webOS Nation Forums >  webOS Discussion >  Open webOS General Discussion > Reinventing the Payphone
Reinventing the Payphone
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Old 12/05/2012, 07:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Well, the city of New York is having a competition to "reinvent the payphone." I've joined a project on the collab site they posted and one of the goals is to have "an intuitive interface for persons of multiple languages and / or disabilities." In addition, the creator of the project wants to open source it.
Personally, I thought Open webOS would be great for a touchscreen payphone design. Just get a few apps to run on a larger display, and voila! I mean, it's open sourced already and intuitive. It'd save us work from creating an entirely new UI and whatnot. And it wouldn't be all of webOS, obviously, for there would be no need for that. Only a few apps and Synergy connectors.

Side note: since we would like to support multiple languages, I think Chinese would be a great addition (since Spanish, French, German, and Italian are already supported). "I think we would obviously like to add support for Chinese (and other languages) to the Open webOS builds. I believe the issue had to do with the lack of open source fonts (and, of course, time to test, package, deploy). This is a great area for the Open webOS community to help out."

Anyhow, even without Chinese, I think this would be an interesting way to get webOS to the masses. At least the masses that would use a payphone 2.0. Any thoughts? Also, if you'd like to help out, feel free to join the project above!
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Last edited by HelloNNNewman; 12/05/2012 at 08:39 PM. Reason: link to personal project removed per forum rules
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Old 12/05/2012, 07:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In this day and age, when almost everyone has a cell phone, a pay-phone s only good for reporting a crime or an emergency when your own phone is dead or unavailable. For these purposes, the best thing is to have a very spartan and reliable, mostly analog (as opposed to digital) device that can survive floods, power surges and withstand vandalism.

There's no need for multiple languages when the same old rotary or keypad phone has been around for decades in every country. Sorry to deflate anyone's hopes or expectations. But NYC should first vote their soda and tobacco naz*s out of office before trying to reinvent the wheel. Just a thought.
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Old 12/05/2012, 08:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Reminds me of the payphones in Chinese airports. Those things run Windows and have a web browser and email client in addition to the phone. I think they're rather ugly and slow, so let's not go that way.
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Old 12/05/2012, 08:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GMMan View Post
Reminds me of the payphones in Chinese airports. Those things run Windows and have a web browser and email client in addition to the phone. I think they're rather ugly and slow, so let's not go that way.
Just about anything running Winblows will be ugly and slow

As for the OP, the idea is nice... Not sure how designing the hardware would be tho
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Old 12/05/2012, 08:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Reminds me of the payphones in Chinese airports. Those things run Windows and have a web browser and email client in addition to the phone. I think they're rather ugly and slow, so let's not go that way.
Windows? Eww..

Any OS that can harbor malware is a bad idea, unless you are the Chinese Politburo, looking to spy on anyone and everyone. And then, outside of a well lit airport, anything with a screen will get broken in a matter of days. Hey, can you hand me that crowbar? I think i'm out of bullets
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Old 12/06/2012, 05:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Any OS can "harbor malware"... so stop the **** talk. :-p

Instead of a pay phone 2.0 it would make much more sense to have micro-USB-Poweroutlets that you can rent like 15min charging for your smartphone or tablet on the go for a few bucks. That would be great.
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Old 12/06/2012, 10:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Let's be positive about this opportunity!.

I was going to suggest a few things like tourist information and wireless hotspot, but following the OP's link, these obvious things have already been put forward.

You may need a charging station if your battery is flat (and you could use the payphone while waiting), but it might be a bit of a wait...

@Brandon: I applaud your enthusiasm. If the result is some kind of multi use kiosk, then webOS would be a great choice.

I believe there is a large corporation with some interest in this technology. They are in fact, rumoured to not only be developing a version for smart televisions, but also a kiosk version that could cut you the keys to the city...

If the project goes anywhere, they might want to help you out. Hmmm... government contract? Free showcase for their currently zombie OS? Why not?

And I would think that the users here would want there favourite OS to gain a bit more traction - much better than a chinese windows phone!

All the best!

P.S. Wouldn't it be funny if HP's first successful phone was a large metal box screwed to the wall?

Last edited by Preemptive; 12/06/2012 at 10:57 AM. Reason: I can't shut up
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Old 12/06/2012, 12:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The don't have batteries that die
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Old 12/06/2012, 12:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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...I believe there is a large corporation with some interest in this technology. They are in fact, rumoured to not only be developing a version for smart televisions, but also a kiosk version that could cut you the keys to the city...
The Smart TV is an LG/gram collaboration.

The Key Kiosk (Keyosk???) is a start up company.

I too think webOS would be a natural for this type of use if handled correctly. I think the biggest obstacle would be security of information.

It MUST be set to wipe all billing info at the local terminal after each session. Otherwise hackers will have a field day with a one stop shopping outlet for Credit and Debit Card information in bulk.
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Old 12/06/2012, 03:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Garfonso View Post
[snip]
Any OS can "harbor malware"... so stop the **** talk. :-p
[/snip]
And hence my emphasis on analog hardware. I didn't single out Windows in particular, but was dismayed at the Chinese phone's combination of Windows, web browser and e-mail client. Even if they have dumped Internet Explorer/ieframe.dll and re-image the installation of Windows every day, it still seems too easy to go to a site that will use one of the browser bugs to inject a payload into the loaded browser's memory, which will sit there all day and perform malicious activity until the device is rebooted...

So my point still holds.

And now get this, a "smart" payphone can be programmed by a government employee to "eat" your money every once in a while, without any visible physical modification. Not so for an analog phone, which has to be messed with before you'll see it losing quarters at a rate above "pure chance".

I'm still very skeptical about having a "smart" payphone on every other street corner. Maybe what they want is an info booth with phone functionality tacked on? And placed in all of the touristy areas? That i can understand, but that's an info booth first and phone second, and should be almost free to use, otherwise the tourists will not bother.
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Old 12/07/2012, 04:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah... info booth makes more sense for me, too... especially for tourists that usually don't have a dataplan in foreign countries (very expensive for EU people to use mobile data in US ).

I think webOS is quite good for an info both. Even if you get synergy right you can temporarily download contact infos and stuff from the cloud and let people send e-mail (or any other messages) to their people... of course you would need to be trustworthy as in the user can be sure that the credentials will never be saved.
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Old 12/07/2012, 02:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd say this is a solution in search of a problem but there's no solution yet. This is the absence of a solution in search of a problem.
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