Friday, July 06, 2007

The Wii (aka Ninja) of Telecommunications

When the PS3 came out the Nintendo Wii also came out but to considerably less buzz. In fact the Wii's release was almost an afterthought. The PS3 launch was a massive event that over time has fizzled as the Wii has considerably outsold the PS3 and has sustained increasing amounts of publicity. Go to any electronics store and you are likely to find a PS3 in stock but good luck finding a Wii. The Wii has performed like a ninja, you do not know that the ninja has entered the room till he has killed you (this is also true for gay ninjas). It's all pretty unnerving. This once almost happened to me, a ninja entered my bedroom, but since I am actually Chuck Norris' love child I knew that he had entered but concealed my discovery till the last moment. Then I roundhouse kicked the ninja to death. One roundhouse kick is all it takes.

Anyhow, the big consumer electronics news item of the day is the iPhone but another less heralded development occured last week- T-Mobile is offering VOIP calls through its cell phones. I think this development will be like a massive judo chop to the rest of the industry and will force others to follow in that direction. Here is the crux of it all. You get a cell phone, you subscribe to a plan and it has a specific number of minutes. Once you exceed your alotted number of minutes you have to pay extra. Well, for $10 extra a month T-Mobile will route your calls anytime you are in a WiFi hotspot over the internet but won't charge those calls against your allotment of minutes. But what I think makes this phenomenally cool is you effectively have an international cell phone. T-Mobile has hot spots at all starbucks. You could be sipping an overpriced Latte in Dubai and still be making a local (free) phone call to your peeps in D.C. or Dubuque.

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