Saturday, January 21, 2006

Amber Alert on cellphones??

How many people has seen the Amber Alert system in your area? For alot of people not many. I know I haven't seen one since I've been on the west coast. The closest Ambert alert is 60 miles away down south. Who in my area is going to see that? Probably no one. So, here's an idea. Since it seems like everyone and their mama has a cellphone why not do amber alerts through cellphones? Think about it. If someone reports their child missing to the authorities in my area, how many people would see that information on the one Amber alert post 60 miles down south from here? How long would it take for that information to filter through enough people to make that system effective? Maybe a few hundred or thousand people in about an hour or two, right? By that time some sick freak is long gone with a child driving down some back road AWAY from the amber alerts. How long would it take to shoot a text message to cellphones with the same information? A matter of seconds to thousands of cellphone users. How effective would that be?

I know there would be lots of red tape to make a system like this a reality, but in an age where they are making it possible to put ads up on a cell phone when you walk by certain stores, I think amber alerts direct to your phone would be a better use of system resources. Well, it's just a thought...

Monday, January 16, 2006

True Cost of Cellphones

I thought I would start off my blog with one of the most common questions I get. I probably get it once a day, and each day I seriously thinkg about whether it's worth it to explain or not explain to a customer. It usually isn't. So, here it is:

"How come these phones cost so much without a contract?"

And usually, this question is followed by statements such as:
"That's ridiculous!"
"That's a rip off!"
"Cell phones don't really cost that much!"
"They get ya coming and going!"

Well folks here it is: Yes, they really do cost that much! Think about it. You have a portable device that you can use almost anywhere and can "magically" makes calls across the country, or even around the world. Not only that, they store as much information as 1 gigabyte. Phones now have mp3 players, internet access, cameras, etc. How much does the Ipod shuffle go for? $150. Cell phones now can store as much mp3s...How much are low end digital cameras nowadays? $50 - $100. You have cell phones with 1.3-2.0 megapixel capability and video features. The only other devices that have portable internet capability are pda's and laptops. How much do those go for? Probably starting at least $300. So, why is it an unimaginable thing that a device that packs all of that, plus makes calls across the country start at around $300? And I haven't even talked about the ability to play games, download music, or even the research that went into developing these devices. Okay so you don't care about all the bells and whistles. Say you just want a phone. How much does your home cordless phone cost which only has about a 100 ft range and doesn't store phone numbers? $50 - $150. What does a basic cell phone cost without a contract? $150. That's for a phone you can take almost anywhere withyou to make a call, store numbers, calling features(caller id, call forwarding, 3-way calling), etc. Is it really ridiculous?

But you know what? It may or may not be the consumers fault for their perceived value of cell phones. Through advertising and fierce competition in the industry, people are almost trained to think that cell phones cost next to nothing. It may also be the sales reps fault too for not fully disclosing everything at the point of sale. Also, a lot of times in my experience, customers don't pay attention or forget everything explained to them. So, if you are a consumer about to sign a one or two your cell phone contract, please pay attention to what your cell phone guy is saying and please ask questions about anything you don't understand. Yes, cell phones really do cost that much, so take care of them and place more value on your cell phone as a part of your life. So, if you still think cell phones are not worth that much to you remember to ask yourself this: "What would we do without them?" -The Cell Phone Guy