November of 1999 Randice-Lisa "Randi" Altschul assumed the lead in
the disposable phone race when she was issued a series of patents for the
world's first disposable cell phone. Trademarked the Phone-Card-Phone∆, the
2" by 3" device is about the
thickness of three credit cards. The
user can make outgoing calls (no received calls) using a hands free speaker and
microphone set. The card
Phone-Card-Phone∆ is planned to sell for less than $20 at retail and contain at
least 60 minutes of calling time. When
your time is up, you can purchase additional minutes or return the phone for a
$2 - $3 rebate instead of trashing it.
The Phone-Card-Phone∆ not directly targeted at the usual disposable phone markets but rather it is targeted at the phone card replenishment business. As Randy Altschul put it, "Our market is not the cell phone market. Instead, we are and have always been after the phone replenishment card market. I think there will be a very large audience for our products, and when you think about it, even if you take 1 percent of the current telecom market (a drop in the bucket) it wouldn't be bad."
Regardless of the approach, Altschul does concede that her
phone will end up in the hands of the safety conscious who need a cell phone
žjust-in-caseÓ, as well as teenagers looking for something cool and the
frugal or forgetful travelers who need a cheap, temporary connection while away
Altschul, who has several previous inventions to her credit, thought up the invention after being tempted to toss her cell phone out of her car in frustration over a bad connection. She realized cell phones were too expensive to lose or throw away. After clearing the idea with her patent lawyer and making sure no one else had already invented a disposable cell phone, Randi Altschul together with engineer Lee Volte, patented both the disposable cell phone and the super thin technology (STTTM) needed for the Phone-Card-Phone and other intended products. The entire phone body, touch pad and circuit board will be made of paper substrate. The paper-thin cell phone uses an elongated flexible circuit which will be one piece with the body of the phone, part of the patented STTTM technology. The ultra-thin circuitry is made by applying metallic, conductive inks to paper. Which results in a printed circuit board that you can fold. The paper cell phone will be manufactured by Altschul's Cliffside Park, New Jersey company, Dieceland Technologies.
Randi Altschul and Dieceland Technologies were spashed all over the headlines during 2001 but during 2002 the info on the Phone-Card-Phone∆ has become scarce. Insiders have rumored that Altschul has been unable to manufacture the STTTM technology phone for less than $50. Not quite the kind of paper you want to be throwing away. Keep your eyes peeled for the mother of all disposable phones in the future.
Below: Dieceland's STTM technology.
Dieceland founder Randi Altschul, a game designer most famous for creating the "Barbie's 30th Birthday" game, signed a distribution deal last year with GE Capital Communications Services.
She is also working on designing a laptop, also made of
paper using super thin technology.
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