|Written by Murphy Simmonds|
PAYING through the nose for R'n'B ringtones at home? At least they don't smell of piss.
We're beginning to feel incredibly sorry for the landline phone. Our walk home from work takes us past a phonebox bearing the message "20 minutes to any landline for just 40p." It's a cold, dirty phonebox and it smells of wee. We'd require at least £10 wired directly to our Swiss bank account before we'd even set foot inside, let alone stay for 20 minutes. And that's coming from people who can remember a time when we used to actively seek phoneboxes out for communicating with others while "on the go." Heaven knows what kids born in the last decade think they're for. Tramps, probably. Tramps and weeing."But the landline is a hardy beast and, like a boxing prostitute, its not going to go down without a fight"
When the public face of the landline is as depressing as that, it's no surprise the in house version is suffering some knock-on effects on its desirability. Sat there chained to the wall, all plastic and lumpen, its most exciting feature an LCD panel displaying caller ID and its only tune a dull, incessant and outdated "ring ring... ring ring..." It doesn't smell of wee, but it might as well.
And it's all thanks, of course, to the handy telecommunications device which now lives in our pocket gradually rendering us infertile with its deadly microwave radiation. It has a cutesy colour screen, it texts and takes pictures and plays music and stores lots of numbers and it has a good little try, bless it, at delivering the internet. It's everything a landline is not.
But the landline is a hardy beast and, like a boxing prostitute, its not going to go down without a fight. Enter the Ringboxx. This unassuming looking device - which is soon to go on sale in America, but has attracted such interest it's also looking like a dead cert for the UK - plugs into your PC, lets you download ringtones onto it, then sits between your phone and the wall and plays the audio of your choice when somebody calls you. There are thousands of tones to choose from and you can assign different ones to different numbers, so you can tell who's calling without having to even stand up and go and look at the phone. That's being billed as a plus point, but it does leave open the possibility of the phone ringing while you're having sex and you knowing it's your parents. Very impressive, eh?
Well, no, not really, it's rubbish. It only costs about $35 - around 15p at current exchange rates - but you have to pay for the ringtones, between about $1.50 and $3, which is galling. And bearing in mind mobile phones have been doing this for 700 years now, it's a little bit like sticking sat nav on a horse. Still, it'll probably sell by the bucketload. The bastards.