Talk Is Cheap

Textual Attraction

Data messaging is quite the rage.

Given the choice, would you rather listen to your voice-mail messages or read your e-mail? According to technology guru Andrew Seybold, editor of The Outlook on Communications and Computing newsletter, at least 30 percent of the world's wireless customers will opt for data correspondence over phone communications in the next few years.

"With text-based messages, you can sort and prioritize your messages, and respond to the most urgent ones first, without having to [go through] them serially," explains Seybold. Wireless messaging devices like 3Com's PalmPilot ( and other hand-held computers are growing in popularity because they're fast, they're cheaper than a call, and they provide a permanent record of transactions.

Could that mean the death of the telephone answering machine? Probably not, but in the not-too-distant future, people are likely to send more text-based messages in answer to questions about products or meeting dates and places. Seybold says continued technological innovations will mark the wireless field, and smaller firms will be the leaders in these advances.

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This article was originally published in the September 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Talk Is Cheap.

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