Sunday, April 09, 2006

an open letter to cell phone makers

Dear cell phone manufacturer,

I know you like to put new features on cell phones. After all, your marketing studies show that features drive sales. They let you create that all-important feature comparison chart, with the features in one column, another column per cell phone model, and a neat line of check marks going all the way down.

I’d like to propose another check mark. I know Qualcomm’s been advertising TV, GPS, and MP3 player on the phone. Those things might be nice, especially if I’m ever lost and want to catch the latest CNN with my own custom soundtrack. But here’s something that’d really be useful: boarding passes.

You see, when I get on a Southwest flight, I need a paper boarding pass. But when I’m traveling, I don’t usually have a printer with me, even if the hotel has Internet service. So by the time I check in, everyone else has done it the night before, and I get a C.

But my cell phone can talk to the Internet. And the newer cell phones can talk IR or Bluetooth. And the cell phone has a unique ID in it, so you even know it’s me – that’s how you can bill my calls to me. So why can’t I check in using my cell phone, and instead of printing out a piece of paper, why can’t I store the boarding pass on the cell phone itself? Then all I’d have to do is walk past the check in station and let the cell phone deliver my e-boarding-pass.

Now, I know what you’re saying: how much sense does it make to require someone to check in 24 hours in advance anyway? It’s kind of silly, after all, since a lot could happen in 24 hours and someone might not wind up showing up for the flight, so it can’t provide all that much assurance of a full seat. But the airlines like the system, so you might as well take advantage of it and sell a few more phones. Business travelers will love you.

Anyway, think it over. The idea’s free for the taking.

You’re welcome,
False Data

1 comment:

William said...

False,
Is it possible to amend this letter with an additional request. I would like to request that the manufactures include previous features on their new phones like call forwarding. This would be of great service to my current employer.
Thank you in advance,
William