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The Death of the "Cell Phone"

Hemos posted more than 7 years ago | from the out-with-the-old dept.

Communications 393

PreacherTom writes "Once upon a time, the now-eponymous portable derived its name from the small sections (deemed "cells") into which a city was divided in order to keep voice calls smooth and uninterrupted. Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones, while Wi-Fi and WiMax use ever-growing amounts of network bandwidth. Both make the "cellular" moniker obsolete. Is it time for a new name, or is a rose by any other name still as sweet?"

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cell phones (1)

forrestf (1028150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001968)

Its too common of a name now of days, i think portable commucation devices, is a little long for most people

We already have one (4, Informative)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001972)

"Mobile Phone" or just "Mobile"

Re:We already have one (5, Funny)

greoff (650462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002024)

With the recent media frenzy of crushing everything down to one word, I am sure your Mobile Phone will become Mone.

Re:We already have one (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002304)

I am sure your Mobile Phone will become Mone.

Well, since it's already been shortened to just "mobile" (or the local version of taht) in most countries, I doubt that very much.

But it might very well become just "mob" or "mobe" in those languages where that works phonetically and fits the language. I've heard it a bit in Norwegian, although it doesn't
seem to be quite taking over just yet.

Re:We already have one (4, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002072)

or "Handy" if you are German

A Better Name (1)

scottschiller (1020773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002176)

Whatever name means, "doesn't drop calls, provides good coverage and sound quality" - I want them to be named after that.

Re:A Better Name (1)

ThomsonsPier (988872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002432)

The first manufacturer who comes up with a name like that will be sued off the planet for false advertising. Besides, mobiles (as we call them) are still powered by a cell, aren't they?

Re:A Better Name (1)

eighty4 (987543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002526)

the power cell isn't why cellphones are called cellphones. it says that right in the summary. :|

Re:A Better Name (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002560)

The first manufacturer who comes up with a name like that will be sued off the planet for false advertising. Besides, mobiles (as we call them) are still powered by a cell, aren't they?
"Cell" is short for "cellular", which refers to the use of multiple short range antennas with overlapping coverage, not the power source.

Re:We already have one (4, Interesting)

Josh Lindenmuth (1029922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002184)

'Mobile phone' is certainly more descriptive of our phones' usage, but to say that we no longer use cells is just plain uninformed. Until we are all communicating to each other via satellite, the world will be divided into small cells for mobile phones to utiliize. While the density of these cells may be much greater than 10 years ago, they still exist (as anyone who has driven off a major road or through the country can attest), and phones still negotiate with many different towers while moving from cell to cell during a call.

Even if we were using satellite, there would still need to be cells of sorts, they would just be much larger (e.g. thousands or even millions of square miles instead of 5 to 100's of square miles for today's cells).

Re:We already have one (1)

non-poster (529123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002412)

Using satellites would introduce too much latency to be practical for routine phone calls. The RF signals still travel at the speed of light (or less through the atmosphere, etc). We can't change physics...

I nominate: (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002222)

Leash

Re:I nominate: (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002552)

May be "funny" but it is true. With Cell/Moble/Whatever you want to call it.. people can get a hold of you almost anytime and anywhere. So, unless you turn it off or leave it behind, you are always at someone beck and call.

And with GPS in phones now, you're boss can find you and see where you are at for you're one hour lunch break and give you a call to talk about things.

Re:We already have one (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002282)

You're from England aren't you.

Re:We already have one (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002654)

Nah, then he would have said "moebile"

Re:We already have one (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002372)

That's what I thought. I think it's funny that PreacherTom can use a fairly obscure word "eponymous" properly couldn't think of "mobile". If one is going to try to show oneself off as a wordsmith, I'd suggest finding some other way.

One thing that the providers here seem to use often is "Wireless", which describes it just fine, except for the few people that somehow think of "Wireless" as only being "WiFi".

Re:We already have one (1)

stargazerAD (933187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002424)

da. i've called it a mobile since i got my first digital handset. the "cellular" moniker died when i upgraded from my nokia 918 on cellularONE.

Re:We already have one (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002528)

Exactly. "Cell phone" has been deprecated by "Mobile phone" in most of the rest of the English-speaking world already. C'mon USA, 1994 called - they want their terminology back...

Re:We already have one (2, Insightful)

kypper (446750) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002532)

Rogers here in Canada has been using only one term for the past 3 years: Wireless.

SOLUTION (4, Funny)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001980)

They need to get the guy who came up with the phrase "Cyber Monday" to rename our wireless telecommunications system.

Re:SOLUTION (1)

scottschiller (1020773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002102)

That would be "the National Retail Federation's Shop.org division", according to this Cyber Monday entry [wikipedia.org] .

really? (5, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001982)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones

"it almost seems" to whom? Stand by a busy road sometime, and count the % of people driving past using their cell phones to make voice calls. Come and and tell me it seems like voice calls are the least-used function of phones.

I suspect the submitter just has no friends who would actually want to talk to him on a phone, because he keeps saying stupid things to them that are contradicted by a huge body of empirical evidence.

Re:really? (5, Funny)

Petronius.Scribe (1020097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002018)

I wouldn't be standing too close to a busy road if a large percentage of drivers are talking on their cellphones.

Shhhh.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002542)

...some of us want to see natural selection work it's magic.

I for one support the "Free gas, no speedlimit, no traffic signal, mad max esque day for streetracer kids, car cell phone users, bass-machine on wheels owners and the generally stupid".

The results would be well worth the day spent entirely at home.

Re:really? (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002140)

Exactly!

I know in Singapore they are called "Hand phone" which seems weird because even my phone at home is used held in my hand. But whatever. Anyway, the concept that voice calls aren't used much anymore is total bunk.

Re:really? (1)

RedOregon (161027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002454)

Same in Korea. I don't think they were *ever* known as cell phones. Quite a trip to visit over there and see little 5 and 6 year old kids trucking around with a "hand phone" hanging on lanyards around their necks. Last time I was over there it was a little difficult to find a pay phone that took anything but calling cards!

Re:really? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002368)

I suspect the submitter just has no friends who would actually want to talk to him on a phone, because he keeps saying stupid things to them that are contradicted by a huge body of empirical evidence.

Or he's in a circle of friends or living in an area where that just isn't true. Take for example the *huge* number of people driving around in Central FL (where I was visiting this past week for the holiday) using mobile phones pressed to their ears. Where I currently live, it's far less people (empirically).

Personally, I *rarely* use my mobile's phone function. It's not because I don't have friends it's because I don't like using the phone (minutes--) and it's because 99% of people I talk to on a regular basis are available via SMS or AIM.

Re:really? (2, Insightful)

blincoln (592401) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002452)

I agree.

Slow down, Buck Rogers. There's still a lot of the US that aren't even using your space age wireless communication units yet, let alone something fancier built on the same technology.

Re:really? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002480)

"and it's because 99% of people I talk to on a regular basis are available via SMS or AIM."

Not really "talk" is it? Never saw the attraction of SMS myself , just seems like a poor mans email with its pathetic 196 character limit and hopeless word entry system on a numeric keypad. Sure its useful to send directions or something so the other person has a written record but having a "conversation" using SMS is best left to socially inept tweenies and teens who can't actually come out with sentences of more than 3 words at a time anyway.

source please (2, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17001998)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones
I would like to see the numbers for this assertion.

Re:source please (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002084)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones
I would like to see the numbers for this assertion.

You want numbers for the assertion? How about one person subjectively noted that something almost seems a certain way? Why ask for figures when the statement is obviously just meant to stimulate discussion?

I, for one, would like to see more prevalent use of critical reading skills.

Re:source please (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002202)

I, for one, would like to see more prevalent use of critical reading skills.

On that note, I'd like to assert that the author of this piece almost seems to be living in a fantasy world. Apparently, they have WiMax phones there.

Re:source please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002198)

You would need to wipe the feces from it before you read it considering it came directly from the submitters ass.

No Name Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002000)

No name change needed. We still use that picture of that cylinder for a hard drive, right? Even though hard drives havent looked like that in years.

But it's got Myspace Mobile! (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002006)

I'm going to keep calling them phones just to give the metaphorical finger to those Helio ads. YES IT IS A GODDAMN PHONE.

Re:But it's got Myspace Mobile! (2, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002442)

I hate those ads. It makes me want to beat the person who came up with them senseless.

they're desperately screaming "oh, look at us. we're different!" but this makes sense from a company that has chosen to offer MySpace mobile right out of the box.

Let it be an homage (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002012)

It will be a lovely story to tell your grandchildren
"Grandpa, why is this called a cell phone?"

As long as the phones can do cellular let them keep the name. Even when they can't, if the function is similar, let them keep the name.

I mean, we still call pencil leads "leads" right?

Re:Let it be an homage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002466)

What is this "pencil" you speak of?

Can you back up the assumption.... (2, Insightful)

murph (16036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002014)

that voice is the least-used?

How vacuous (5, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002016)

They still work by using cells. Americans and a few others call them cell phones, which is appropriate, even when they use them in WiFi or WiMax mode (which are cell-based, after all). The rest of the world calls them everything from mobiles to 'handys' (in Germany).

The name isn't as important as the functionality. And texting is what racks up revenue; there's no data that supports that texting minutes of use exceed voice use. I've been watching for that data for a long time, and so far, it's only texting revenue that's becoming higher in terms of minutes 'online' than voice.

Re:How vacuous (2, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002290)

Yeah. Someone (read: the article submitter) clearly fell victim to Sprint's "The clear alternative to cellular" marketing BS.

"The clear alternative to cellular" translates in Sprint's case to "The clear alternative to ourselves" because their system was still cellular (simply digital instead of analog).

Voice, data, whatever - It still fundamentally relies on breaking up a service area into small cells to increase capacity. Heck, municipal multi-accesspoint WiFi networks take the "cellular" approach to whole new levels, given the incredibly small coverage areas of most WiFi access points.

One can always argue the definition of "small" as far as cells go, but it's usually pretty clear when compared to traditional broadcast TV/radio systems or "public service" VHF/UHF systems which have coverage areas of miles even in densely populated areas.

Re:How vacuous (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002590)

Exactly. If the author had half a brain, he'd be pushing to change the 'phone' moniker, instead of 'cellular'... I seriously doubt anyone is willing to go for 'cellular multifunctional utility device'.

And despite what he thinks, most people DO still use their phones as phones. It's the vocal minority that use them as something else. You know, the ones who are dissatisfied with what their phone can do. Those who use them as simply phones don't have any complaints about them to complain about.

A simple answer (5, Insightful)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002032)

Say "cell phone" to someone, and they'll have a pretty good idea of what you're talking about. The current name is sufficient - no need to change it. Language is intended to convey information, not to be perfectly consistent.

Overthinking FTL.

the UK (4, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002036)

Here in the UK, it's never been called a "cell phone", everyone I know has always called it a "mobile phone", or even just a "mobile", anyway, so no need for a name change this side of the Atlantic.

Re:the UK (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002180)

Here in Sweden we also call it "the mobile" (i.e. "mobilen" in Swedish). But a lot of the time it's just "the phone" if the listener can figure out if which phone you're talking about.

Re:the UK (1)

njko (586450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002450)

i like the Italian name 'Telefonino' but mobile phone its accurate

I've got it! (1)

Flendon (857337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002044)

Lets call them Smartphones [wikipedia.org] !

Re:I've got it! (1)

kj_in_ottawa (838840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002388)

I'm only willing to call a device a smartphone if it has an internal mechanism that prevents it's use by morons.

Re:I've got it! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002458)

``Lets call them Smartphones!''

Cell phones...smartphones...you Americans just get yourselves into trouble by picking the wrong words. In Europe, we call them mobile phones (as in, phones that you take with you), and dumb phones (as in, that dumb phone crashed again!).

Cell is fine (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002046)

As far as I'm concerned, "cell" is fine.

And unlikely to change, anyhow. I mean, I don't know about you, but I still "dial" my phone.

When's the last time you saw a phone that really applied to? (Aside from your grandma's house.)

Auugghhh the poorly used cliches/catch phrases... (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002050)

...they are killing me!!! It started in the summary, "Is it time for a new name, or is a rose by any other name still as sweet?" and ended in the article's final section titled "Wired is Tired"

My ultra mobile eyes are bleeeeeeeding...

This is one of those cases (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002052)

of a name being more than just a name, like Kleenex facial tissues. 'Give me a Kleenex' or in England, they 'Hoover' the carpets. Cell phone will be around in the English language for a very long time... that is just how language works. They tried to give two-way pagers names other than pager. It didn't work because people just didn't understand what it was till you called it a pager.

The cellular network configuration is still in use, so the name is still appropriate. When all that changes, maybe there will be another name, but the common usage of cell phone will stick around still.

Those of us with girlfriends (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002056)

know that our "cell phone" is not so much a communication device as it is an electronic leash.

Re:Those of us with girlfriends (2, Funny)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002134)

And if she becomes a wife? The leash just gets shorter!

Know how to cure a nymphomaniac? Marry her!

Re:Those of us with girlfriends (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002220)

Know how to cure a nymphomaniac? Marry her!

I tried, it didn't work :(

So I got her pregnant. Nope, that didn't work.

Now she's pregnant again and still always wanting some. What's Plan C???

Re:Those of us with girlfriends (1)

Palshife (60519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002250)

The fact that you had a plan A and B frightens and confuses me. My advice is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Re:Those of us with girlfriends (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002398)

Erm... Bottle some of her sex drive and sell it? I know my SO could use a bit more interest in sex sometimes...

Which is awfully funny because once I do talk her into sex she really enjoys it... You'd think soem instinct would cause enjoyable activities to be more common... Anyways...

Re:Those of us with girlfriends (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002582)

I honestly want to know what's so bad about having a partner who honestly enjoys sex.

All of mine have (I'm not married. I was close once, but sometimes things happen) and I view it as a positive thing. Now, if that's the only thing they enjoy, then yes, that's not good, but most people have other things that they like to do as well.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002598)

All three of us

Who cares what it's called? (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002058)

I still call a motion picture a "film", even if it's shot on digital. They still call programmes on the radio "shows" even though they show nothing. Aircraft speed is measured in knots even thugh nobdy measures it by throwing a log attached to a rope overboard. People will use a word that has meaning to the person they're talking to. If the meaning changes, it will change.

Appropriate icon (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002060)

How many of you have actually "dialed" a phone (and I don't mean pushing buttons)? Yet we still call it that...

Language works in strange ways.

Re:Appropriate icon (2, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002336)

It will be a sad day when the POTS stops accepting pulse dialing.

As a linguist... (2, Interesting)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002082)

As a linguist, I always found the term cellphone quite curious.

From the start, it seemed unlikely to catch on, as the cell bit was meaningless to anyone but a techy or geek. The UK term seems far more meaningful to the average user: mobile phone.

So why did cellphone catch on? I'm forced to assume that it's because it sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick.

So:

If the average user doesn't associate cellphone with a particular technology, and the change in technology is seamless and transparent (and if it isn't, take-up will be very slow), then to the people that matter -- average Joe and average Jo -- there won't be any need for a new name.

HAL.

Re:As a linguist... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002346)

The term cell phone probably caught on because 'Cellular One' was one of the biggest cell phone companies way back when they were still the size of a brick.

Re:As a linguist... (1)

Khomar (529552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002612)

Not to mention that "cellphone" rolls off the tongue much faster and easier than "mobile phone" (even in the shortened form -- cell vs mobile). I think it is a combination of the two.

Re:As a linguist... (1)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002646)

I would argue that just the fact that "cell" is one punchy syllable is the biggest reason.

Why? (5, Insightful)

blamanj (253811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002152)

We still "dial", don't we?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002268)

Oblig Colbert:
Don't touch that dial America! And if your TV still has a dial, get a new TV!

Re:Why? (1)

Inyu (919458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002644)

We do not dial anymore, we TYPE! And there is already a good word in use - COMMUNICATOR. ("Dial" is defined as "a disc on a telephone that is rotated a fixed distance for each number called")

Wanna kill your cell phone? (1)

Dan Yocum (37773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002156)

Give it to Hemos... instant cell phone bath, guaranteed dead cell phone. ;-)

voice is the least used feature? (1)

friolator (168980) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002172)

So are all those people walking down the street with phones to their heads using some kind of new wireless protocol to download direct-to-brain? I think it's a bit of a stretch to assert that "Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones," without some serious numbers as back up. VOIP penetration on mobile phones just isn't that high yet.

...then again, I'm one of those curmudgeons who thinks that a phone's primary purpose should be, well, a phone. Occasional text messaging is ok, as is the odd flight tracking or score checking session, but other than that i just want to be able to talk on my phone with a minimum of fuss. that's harder and harder to do these days.

Wow... (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002204)

Don't we have a little bit bigger problems to worry about on this planet then what to call a damn cell phone? People really need to get their shit in line...

Hundreds of people outside every best buy and walmart to buy the new playstation 3, but something like the patriot act goes by and no one even gives a damn...

Congratulations, world... we're the blithering morosn that they want us to be!

whatever (1)

ethanms (319039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002206)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones

Maybe in your tiny view... But the vast number of other people in this world are still using it as a phone, probably many more people use it as JUST a phone rather then for the other features it has--So to say that voice calls seem to be the "least-used" function is completely idiotic.

But I agree that the term "cell phone" could easily go away... "wireless communications device" yeah, that has a much nicer ring to it. I'm sure my 61 year old mom will be keen to switch over to the new more accurate description... after all, 30 years later she's still calling the remote control for the TV a "clicker" and any day now she'll stop.

My experiences at Cellular Toys. (3)

zwilliams07 (840650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002232)

ZW: Hello, I'm looking to get a cell phone.
Salesperson: Wonderful, let me show you our latest models.
*Salesperson tries showing off cell phones with various camera, gaming, music, and video functions*
ZW: I was looking for something with actual battery life and making calls from. I have absolutely no interest in those other functions.
*Salesperson looks puzzled*
Salesperson: ...what?
ZW: I don't want any of those extra functions, just phone service.
*Salesperson exchanges bewildered glances with his fellow worker at the cellphone case section*
Salesperson: I don't follow... what do you want?

We need a new name! (1)

Asrynachs (1000570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002240)

I intend to throw the gauntlet down right now and propose a proper name change. From now on the wi-fi phones will be called 'wi-phones' that's right I said it. It's nothing fancy but it describes what it is with no added crazyness.

WiFi is cellular (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002246)

The term "cellular" originally implied frequency reuse in terms of space. WiFi does the same exact thing-- frequencies are reused. But WiFi doesn't support seamless hand-offs from one cell to the next (your TCP/IP connections will drop). And then the FCC refers to "cellular" as the 800MHz spectrum allocated for cellular phones, as opposed to the "PCS" spectrum at 1900MHz.

Wi-Fi on phones -- what? (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002248)

Wi-Fi is used on cell phones more than EVDO is? I would be surprised if that's the case, and given that the BusinessWeek article didn't even mention EVDO, I can't give any credence to the article at all. EVDO is definitely cellular technology, so calling EVDO smartphones "cell phones" (or just "my cell", as I do) is not a misnomer.

New Marketing Name Wanted! (5, Insightful)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002278)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones

In other words, despite the fact the cell phones are used mostly for voice calls, more money can be made by selling data services - data services that use the same technology that the voice calls use.

So it's a hard sell if you call it a "cell phone with high priced data transfer features".

So a new name is in order, with the exclusive purpose of charging more monthly and per-byte fees.

Perhaps "Super-Z i-DataMax" is an awesome name that'll help sales of these otherwise lame services? How else can we sell to this otherwise saturated market? Vote "yes" by texting to 50493, or vote no by texting to 50494! (fees apply!)

language is a museum (4, Interesting)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002294)

Long after things go away, words stay. Examples from telephony:
  • You can "dial" without a dial [google.com] .
  • You can send SMS using your "phone" without uttering a single phone [wikipedia.org] .
  • According to TFA, you will be able to use your cellphone without cells [wikipedia.org] .


I once read that numbers still reflect the way our ancestors related to number. At first they thought that two and half are two completely separate entities. Soon they discovered that each number is related to its fraction (three --> third, four --> fourth, etc). This is true in English as well as in the other (two) languages I speak.
So let our language reflect the story of telephony too.

What of the Germans? (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002298)

In Genrmany (at least while I was there) they were reffered to as a Handy. It was an odd bit of English adoption that has a double-entendre to it only in English. Stragely it was embraced in Germany and most people would talk of 'forgetting their handy'.

Wi-Fi and Wi-Max use cells as well (1)

Colin E. McDonald (837162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002334)

As a user travels between coverage areas of either of these technologies the user transfers between "cells". All communications are in effect via cells. Either written (snail mail)(between post offices covering zip codes) or groups of people (circles of influence or cells of influence)by spoken word or via mobile phones which switch between transceivers regardless of frequency, protocol, badnwidth or popularity. I think cell phone still sounds pretty cool. Let's keep it. CM

Really? (2, Informative)

KeepQuiet (992584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002338)

it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones

And it almost seems that the author of this article has no clue about what he writes. Except capturing a few (bad looking) pictures with my phone, I don't use it for anything else but talk to someone. Actually I wish there were a small phone with excellent reception, battery life and a reasonable price. Almost all phones in the market is full of junk and very expensive. What the cell phone companies give for free is either brick sized or bad quality.

fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002340)

i dont care wtf trendy name you give it, im still going to call it a cell phone.

Re:fp (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002428)

i dont care wtf trendy name you give it, im still going to call it a cell phone.

Damn right. And don't even get me started on all those new-fangled names for horseless carriages those you whippersnappers are trying to get us to these days.

phone. (1)

famebait (450028) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002354)

Just call it a phone.
It's not like landlines have a spectacular future or anything.

A new name? How about BatteryFucker? Tube-phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002382)

Until they can actually make a "device" that doesn't suck a battery dry with 47 features I don't use/want, I'll stick with what I have now. A fucking PHONE. No more. No less. Justifying this conversation any further only gives justification (read jurisdiction) to the powers that be to charge all of us more overall for bandwidth I don't consume. Let's try not to give them more reasons to bend over...

What's that Senator Stevens? You say you have a tube-phone?

cellphone usa (1)

rakerman (409507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002384)

"cell phone" is the usage in the US and Canada, but I think in the UK it's usually called just a "mobile" and in Germany, I think the term is "handy".

Bah! (1)

cb_abq (894167) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002422)

The notion that the voice call have been replaced by TM's and mobile web is proof that Gen Y is perhaps the most ego-centric generation. "We are doing it, and so must everyone else." If you look around, most people using mobile devices productively are talking. Try to close a major deal with a text message and you will be laughed at.

Car Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002456)

My dad STILL calls his a car phone due to the fact that it was originally stuck in his vehicle.

an idea (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002464)

How about "The gizmo formerly known as the cellphone"? Maybe we can just steal an old Egyptian symbol and bypass giving it a real name as to confuse honest consumers and make posers think it's meaningful in the Zen sense of the word.

Or maybe we can just keep calling it a cellphone and say to hell with nonsense wording that serves no real purpose and get back to letting the phones do what they do regardless if they're used for actual voice calls or any other number of functions.

I vote for option 2.

Most useless phone feature? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002470)

I'm trying to think of what I used my phone for in the last 3 days:

* Talking to people
* Sending text messages
* Bluetoothed a movie over to my computer and stuck it on You Tube [youtube.com]
* Used the Calendar to remind me of an event

So far I can't actually think of any feature my phone is completely pointless...

Been usin' a moeboe for yeears! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17002486)

<cockney> You yanks keep chat'n on you're ceouphone. I'll be using me moeboe! Cheers! </cockney>

Re:Been usin' a moeboe for yeears! (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002534)

Cor Blimey , 'oo let Dick Van Bleedin Dyke onto Slashdot?

Where to start? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002538)

Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used function of most phones,


No. Voice calls is the most used function, with SMS following behind. The network operators would like whizzy data services to be the most used service, they would like to get away from being voice carriers - but today, no. The 3G networks are mainly used for 'two way real-time streamed audio' - or voice to you and me.

while Wi-Fi and WiMax use ever-growing amounts of network bandwidth.


  ever-growing, in this case equating to vanishingly small, but now more than zero.

Proposed new name (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002548)

"Annoying little hell boxes"

Or "Lemarchand's boxes" for you Hellraiser fans.

it almost seems (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002566)

> Today, it almost seems that voice calls are the least-used

Is that "almost seems" as in "doesn't seem"? Mobile phones have never been more popular. If he's writing about something else, perhaps he should describe it as something else.

Inaccurate definition (4, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002586)

Saying that the cell part comes from geographic "cells" is simply inaccurate. It refers to the frequency mapping used to allow bidirectional communication over radio through use of frequency "cells". I have charts of cell frequencies from the analog days that diagram this. Imagine a hex board, the kind you would find when playing an RPG in your parent's basement. Each hex cell has a frequency. The spread of the specific frequencies is such that each cell around it is theoretically just far enough away to avoid interference. When you'd make an analog call, you'd stake claim to one of the cells, and based on availability, the phone or tower would choose one of those surrounding cells and use that as the frequency for the other half of the phone call. In large crowds or traffic, the phones could lose the ability to get a signal because there were no frequency pairs available (because they were all in use).

So in short, cellular describes the radio frequency mapping, not the geographic spread of "cell" towers. Oh, and the claim that nobody talks on their phones anymore is bollox, as demonstrated by the various people who cut me off in traffic this morning while yammering away on their phones. I'm assuming that they weren't simply using them as ear heaters.

Old way of thinking (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002592)

If you think about it, telling people how to reach you (i.e. telling them which medium, like "call me on my cell") is somewhat "old think". Imagine a world where all anyone needs to know is your unique identifier - the "network cloud" figures out how to complete the connection. I simply tell my device "I want to send a message or speak interactively with so-and-so". The device queries the network and determines a) that person is known, b) whether that person is accepting the requested type of communication (in general, or specifically from the caller) c) the best way to complete the connection (video, voice, instant message, email, text message ...). My cellphone/music player/organizer convergence device is the only device I'll need to carry; it will intelligently use WiFi, the cell network, bluetooth, wireless USB, or whatever channel is required to accomplish the requested task. Heck, if you really want to think "outside the box" it *could* use a text channel and use voice-synthesis to make it seem like a voice channel.

For what it's worth, I have used Windows Mobile PDA-type smartphones that come very close to being able to accomplish the above. It had both WiFi and cell GPRS capabilities and could operate smoothly over either path to the internet; in fact it could even (when properly coded) automatically switch over mid-download between GPRS and WiFi. It really is all mostly a matter of software these days. And the company/group that pulls this off may get the chance to name this new device with their own brandname (ala Kleenex and Xerox).

DSL/Cable "Modems"? (1)

screensaver400 (652819) | more than 7 years ago | (#17002610)

A DSL or Cable "modem," is certainly not a modular emulator, where the term "modem," comes from. However, the masses viewed a true modem (ala 56k) as the device that gets you online, not as a way or transmitting digital data to analog data over a telephone connection (as the term truly means).

People now think the term "cell phone," refers simply to a portable communication device, not recognizing the true meaning of the term. The "cell phone," will not be going away any time soon.
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