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Motorola Fills A Niche With Rotary Cell Phones
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SCHAUMBURG, Illinois - Motorola will soon begin shipping its latest "retro" cell phone, the ThrowBack. "Our customers have told us again and again that they want to return to the simpler days of telephony," said Motorola Vice-President of Sales Lew Wallace, "Back before anybody had yet coined the term 'telephony'. Few things speak of simple times like the familiar rotary phone." The Throwback's only interface is a simple rotary dial. Purchase of the phone includes a one year subscription to CLARA, Motorola's voice-operated direct-dial service.

"With CLARA, you hardly have to dial at all," explained Wallace, "You just say, 'CLARA, get me the pet store over on Fifth and Madison' and CLARA figures out who you mean and connects you. We're very proud of this new service, available exclusively from Motorola."

"It's a bold step," admitted T-Mobile spokesperson Lacey Crimlick, "No one believes voice service is really mature enough to be a primary interface, so for anyone, much less Motorola, to step up with an offering like this, is risky. But if they can pull it off, it will no doubt be popular. Though in practice, it's unlikely most people are going to be willing to explain to a computer who they are trying to reach, instead of the simple convenience of a touch pad."

The new service may scare off its own target market -- the older generation that can still remember when all calls were operator assisted. "When I was the operator for my small town," recalled Bea Griffith, "I often knew more about my neighbor's lives than they did! Land sakes, if they're letting a computer hear that sort of gossip, I don't know what the world is coming to."

"Very few of the calls will be recorded," said Wallace, coolly, "And fewer still will actually be listened to by anyone. There's nothing for anyone to worry about. CLARA will take care of everything."
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