The Phone as in a device that allows to type numbers and make call is seeing is last days on earth. I started using Skype and recently read stuff on Skpye based phones.
The concept just seems to make so much sense. Skype and similar technologies use the internet as the backbone. The numbers are just user_ids on the application and you are able to call anyone on the planet use the same service. Today such calls can me made to regular phone too and at a charge.
We have seen VOIP phones from CISCO withing our offices that allow calls any location of the same company. The ease of reaching anyone across the world has significantly improved communication and is being encouraged by corporates. Companies especially benefitiing from this technology are OutSourcing majors , Export oriented units. The technology helps significantly improve communications and reducues costs compared to conventioanl international calls.
The biggest impact of the internet teclephony technologies will be seen when the technology is adopted widely among domestic users. This would mean that all mobile plans would be for internet usage and telcos may charge based on the volume of data exchanged. However there will not be any charge diffrences for local, national, international calls. We can already see such phone arriving in the market. The one shown here is a product from Netgear and Panasonic.
The Phone is Dead, Long Live the ComSet [Communication Set]
I can imgine in the next 3-5 years all phones will be internet devices that allow calls as just one of the many features. Internet web surfing, Shopping, Online Games, News and PodCasting will become common uses of the communication device. Although many of the these services are avaiable today on the mobile devices, lack of standardzation, poor capacity of phones and connectivty mean very low penetration of applications. The use of internet and devices with laptop like capabilities will see the phone transform to a true communications device. Seen here are devices/prototypes from popular CE Giants. Similar devices may replace your phone sooner that you thought.
Seems like intresting times ahead ......................