Tablets as Phones...Are There Signs of It Happening?

| Contact Center/CRM Views and Analysis

Tablets as Phones...Are There Signs of It Happening?

I like cellphones as phones and tablets as e-mail/texting/surfing means. I dislike the reverse: for me and many others cellphones are a terrible tool for communications other than voice. The keyboards may be suited for Tweets and texts but are just too tiny for serious e-mail/chat work for all as are the screens. My wife has a BlackBerry smartphone with the touchscreen pad and the only "smart" task (other than making calls) she uses it for is occasionally checking her e-mails. She can't stand the form factor for surfing or writing e-mails.

And tablets as of yet, and for some unexplainable reason do not have cellphone i.e. voice call functionality built in.

Which to fully stay in touch and to communicate with others effectively over multiple channels means having to lug both sets of devices, which are a pain in the back, neck and arms and most importantly the wallets. And as the number of things one has grows arithmetically the odds of losing, misplacing, breaking or having the items stolen or most commonly the batteries dying increases geometrically.

That’s why I have neither a so-called smartphone nor a tablet. And I’m on a rate plan that my carrier now loses money, so my mailbox (and recycling ban) regularly gets filled with offers to upgrade…

I keep checking at my carrier's local outlet. Maybe I ought to write to them and make the suggestion...if they really want my business and that of many others in the same position.

Now could it be that the device manufacturers may finally get it right by combining the two? And actually give heavy duty voice and keyboard users like journalists (like me), emergency personnel (like my paramedic son) and yes salespeople, field support and contact center supervisors a do-everything/anytime/anywhere box?

The other week I was in a competing carrier (to mine)’s retail outlet, saying how convenient it would be to have an iPad combined with an iPhone and the salesperson hinted to me that it the iPad could have that functionality…

Now HP’s new TouchPad tablet, says the release… is “Designed to be used alone or as a digital companion to your webOS phone, TouchPad connects you and your devices through the elegant webOS experience. Never miss an important call or SMS message – they can be answered and viewed right on your TouchPad.”

Two key footnotes point out that the TouchPad “Requires connection to compatible webOS phone with the same HP webOS Account. Voice service requires separately purchased service contract. Availability may vary by carrier.” Also “Within wireless coverage area only. SMS and IM require data services at additional cost. SMS requires connection to compatible webOS phone. Availability of IM functionality may vary by carrier.”

A CNet article on the release including this information: “Initially the TouchPad will be offered as a Wi-Fi only device, though HP said it plans to release a version with 3G/4G mobile connectivity later on down the line.”

Hmm: 3G/4G…could it mean I could run Vonage of the tablet with a speech-to-text softphone app, clip on the Bluetooth and do an end run over cellphone fees through VoIP?

Now we would be talking…

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