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Motorola Develops Bare-Bones Phone

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the keep-it-simple-stupid dept.

293

tunabomber writes "Whenever a review of the latest cellphone/camera/MP3 player/GPS receiver/fish finder/tazer convergence gadget is posted on Slashdot, the first posters are usually quick to chime in by saying they just want something with decent battery life, reception, ergonomics, etc. Those posters' prayers may now be answered, because Motorola's new 'dumb' phone has been designed with these traits in mind. Notable features include an E Ink display and dual antennae to improve reception. The phone is slated to become available before the end of the year."

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293 comments

Perfect for their dumb users! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16644563)

Just like everybody here.
 

Finally... (4, Insightful)

slusich (684826) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644573)

It's about time. It seems like every basic phone on the market right now is a cheap piece of junk with poor reception and no durability. It's good to see someone taking this niche of the market seriously. It looks like they've put some serious thought into this phone, making it not only useful but stylish.

Re:Finally... (3, Interesting)

Zarniwoop_Editor (791568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644645)

I Agree. I just want a simple phone with decent standby time and excellent reception. I don't need a camera or an MP3 player or a web browser. I just want a phone... seriously.

Re:Finally... (5, Funny)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645647)

Yes, but now how will I update my MySpace page with videos of me finding fish and stunning them while listening to my favorite trendy band?!

Re:Finally... (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644653)

. . .making it . . . stylish.

i.e., ugly in five years.

KFG

Re:Finally... (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645731)

Which is really important, since most cell phones last way more than five years.

Re:Finally... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645041)

that depends, I love my Razr AFTER I hacked it to increase the volume. The size and reliability is perfect in every way. only thing I wish it had was the better reception capabilities my Treo600 had, that thing would pull in a usable signal where others had only "no service".

Personally I hope these are made as triband and GSM. as I will be getting one here for use in the states shortly after they release them there. (as my razr was designed not for USA use but works perfectly here)

Stupid of Motorola to not release the phone world wide, but then I cant understand any of the silly things cellphone companies do.

Re:Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645375)

Clearly, this phone is not for you. Next...

Re:Finally... (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645223)

I think the minimum features would depend on the person using it. But in western countries (especially Europe) the issue isn't that the phone is available or not. Its more a matter of the way the subsidy system works here.

For example, I would LOVE to have a simple SMALL phone, with good call, and reception capabilities, WITH Bluetooth as a minimum. Therefore when I am out and about, partying or whatever, I carry a simple phone that JUST WORKS. It will connect to my car Bluetooth Handsfree for safe driving.

If I need "extra features" like WAP, email, MP3, or stuff, I can use a PDA. so when I am working I can carry a separate purpose built PDA, or even a Laptop. But when I am going out for a dinner, or socialising, or actually living my life, just a simple phone that dials, sends and receive TEXT messages.

However, I can also understand there are some valid reasons for having a Camera as a minimum. I know many female friends who take a photo of a Minicab before they step inside, and send a message to a friend, with the photo attached, for safety reasons.

Mobile warriors require the latest and greatest PDA come phones.

But when we go to get a new phone and contract, we find that the high subsidies offered, means many handsets are free, from simple handsets, to MP3, Video Camera included Monster. Since there is no financial incentive to choose the simpler model, users getting a contract tends to go for the best "free" phone. I ended up recently getting a Motorola V3i, with a camera, I do not use, and an MP3 player I do not use.

Sure in the Pre Pay arena there is a little more sense, but for many people Pre Pay is simply not enough.

Maybe if Mobile companies would reduce their tarrifs, and also reduce their subsidies, people would more likely buy a phone more suitable for their needs. And benefit from reduced subscription, and call costs. But that will not happen.

Here's one for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645669)

I've had a Nokia 1100 for a couple of years and love it. It is VERY bare bones, but has better reception than some other cells that were much more expensive. I don't use it much--mostly when traveling and to have for emergencies. This Moto phone looks like a step in the right direction to me.

Re:Finally... (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645707)

I agree, it looks like an excellent product. Most people probably use very few of the fancy features on the modern expensive phones. Myself, I buy older handsets because I think it's ridiculous to spend hundreds on a cell phone. This is just a communication device after all, the priorities (as I see them, as an engineer) should be: reception quality, talk and standby time on battery, and durability.

Why? (5, Funny)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644577)

Why so little features? I'd want something more advanced.

Re:Why? (0, Redundant)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644659)

Because a large number of people don't use those features. The only features I've ever used on my phone are the address book and the call button. I don't want and am unwilling to pay for other features. But I'd pay good money for twice the battery life of my current phone, or better reception. This phone is aimed at my market segment.

Re:Why? (1, Funny)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644735)

------------>Whoosh---------->

Re:Why? (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644877)

And yet, by jeering at this guy for taking the question seriously, you point out that there really are people who don't understand why a simple phone is a good thing -- and thus that's a lot of why no simple phone exists (much) in the US market. Not enough people care, or they just say "I just won't use that stuff" and by being willing to pay extra for stuff they'll never use, they help to screw over the people who will not pay (one of them posted in the thread already, at least).

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644889)

I think you need to look at the html of the parent post so you can understand it better:
<joke>Why so little features? I'd want something more advanced.</joke>

Re:Why? (1)

ParaphiliaNOS (1015689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645257)

Who reads all their internet content in markup?  Browser plugin?

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16644767)

If you work in any kind of job where security is taken seriously (government contractors, aerospace industry, etc.) they don't permit anyone in with cellphones equipped with cameras, usb, audo recording, etc. Not at the regular employee level at least. This is to combat corporate espionage and other information leaks.

This is not exactly a "niche" market.

It's not for you thats why (2)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645251)

Why so little features? I'd want something more advanced.

I worked at EInk around the same time this phone was being developed. The main reason why I was told it has so little features was that it's being marketed as a substitue for land lines in certain parts of the world. I actually got to see the phone a while back and it's pretty impressive at how small and cheap this type of technology has become.

let me be the first to say... (4, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644583)

...wish it had a camera ;-)

Re:let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645151)

But can it run Linux? ;)

Re:let me be the first to say... (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645361)

That would be unecessary complication, but Blue Tooth would be worthwhile ;)

Woo! (1)

de Selby (167520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644591)

/jumps around //always celebrates in text ///has nothing else to say

Dumb phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16644601)

must have been invented by Cheryln Chin, motorola VP of software

Whaaa!! (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644619)

But I want a phone that has 8000 features including getting my ESPN newsclips in 5 second video segments, playing badly made games, and having a look like it was designed by 12 year old boys with crayons! And so help me god if the battery lasts 8 hours or I ever get more than 2 bars worth of signal!

Alternatively... (3, Interesting)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644639)

How about I just stick with my old Nokia 6310i

It's a neat idea to have a feature-free phone. But seriously, there are millions of those going on ebay cheap because silly people are upgrading to a phone that does polyphonic catatonic ringtones, online horoscopes, and realtime 3d su-doku. That's got to be cheaper than buying any new Motorola phone.

Jolyon

That could be the case, but .... (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644687)

... how many of those phones will even get a quarter or the eight hour talk time and 12 day stand-by time claimed for the Motophone?

Re:That could be the case, but .... (4, Interesting)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644785)

Other than maybe needing to get a new battery for an old cellphone, you'll be surprised how well some of the older phones work. My 6310i is the phone I had two "upgrades" ago. When I went back to it I had forgotten that I only ever used to charge it once every two weeks on average and, at least with mine, the battery still works well after 3 years.

Jolyon

That could be the case, but ....Obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645171)

Well the main reason I had to upgrade is the move from CDMA to TDMA. Did I mention it was hand cranked? :)

And talk time? (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645697)

Can you hold a two hour conversation on it?

Re:That could be the case, but .... (1)

Yold (473518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645747)

I don't think that cellular phone companies have made any significant leaps in voice-clarity since I had my first Nokia. Many of the old Nokias are awesome, my grandparents have been using the same ones since around 1998 (with new batteries tho). I don't understand why so many people complain about the quality of current phones when you can pick a decent one up on ebay for less than $30. They are damn near indestructable, and are minimalistic. You can even get some sweet detachable 100 dollar bill faceplate, and a blinging battery.

Re:That could be the case, but .... (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645229)

I've got a Nokia 1100 [nokia.fi] . It cost about 60, well over six months ago.

In real-world terms, the battery still lasts well over a week (even in marginal reception areas like where I lived in Britain) and gives far too many hours of talk-time for my needs. The predictive text thing works quickly and efficiently (and the default dictionary isn't filled with txt-spk crap), and it's generally cheap and cheerful.

No, it doesn't have a camera (I've got an EOS 350D with chunky lenses for that ;-) ), it doesn't surf the interweb (MacBook Pro, anyone?) and its most advanced feature is an LED flashlight which switches on when the 'C' button is held down.

I really like the user interface on it, and it's probably the best phone I've had so far. Despite being given heaps of apparently vastly superior hand-me-downs by family members. It seems to be working on outliving their new phones, too...

Re:That could be the case, but .... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645877)

I have a Motorola 270c [phonescoop.com] . It's 4 or 5 years old now and despite numerous harsh falls onto rocks, concrete, and bricks, has managed to survive quite well. One nice thing about the phone is its external antenna port. I use it in an exceptionally marginal area for cell phone coverage, but I get many days of standby and 4 bars of signal when it's attached to to this nice trucker antenna [wpsantennas.com] . The only problem I'm starting to have is that the screen sometimes goes blank after I drop it now. I dread the day I have to buy a new phone because my requirements are hard to find: brick style (for durability), external antenna, speakerphone -- at least my current carrier doesn't currently offer a phone that meets my needs.

Re:That could be the case, but .... (1)

Henk Poley (308046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645733)

The 6310i has 14 days standby time out of the box. Mine is 3y old and can maintain 12 days. Plus, the battery used in the 6310i is still sold for about 30,-. There are even some other devices (like GPSes) that have standardised on this battery formfactor, so it safe to asume they will be available for some time.

Re:Alternatively... (1)

lixee (863589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645735)

It's a mere 9mms in thickness. That's three times smaller than your Nokia. Sign me up for one!

Price? (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644689)

Pity there's nothing in the article about what this thing will cost eventually.

Re:Price? (1)

instantkamera (919463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644955)

"Called the Motofone, the new device is cheap. But it still retains some of the style of the company's Razr, which can cost many times as much."

I would say it will be cheap, several time LESS than the RAZR.

Re:Price? (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645199)

Just a crystal ball gaze from me but here I go:

It will be a little cheaper than a phone with the yesteryears (i.e. "standard") amount of bells and whistles if you buy it outright since what they save on assembling a simple phone is only a part of their total cost. If you get a subsidized phone with a, say, 12 month plan from a provider the price differential might just be gone. It's better for the provider to sell someone a basic plan + glitzy phone with add-ons that will entice the users to buing fringe services. If they sell the customer a barebones phone there's less of a chance that the customer is or will be an above average consumer of services (in fact I'd guess they'd be less than average).

Price? try Region? (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645217)

There's nothing in there about price, but plenty about their target region: India (and by extension, you can imagine China, SE Asia, and parts of Africa in there too). So you can get two things out of it:

A) It will be cheap.
B) It will not be sold to us rich Westerners.

Of course, it is just what many folks are looking for.

It's keys are still too small.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16644691)

We have now mobile phones for many, MANY years.... but still the development is goin on!

One day we might finally have mobile phones that just make calls... that will shut up without overwriting the firmware... that wont require a virus killer because there is nothing worth writing a virus for... and that will have keys large enough for people who do not carry a ballpen around all the time...

.. oh wait.. we already had such mobile phones 10 years ago.. WHAT HAPPENED??

The Quick and Dirty (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644723)

Thorstein Veblen followers may agree that this phone is merely an entry point.

It's not desirable on it's own outside of a few /.'ers like me.

Ugh! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644749)

"Notable features include ringing, handset with built-in speaker and mic, and two-way communication. Sources who didn't want to be named wondered if there would even be a market for such a thing in this day and age but marveled at it's simplicity. That is until someone walked into the meeting with a similar device circa 1955!"

Not available in the US for the foreseeable future (4, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644769)

If you read the very last paragraph in the article, it states that the phone isn't going to be available in the US unless someone will carry it (and it doesn't have a way for Verizon et al to nickel and dime you to death with photos, ringtones etc, so good luck getting them to do it) or it's sold in drugstores alongside no-name brands, and I wouldn't be surprised if Motorola makes up some BS excuse about how it's beneath Moto to sell that way.

So for now, those who want just a simple phone (like my mom) are out of luck. Even text messaging and other bells and whistles go unused on her phone.

On the upside, she got the phone for free with her plan and just doesn't use the features she doesn't want, but she's continually asking me if she gets charged for text messages (not unless it's someone other than T-Mobile who sends them and nobody sends her anything, so I don't see why she worries).

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645077)

Motorola should offer this phone to Cingular/Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile as part of a reduced-cost "pay as you go" service. The reason is simple: people don't really need most of the fancy features to start with. They need a phone that is reliable, offers good reception quality, and the ability to support wired headsets or Bluetooth wireless headsets.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645087)

Let me let you in on a secret.

if it's GSM and triband then you will be able to easily buy one via a secret website...

www.ebay.com

dont tell anyone, it's a really obscure place that very few know of.

I have purchased many cellphones that are not available here from ebay. MY daughter has sported a cellphone that is uber-trendy that oohs and aaahs from classmates on a regular basis from that secret website.

IF it is available over there, you bet it will be available UNLOCKED on ebay minutes after.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645545)

Not everyone wants to do that. A lot of people want to just be able to walk into a store and buy a phone that has a warranty and official support. Not everyone is comfortable with buying off ebay in general also. People who are on Slashdot aren't typical of the general population. Don't put yourself in the place of a Slashdot reader. Put yourself in the place of the vast majority of the cellphone-using morons who blab on the phone while driving and almost get me killed because they don't bother to pay attention.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645625)

I think ebay has a market that is a little bigger than just slashdot readers.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645179)

As long as there's a GSM version that speaks a language I understand (even just barely), I'd gladly order one of these babies from overseas. This is everything I've been dreaming of in a phone.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645597)

I hope that you'll be able to get it. A lot of countries have large English-speaking populations so you will likely be in luck although not certainly. Still, though, as I replied in another reply to my comment, it really needs to be sold through official channels for a lot of people to be willing to buy one.

I would think about buying Mom one if it does become possible, though, because she doesn't want a lot of features, either, and does not have a triband phone but does go to Greece sometimes to visit family there, and her current phone won't work there (which was interesting to try to explain).

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

lolocaust (871165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645481)

What? You get charged for recieving text messages!? No wonder it never took off across the pond...

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

Buran (150348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645865)

I don't. She does. It depends on the provider and plan. (I'm hearing-impaired. Being charged per message would suck). It is starting to take off, though -- I see more contests that require you to text a code to a number, and the local baseball stadium (Busch, St. Louis, MO) lets you send a message to a certain number to enter contests, or to have a short message printed on the big marquee board before the game starts).

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

AncientOfHerb (700831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645489)

That sucks about as much as it figures.

Re:Not available in the US for the foreseeable fut (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645629)

>it states that the phone isn't going to be available in the US unless someone will carry it

Since TFA states that the phone is primarily designed for the non-US market, I assume it will be a GSM phone. Since your Mom has T-Mobile, which is a GSM network, she can just buy one and put a T-Mobile chip in it. Granted, it probably wouldn't be quite that easy if she doesn't already have a T-Mobile GSM phone, but I'm willing to bet it'll be doable. People already are using Europe-only phones in the US.

The "Entry Level" Phone (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645633)

I hate that term. They might as well say "the poor, unwashed, unfashionable welfare slag" model. Certainly deliberate marketing ploy... however, despite being labeled an "Entry-Level Phone" I just got a Moto L2. No camera, no PDA, just a goddamned phone with some decent messaging features--but it's a Quad-Band GSM "World Phone," unlike damn-near every other f'ing phone sold in the U.S. So, while all my other friends with their $500 ham-sandwich sized Media/PDA phones crippled to [C|T]DMA are left silent while overseas, I just power my little "entry-level" phone up at the gate anywhere in the world while they fumble with their ghetto-ass only-works-in-North-America busted up bling.

Oh...and it was free.

Features? (5, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644775)

No wireless. No USB. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.

Re:Features? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645277)

Ahhh, but it does do wireless!

no tin the US (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644777)

which continues to offer new, inexpensive phones. And will it appear in the United States? For that to happen, Reith says, Motorola will have to find a willing service provider or agree to sell its product alongside no-name brands at drugstores.

Looks like you'll be haviong to go to eBay or GSM Importers for these phones.

err, but how will that help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645283)

If I buy/import one of these phones that was made for a cellular carrier in India or Brazil? I believe that US carriers use different wireless technologies than the rest of the world? And, even if it were compatibible, I'd have to convince the the wireless carrier to program my phone to work with their network. Will they do that? In the past, when I switched from one carrier to another, I couldn't even get them to let me re-use the same handset - they always seem to want you to use a phone provided by them (. . . there oughta be a law. . .grumble. . . grumble).

I mean, I don't know, but I would think if I bought one of these phones, I would have a neat phone that I can't use because it doesn't work with my wireless provider.

Mostly there, but not quite. (3, Interesting)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644819)

The number rows (1,2,3) should be in perfect line-up rows on any phone so you don't have to look to hit the numbers. They are mostly lined up here, but there's no reason they could not have gone the rest of the way.

Bluetooth (3, Funny)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644835)

Now it just needs bluetooth so I can add one of These [thinkgeek.com]

Re:Bluetooth (1)

instantkamera (919463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645045)

just use this instead. [thinkgeek.com]

YES!! YES!! (1)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644841)

I will take one.

I have absolutely no use for most of the features on my current phone (a Nokia 6030). I set the color scheme to grey because the colors annoy me and make it hard to read. I set it to vibrate or beep once usually because that's all I need, and when I use a "normal" ringtone, I prefer the non-musical kind. I don't use the internet on my phone because a cent per KB adds up pretty quick. But I digress...

Please, Motorola, let us buy these phones.

Cyclical markets (2, Funny)

ParaphiliaNOS (1015689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644869)

Fashion has always been a cyclical market.  Trends become fads only to have reactionary movements back to basics.  It's about time for 'popular style' of phones to become phones again.

We'll never see this product in the states because the article said that they are marketing rechargers powered by bicycling.  What American still does physical activity like that?

Re:Cyclical markets (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645701)

Obviously plenty of them, as everwhere I go on the weekends I have to dodge the "two-wheelers" when out for a drive. I've even seen a few riders in weekday rush-hour traffic, and this is in Birmingham, Alabama. Then again, they aren't generating electricity.

I want one (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644883)

That has essentially the same feature set as the Motorola Sprint phone I have now, but it's less bulky.

Holy scary CTO batman! (3, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644933)

FTFA: It is well suited in several ways to a phone designed for poor countries, says Motorola's chief technology officer, Padmasree Warrior.

Padmasree Warrior. Sounds like their board meetings take place in a steel cage with investors chanting "Two man enter! One man leave!"

-Rick

Re:Holy scary CTO batman! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645803)

Padmasree Warrior. Sounds like their board meetings take place in a steel cage with investors chanting "Two man enter! One man leave!"

Padmasree Warrior is female.

eink in the dark? (2, Interesting)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644939)

The display is very easy to see even in full sunlight but uses much less energy than an LCD, Wilcox says.

What if it's dark out? Is there a backlight for use at night, or is it just not seeable then?

How durable is eink? Article says no glass or plastic cover is needed, will this thing resist wear and tear that might try and ruin it?

It's a step in the right direction (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644979)

This looks wonderful! I am definitely part of that niche that wants simplicity in a phone.

However, I'm still not a cell phone customer, because the service is still too expensive. I could afford it, but paying $500-$800 a year for phone service just isn't appealing to me. Unfortunately, there's not much motivation for cell companies to work on pushing down prices when such a great portion of the population seems perfectly willing to stay at $40+ per month price point. So until it gets cheaper, I'll be sticking with my Skype permanent phone number for under $4 per month, thank you very much.

There are less expensive services... (1)

milgr (726027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645505)

Cingular decided to raise rates on my phone by $5/month because it was a TDMA phone. I decided to look at my options.

Most months I talk on my cell phone for about 12 minutes.

For less than $100 I could get a phone for a prepaid plan. If I only buy the minimum number of minutes to keep my phone number, Cingular and T-Mobile both charge $100/year. For this, on Cingular you get about 400 minutes/year; on T-Mobile you get at least 1000 minutes per year.

I tried both, and settled on Cingular - as I get better reception in my neighborhood. Overall, I was happier with T-mobile's attitude.

Total cost: $30 for phone - including 40 minutes for a month, and $100/year after that.

Previous rate: $30/month.

I found that by switching to a prepaid plan, my rate is effectively $8.33/month.

Go figure.

Hmm... this sounds too much like a commercial.

I would buy it in a heartbeat (2, Insightful)

Xthlc (20317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644981)

I've owned two gadget-laden phones in my life, and I'm still pining for my original StarTac. I never use any of the fancy features on my colorful phones, aside from (every once in a blue moon) text messaging. That, plus the size, plus the E-ink display, plus the green implications of being able to charge my phone during my bicycle commute to work, makes me eager to see this on the market. Although I'll probably have to order it from overseas. :(

This is the phone I've always wanted! (1)

Oz0ne (13272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16644993)

... But I'm worried! Motorola has a really bad track record for reliability on their cell phones, especially the lower models.

Will this be a premium phone with high cost, but no features? I'd be willing to pay for it if it's solid.

Currently through my friends I know of 6 v180's that have died within a couple months, a hand ful of the v2xx series, and several razr's that just stop working in one way or another. All with under a year of usage.

Useless without _better_ pics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16644999)

The pictures of this phone actually do it justice - it looks amazing in proportion to the hand. See for yourself [mobileburn.com] . As someone who wants my phone to "just be a phone," I'll be buying one, without a doubt.

Re:Useless without _better_ pics (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645365)

Text input looks far, far worse than the stunningly obsolete, first-generation-GSM Nokia I found in a cupboard once.

(Of the 'this SMS thing looks fun, but will anyone ever use it?' age...)

Not bare enuff... (1)

nazera (1016341) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645007)

When the get to the ATM output type of paper phone from the movie UltraViolet....I'm in....until then I just want one I can't leave in the wrong city, state or country.....
They are right about India, the look of the Moto over the Nokia is going to make it a big seller over there.

I'm all over it. (1)

snsr (917423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645103)

It's 12 days of standby, e-ink screen, and charge-by-bike make up for Moto's shoddy qualiy control.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645105)

The next version of the phone, should have a camera on it. And, to keep it cheap, it will have just one pixel [slashdot.org] .

Eh (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645131)

Yeah, but it's not a FLIP PHONE! I will NEVER buy a non-flip-phone!!!

Re:Eh (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645355)

Exactly. The flip ergonomic is not a 'feature', but rather a simple clean way of making the phone small to carry, but large enough to be a useable size when open. It also negates the need to have a keyboard lock, to avoid the random 2 hours calls to other planets.

Re:Eh (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645515)

Hey! I was trying to be snarky, not serious!

I do prefer flip-phones but Motorola likes putting easy to press buttons on the sides that get pressed all the time even when closed...

biased, misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645155)

Why is it not deemed newsworthy that Nokia has had cheap barebones cellphones for years, in their 11xx and 21xx lines?
The headline should really read: "Motorola develops phone with e-ink display"

What Ho? (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645157)

Utterly confusing, since when did a cell company actually make a practical device rather than nickel and diming the customer to death. It has been my experience in the past that Cell companies intentionally over complicate things in order to make the customer pay more money.

Example, getting pictures off a picture phone without paying for them. Any digital camera can do this just fine. The Razor even comes with a 5 pin USB connector. However no driver support available unless you pay for a "Mobile connectivity Package" Or hack your phone.

I expect there is some way that the cell companies will take advantage of this new cell phone. Such as special connection fees, or per antennae costs. Or the E-Ink requires a special interface option.

I use the Razor for an example because outside of greed, there is no reason that the razor's driver could not be made available to the customer for easier uploading and downloading of pictures, sounds, and video clips.

Which phones are bad? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645167)

I've had loads of phones over the years, most with bluetooth, colour screens, java support, radio, etc etc and I've never had a problem with basic phone calls or battery life. Perhaps this problem is limited to the US (I'm in the UK). You lot have taken to mobile phones much more slowly than Europe and the Far East, so perhaps there's less competition for decent kit.

Please release this in North America (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645243)

This is more or less everything I want in a new phone. Just the phone! No frills, utilitarian and good battery life.

What develop? (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645265)

What develop? They had this tech since the days of the first cell phones. They are just bringing it back to the market (and not in the developed world). What's next, "developing rotary dial phones?

How about... (2, Interesting)

kerb (43511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645333)

Custom built phone? Why not? Computer sellers allows custom built PCs specified by users and this is being done for desktops, servers and laptops. Why not phone as well?

I want one! (1)

Chris.Nelson (943214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645337)

I'm a geek. I've got an MS in computer science and a fetish for good UI and I hate every cell phone I've had. I want one of these and predict Verizon won't let me have one.

Oh, how sweet... (1)

whiskeyriver (909231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645363)

Anyone else think it is more than a little insensitive to label a phone targeted to developing countries as "dumb"? Nice, TechnologyReview. Reaaaal nice.

Re:Oh, how sweet... (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645753)

No, it would be insensitive to label the countries "developmentally challenged" and THEN call it a dumb phone. /Maybe we should start describing countries like N.K. as "developmentally challenged"

misleading title (1)

hoy74 (1005419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645445)

When I think of a "bare bones" system, I think of one that I can customize and add what features I choose to it. If they could develop a small-sleek flip phone with the ability to add on all the bells and whistles of your choosing, while being able to customize the menus to display on the features you have selected, then I would be in cell phone heaven.

Flashlight! (3, Insightful)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645565)

The article mentioned a future feature of having an LED flashlight. Now there is a feature I would actually want. Ingenious! How many times have we all tried to use the phones backlit display as a flashlight, why not go all the way and it's so damn simple to implement. Whenever you need a flahslight, you never seem to have one. Cell phone companies (I'm looking at you Motorola, LG, Nokia, etc.) please put this in your phones, be they relatively featureless or featurful. The utility of this far exceeds an mp3 player or video player.

Re:Flashlight! (2, Informative)

Ullteppe (953103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645769)

There's a high-intensity white LED on my Sony Ericsson K700i. It's intended to be lighting for the built-in camera, but is much more useful as a flashlight (actually, the LED is more useful than the camera). Shame there's no dedicated button, it takes two button presses to turn it on.

Fun Fact! (2, Insightful)

mybadluck22 (750599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645591)

Antennae is only appropriate when applied to zoology. The correct term for the plural of radio antenna is "antennas." Source: New Oxford American Dictionary

Motorola Business Model? (1)

dahwang (973539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645653)

Although the phone may be great for its simplicity and may also function well, I wonder what Motorola has in mind?

One: The phone will be cheap, but how cheap? Is it really affordable for the common user in a developing country? Does it really bring technology that isn't yet necessary and make it available to everyone?

Two: Is Motorola just trying establish a base in these developing countries? While it may seem altrustic to offer cheaper phones, Motorola is a commercial enterprise and cares about one thing more than anything else: The Bottom Line ($). I can see them establishing brand recognition and ubiquity in an emerging market, so that when the middle class grows, Motorola will already be the "name" to have.

go to K-mart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645659)

..walk in, get the cheapest no frills tracphone, 20 bucks, comes with ten minutes free and you can buy additional minutes. About as barebones as you can get, albeit the minutes cost. It's good for occassional use basically. I don't know if it could be activated by other carriers but for what it is worth it is a motorola c139 model. I just got one for a backup phone (and phone number), I don't intend on using it a lot though, have a regular phone through verizon for that. The minutes last for 60 days and roll over as long as you buy some more minutes, or you can get a year card.

Awesome f"p? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16645687)

Lube or we sell everyday...Redefine and what supplies Getting together to that they can hold

It's not a bare bones phone (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645795)

It's an absurdly thin (9mm) phone, not a bare bones phone. The lack of features has a lot more to do with it's exotic display that with the demand for a simple device.

I'm not one of the anti-gadget brigade myself, but if I was I'd definitely swap the thinness for more battery life, a bigger keypad, a backlight and the feeling that it won't snap in half at any moment.

Still too complicated for my Mom (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645825)

The hat switch and 2 of the buttons could be eliminated. All my mom needs a regular telephone keypad (0-9, #, *), a power switch, and a single pickup/hangup button.

Why not a cell phone for the elderly? (1)

justfred (63412) | more than 7 years ago | (#16645867)

"Looking for more customers, the company did extensive market research in poor countries."

Why not look right here at home? Went shopping this weekend at Verizon for a cellphone for my elderly father-in-law. They don't sell any phones (there) that are a little larger, with a decent-sized display, simple full-sized buttons, and a simple "drop-in" charger like a home wireless phone. There's a massive market for old people - all of our parents - who are still out and about (or in our case, being shuttled from nursing home to hospital to doctor's office) and we'd like to keep in contact with. Most of them have money - if you can afford to visit the doctor you can afford a cellphone.

While they're at in, provide a simple interface for speed dial numbers, a dial tone when you pick up the phone, and dialing and disconnecting without having to use the "send" and "end" buttons - make them work like the landline phones these people are used to.

Finally, it's no good if only one carrier has this. Every carrier with "friends and family" has people with elderly family members that need phones.
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