Cell Phones II

By: Ian Ball

Even before the iPhone, cell phones were getting more and more applications that could be useful to their owner. It may have started with the fabulous product called "ring tones," or it may have started earlier, but it turns out that as the DSP (digital Sound Processor) chips in cell phones became more powerful it seemed a waste to not use it for more than just voice grade communications.

One of these other uses appeared as snippets of favorite music used to replace the old fashioned "Ring" of a telephone. Actually, even the old standard ring tones were being produced by the DSP as music.

It only took a little bit faster and more powerful DSP and some more memory to make it possible for the cell phone to converge with the MP3 player, (a generic version of what the trademarked iPod is). As Research In Motion sold vast numbers of its famous Blackberry email, and web appliance, the cell phone industry took noticed and began to add these applications to "standard" cell phones. RIM, for its part added cellular phone features to its Blackberry devices.

As the market forces drove cell phones, iPods, and Blackberrys toward each other's markets, each added features to enhance its own features and to make incursions into the territory of other devices. Along with all of this development in the cell phone industry, there were other developments in the "cell" end of cell phones. Tower technology developed better quality transmission with lower power, and better coverage. The companies offering cell phone service multiplied and merged with POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) companies, and the ability of the consumer to contract for the service that served his/her purposes best increased by leaps and bounds.

One of the "other features" that have appeared in the cell phone industry in recent years include the appearance and disappearance of "roaming charges" for the most part. If you are paying roaming charges find a different service.

Another feature is "unlimited off-peak hours." This feature allows you to make calls without using "minutes" during the non-business hours of nighttime and weekends. Associated with this feature, you may find "unlimited incoming calls." Some service providers also offer unlimited "in-plan" calling.

With everything that the cell phone service providers are giving away, it is hard to see what is left to charge you for. With that consideration, I ask, "Why is my monthly bill always over $100.00 when I am on a plan that is supposed to be $39.95/month?"

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