false sence of security, and it may well turn out to work against the criminals, not for them.

Get a new one everyday. (1)

Population (687281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428135)

They're disposable. You pick up a new one every day and the cops have to keep tracking new numbers. The more dealers that do this, the more work the cops have to do and the more work the cops have to do means less likelyhood of criminals being caught.

Re:Pay phones (0, Flamebait)

velo_mike (666386) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428086)

I can see this as a boon for an illicit dealer.

If it's truly anonymous, think vending machines or straight cash sales, then you're right, illicit dealers could use them as well as the other monsters hiding under our collective bed: terrorists, child molesters, music pirates, etc.

Is this a reason not to have such things, because they MIGHT be used to break the law? That rationale is being used by the gun ban folks, the MPAA/RIAA, and supporters of the DMCA, among others.

Mod parent up: "+1, Duh" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428109)



Re:Pay phones (-1, Redundant)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428122)

Simple answer: Legalise all drugs.

Bang!!! - No more illicit dealers.

How will "Law Enforcement" take this? (5, Insightful)

nickovs (115935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427981)

I wonder how long it will be before one is obliged to produce ID in order to buy one of these things. Many law enforcement agencies object to cell phones that are not tied to an identifiable individual because it makes it much harder to get an order for tapping the phone.

what's the point? (2, Insightful)

snarkh (118018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427982)

No contract cell service has been available for a long time now, at least in some places. You just buy minutes as needed without any monthly payment. The only investment you make is the phone itself.

The disposable phone seems expensive (per minute) and mostly useless. The only real application I see is when you go somewhere for a short period of time and need a phone for a few weeks.

Re:what's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428115)

Well, they're saying you can add minutes later. (So if you have bad credit, you constantly recycle phones, getting the $5 back, which I bet equals the discount you get for adding minutes without purchasing a new phone.)

While I'm scared of the company's history, this really does sound great. I'm your average two-dollars-over-minimum slacker, but unlike most, I don't need a phone for penis compensation. I'd love a web-capable PDA in my pocket, but I can get one of those with 802.11 and avoid the service fees.

Nah, I need a cellphone for one purpose: communication while traveling, mostly to handle meeting up at the 'last mile.' (So in other words, I suppose I *could* convince my friends to get amateur licenses or FRS radios, but who'd pull that off?) This use pattern only demands 30 minutes airtime at worst, in the months where I'm actually roadtripping, but now that payphones have been removed everywhere (and those remaining require an entire roll of quarters for 2 minutes of talk), it's a niche I'd buy into.

I'd go with a conventional prepaid plan, but those 1. expire your minutes (maybe this will too), and 2. usually don't subsidize the phones. $50-$200 isn't worth the convenience of not driving around backwoods towns at 2AM looking for a payphone... but at $30 with talk time included, I'd stash one in my glove compartment.

I do hope the company isn't as retarded as others have said. I can imagine how they expect the business model to work -- Most buyers will probably be technophobes who want a phone to stash in their car 'for emergencies' (not knowing that 'expired' phones can usually still call 911 anyway, and of course, you don't always want 911, sometimes you want AAA or a family member), so presumably they've gotten over the 'gutted Nokias' (not that a last-gen Nokia with no 'smart' features is all that expensive in parts), and found a design that might even cough a little profit at $30... ...meanwhile, I bet their contracts with the network providers bill on *minutes used.* So, like telcos do with DSL, they can oversell the capacity a bit. A lot of those 60 minute sales will be sitting (and perhaps expiring) unused, while heavy users will create profit by buying refill minutes, or if their credit sucks (or they be ghetto ballin'), constantly trading in perfectly functional/resalable phones, while paying the 'full phone' fee each time.

Not bad; much better than the old cardboard phone/Polaroid-style-battery idea. 802.11 + VoIP could supplant it, but I don't think WiFi nets will have enough coverage for at least a year or two, and a PDA or laptop that could handle it would still be more than a $100 initial investment, require more geek skill than most of their target market has (me being a special case?), and be much more cumbersome if you want to find out if you passed the right exit while driving.

Health considerations (2, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427983)

I wonder what the quality control will be like on a product that's designed to be thrown away. There's been several studies detailing local microwave heating in the brain (though no-one's sure if this is a serious thing, I sort of side with the cautious on this one. What if ? ...)

Simon.

Re:Health considerations (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428043)

>I wonder what the quality control will be like on a product that's designed to be
> thrown away. There's been several studies detailing local microwave heating in
>the brain (though no-one's sure if this is a serious thing, I sort of side with
>the cautious on this one. What if ? ...)

Why would it be any different? There have been loads of studies - all inconclusive. At least, none have been able to show damage to the brain, only localised heating. I get that in bed lying next to the radiator.

Repost? Are these things EVER coming out? (4, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7427992)

Disposable Cell Phones have been on slashdot [slashdot.org] many [slashdot.org] times before [slashdot.org] , and isn't Hop-On the same company cited for repackaging $200 Nokia's and calling them "Hop-On" phones [geek.com] 18 months ago? I still haven't seen Hop-On phones in retail stores years after they were first announced, and I have a feeling I won't see them for many more years. Might as well start advertising disposable computers too, since I'm sure we'll see those in the next 10 years... probably before the disposable cellphone.

Re:Repost? Are these things EVER coming out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428015)

imhassi writes "isn't Hop-On the same company


They're also the same guys who did
Free DSL [archive.org] not too long ago.


Pretty cool, that internet bubble was.

Tracfone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428008)

i bought a Tracfone from Walmart i like it because i can buy a card form walmart and go online enter a few numbers and add time to it, or buy time online...

http://www.tracfone.com/home_page.jsp?b=n&flash= NO

Finally, a solution (3, Funny)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428010)

Now, I can make all my phone sex calls without worrying about my parents seeing the paper trail. w00t!!!

Someone please explain this to me... (4, Insightful)

haggar (72771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428019)

I have worked and lived in several countries in Eueope, and everywhere, recycling and safe storage of old batteries was top issue. Batteries are VERY toxic.

And now, an idea to just throw away your mobile phone? Don't these people think about the environment? Yeah, I know, there's a 5$ incentive to return them, but you know as I know, that the average northamerican user of such device will think of the return as a nuisance and will gladly renounce to the 5$ and toss the phone. Even if only 10% does this, you still end up with huge quantities of toxic materials in the environment.

I'd like to kick the ass of the guy who launched this product.

doesn't happen (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428080)

In Michigan, we've got a 10 cent deposit on all beverage containers. The stores have Tomra can acceptors that read and squash the cans and print out a receipt that's good at the checkout.

People que up with a bag of empty beer cans to get their deposit back. With practice, you can get the machine to accept 6 cans a minute.

Re:Someone please explain this to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428095)

More cliche boring slashdot radical, even violent, environmentalism.

This seems rather unnecessary. (3, Informative)

Colm Buckley (589428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428023)

Making the entire phone disposable seems to me to be rather wasteful and, well, environmentally-unfriendly. The requirement which this phone purports to address seems to me to be already catered-for by the "pay as you go" model.

Here (Ireland), for example, you can get a decent phone (with no account) for about 100 euro, and then buy call-cards for 10, 20, 50 euro etc. worth of credit. These have a PIN which you use to top-up your account. As an alternative to the "pay monthly" type of account with invoices, it works very well; they're used particularly by teenagers etc. There's no account, nor are one's personal details given to the phone operators.

Price? (0)

Theory of Everything (696787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428025)

I couldn't find the price of one of these anywhere on the website. Does anyone know how much they'll cost (including the $5 "deposit" (rebate) for something that is supposed to be disposable--a $5 bill certainly isn't disposable for most of us!)?

Prepaid SIM cards (5, Informative)

haggar (72771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428042)

Why not just use prepaid SIM cards? That's what we have here in Finland. You get a prepaid SIM card and presto, you get to talk or receive calls. Once the allocated talktime has been exceeded, you just buy a code and "recharge" the prepaid SIM card. Or just buy a new prepaid SIM. SIM cards are small and made of non-toxic material. A much better idea for the environment, and I'd say it's much nicer, as you have YOUR choice of mobile phone.

Re:Prepaid SIM cards (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428108)

That's a good idea as long as your phone supports that... I return from my Taipei/Hongkong trip last month (I am in New Zealand, btw)... I just bought a prepaid SIM at each place with zero hassle...

However, all the places use GSM900MHz... Many phones can do dual bands; not many phones support triple band, which is necessary in US. It is the big problem for infrequent travellers.

911 button (2, Interesting)

SashaM (520334) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428056)

I wonder how many non-intentional (I'd use the word accidental, but it seems inappropriate) 911 calls are going to be made with that design. It's like those stupid computer cases with the reset button sticking out from the front which you keep bumping against accidentally.

Already exists (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428057)

If you'd consider a phone that's less than $10 as "disposable" than it already exists. It's the Nokia 5160 or 5165. Quick search of ended items on ebay [ebay.com] turns up hundreds of Nokia 5160/5165 phones that have sold in the past 2 weeks, most for less than $10, some as low as $1 [ebay.com] .

loser phone (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428058)

High end mobile phones are status symbols- maybe this phone should be called the "loser phone" with a big red "L" printed on the back for others to see. The perfect phone for those with no money and no credit. And as usual, the poorest will pay the highest prices, prepaid minutes are always a rip-off, plus no free nights or weekends...

Analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7428059)

$30 disposable phones will be coming sooner or later.
Hop-on hope to be the name we remember. But they
will never be able to beat the giants of the
industry. Much of the GSM market in Europe is
already driven by anonymous prepaid cards so this
is hardly a killing point. Throwing out plastic
is no killer either, we do this all the time with
drinks bottles. Poisonous battery waste? Well,
"disposable" cameras seem to be manageable. So,
the only real problem is to build this gadget for
$30, which means a market of such scale that no
newcomer can create it. You can already buy a
new GSM in Europe for around $60, so within two
years at most, a $30 phone will be reality.

The red herring here is "disposable". No need
for this. Make the phones dirt cheap, just
software wrapped around a battery, use
anonymous pre-paid accounts, sell the
traffic at a premium, and when the phones break,
recycle them.

This will be a massive seller in developing
countries (e.g. most of Africa) where repairing
an electronic device is impossible anyhow.

Re:Analysis (2, Informative)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428098)

In any case, huge numbers of discarded GSMs are already being sold in Africa at fairly low prices. Here in Belgium most GSM shops let you trade or abandon your old phone when you upgrade, and these phones turn up in the markets in Lagos, Kinshassa, Kigali, Entebbe and so on.
In today's world, there is very little that is actually truly "disposable".

Anonymous Now (1)

oniony (228405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428061)

A boon for organised crime. Now every terrorist can be absolutely sure they cannot be traced.

New rule for anti-anon proponents: (1)

StupidKatz (467476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428097)

Each post must be accompanied, at a minimum, by your:

full name
home address
phone number(s)
date and place of birth
social security account number
recent passport photo

Otherwise, STFU. ("Anti-anon proponent". Hmm.)

Been covered before... (2, Informative)

muffen (321442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428066)

...on Slashdot [slashdot.org]

It's actually kinda amusing reading the comments from that last article about disposable cellphones. Many people though it'd never happen, and now, here it is :)

Travelling (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428071)

Well this is a nice alternative to having to take my mobile with my when travelling. Just walk into an airport, send a text messages to people who need to know and just walk around. If it gets stolen, no big deal.

Of course you would have t owrite down all your numbers in an addressbook but is that such a big deal?

Rus

Doubt it would work in the US .. (3, Interesting)

shri (17709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428075)

On my last trip over (March '03), I was suprised that the concept of a rechargable SIM had not caught on in the US. I tried hard to find them in both Seattle and San Francisco but could not..

With the current political climate and the perception that such a phone would only be used by terrorists and drug dealers, I find it hard to belive it would catch on or would be allowed to work.

Sucky! (2, Insightful)

NaveWeiss (567082) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428078)

It's only possible because you get charged for incoming calls - a thing that happens only in the USA. All around the rest of the world, if someone had a phone like that she would never dump it, because it could be served as another phone number (another identity!)

And.. it's hard to believe they'll continue to live. It all looks like a fraud to me. Their site design looks quick-n-dirty, kinda like the site of Earth Station 5 [slashdot.org] .

good for hacking (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428084)

like seriously, how good would one of these be for hacking from a laptop outside? hard to trace it back. i can just imagine the ads "Disposable cell phone when combined with Intel's Centrino wireless technology..."

Pay as you go (0, Redundant)

Espen (96293) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428107)

This seems to me to be no more than an incredibly stupid and environmentally wasteful way of achieving what is already done in the rest of the world with 'rechargable' pa-as-you-go phones. ie. low-end phones with SIMs carring calling credit that can be topped-up by buying phone cards in grocery stores etc. The only thing you pollute the environment with here is the piece of paper with the top up code.

Re:Pay as you go (3, Interesting)

hexdcml (553714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428130)

not even that, since most mobile carriers - at least here in the UK are opting for the "electronic" top ups instead.
This means, you'll have to 'register' a top up card with your phone number, so whenever you need to top up, you simply hand the cashier the top up swipe card and the money and in a short few seconds, your pre-paid account is renewed with however much you wanted.
I believe the phone operators are offering various incenetives to get you to use the electronic top-ups. ie. small amounts of top up like 5 and 10 are only availible electronically. But yeah.. the only waste from this method, is a small till reciept proving that you purchased the credit.

Disturbing statements about their patents (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428110)

http://www.hop-on.com/technology.html [hop-on.com]

"Hop-on has secured multiple disposable-cell-phone patents from the STX patent collection. These patents have an effective filing date back to December 1995, which we believe predates all other patents directed to disposable cell phone technology. These patents include very broad claims directed to a method of operating a disposable cell phone with pre-programmed minutes.The patents further strengthen our competitive advantage, barring entry into the market by other companies."

I just hope they haven't actually patented the very concept of a disposable cell phone. The part about "very broad claims" disturbs me.

A little late? (1)

lotawilly (696306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428124)

According to this [businessweek.com] article, they were supposted to hit the shelves in nov, 2001.

If it happens - Car rentals will offer it (1)

Linus Sixpack (709619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7428129)

I can think of a lot of roadside emergency kits that would add this immediately. Renting a cell with your car when traveling would probably also really take off. I hate the idea that there is so much waste. On the other hand if there were no fees until activation - gauranteed. I think there would be real uses for an emergency phone. But whats to stop this company selling a bunch of phones and then quietly folding. Could bring a new meaning to the term Folding Cell Phone. ls
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