Aussie firm launches VOIP payphone

In a satisfying bit of retro futurism, an Aussie company with the excellent name Pie Networks has launched a coin-operated, Internet-enabled payphone. Who says the old workhorses are on their way out? Australian newspaper The Age writes that the new "WebPhones," which connect to the Web via wireless broadband, will let users "check Web-based email applications, perform online transactions, download music from online retailers, and transfer and email their photographs from digital cameras."

And, naturally, they'll also let you place a call -- using voice-over-Internet-protocol technology. Finally, as an added bonus for those still planning to tote around their laptops, the payphones may also "double as Wi-Fi hotspots."

Surprisingly, Pie Networks aren't the first to think of VOIP payphones. The do-it-yourself crew over at Make built themselves a Skype payphone last year, though that was hardly a commercial venture. It remains to be seen if, in a world of massively widespread cell phones, there will be much demand for Pie's WebPhones beyond its home turf of Perth in western Australia, but it's worth noting that the margins on charging for email may well be better than those on local calling. And it's nice sometimes to travel light. Got a dime? I need to place an instant message.

Photo by junku-newcleus
Posted by Oliver Ryan 8:57 PM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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