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Prediction for 2011: Death of the Phone

January 01, 2011 | 1 Minute Read

It’s January, which means it’s time for really misinformed predictions that will just look silly in hindsight! I’ve been reluctant in the past to use Google Voice because of integration issues, but I think 2011 is the year that I’ll start relying on it more, especially if I end up changing my real phone number (I’ll just give out my Google Voice # and forward calls).

I recently bought an Android phone and was thinking of what I could use it for. With Google Voice and Skype, I could make “calls” and send text messages wherever I have an internet connection. If Google eventually enables making voice calls over wifi (like in Google Chat, and I predict they will some time this year), I think the big phone companies will start hurting, because people will want data-only plans so that they can call with Google.

This “cable cutting” has already happened with landlines (my Mom has a dedicated phone device that does VoIP) and cable tv. So it makes sense that wireless phone providers will soon feel the effects as well. I’d really love to set up the HTC Hero that I ordered as a dedicated “landline” phone that I use with my internet connection at home.

Of course, most people will still probably continue to use the standard bundled minutes + texts (+ data) phone plans, but I feel early adopters are just itching to pay one monthly data bill for all of their infrastructure needs. It’ll only be a matter of time before the mainstream begins to head in that direction. I think that the phone as we know it (how ridiculous is it to pay a phone plan based on the number of minutes in the plan?) will begin to die in 2011, with more emphasis on bandwidth as the infrastructure requirement.