Usually old articles of the form “Your x of tomorrow” be it house, car, phone, city, plane, etc are full of ideas that are wildly off the mark or just plain ridiculous. This article about the future of phones is remarkable because virtually everything in it has come true. Worldwide Direct Touchtone Dialing, Transistorized Switching, Audio/Video data compression, Voice Recognition and rampant miniaturization. All true. Not to mention that a tiny, touchtone, color videophone you can watch TV on is a pretty accurate description of my Motorola RAZR.
I also love the idea that everyone will get a phone number at birth and keep it for the rest of their life. If you call someone and they don’t pick up, you’ll know they’re dead. Or perhaps just sleeping.
Your Telephone Of Tomorrow
Future may bring push-button dialing, videophones, direct calls anywhere on earth and pocket-size sets.
By Robert G. Beason
ON SOME night in the future a young man walking along Market Street in San Francisco may suddenly think of a friend in Rome. Reaching into his pocket, he will pull out a watch-size disc with a set of buttons on one side. He will punch ten times. Turning the device over, he will hear his friend’s voice and see his face on a tiny screen, in color and 3-D. At the same moment his friend in Rome will see and hear him.
The disc will be a telephone, a miniature model equipped for both audio and video service. Back in 1952, Harold S. Osborne, retiring chief engineer of American Telephone & Telegraph, envisioned this tiny instrument as the ultimate shape of the phone. In the future, said Mr. Osborne, a telephone number will be given at birth to every baby in the world. It will be his for life. When he wants to call anyone, no matter where, he will merely push the buttons on his Lilliputian phone.