Irate conversationalists who want to hang up on someone soon can just throw out the phone. Disposable wireless phones are on the horizon.
Several companies are producing them, which will be sold as prepaid phone cards with voice-activated handsets, 60 minutes of airtime and batteries. After using up airtime, callers can simply throw out part of the phone and head to the nearest 7-Eleven, Kmart or Target to buy more minutes.
San Francisco-based Telespree plans to unveil a phone and handset that omits the typical keypad. Instead, there are only two buttons: one to turn on the phone, and the other to make emergency calls. A disposable Air Clip monitors how much time is left and contains the battery.
In mid-October, Garden Grove, Calif.-based phone-maker Hop-On Wireless plans to ship more than 1 million disposable phones to retailers to be sold for approximately $30.
And Dieceland Technologies, Cliffside Park, N.J., has several patents for a disposable phone made from credit-card-sized electrical circuit boards printed on sturdy coated paper. Cost is about $10.
Initially, users only will be able to make outgoing calls, but a more advanced phone is likely to follow. Problems, however, could arise from wireless service providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint PCS, who haven't jumped on the bandwagon because they likely won't generate much revenue from low-cost, disposable phones. Many companies also have yet to strike deals with wireless carriers, which means the concept could be trashed soon enough.
Sources: ZDNet News, Forbes.com and SmartMoney