By Larry Magid | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm
[A note from Harry: We’re delighted to welcome CBS News’s Larry Magid as a Technologizer contributor–we’ll be borrowing occasional posts from his Larry’s World site.]
When a PR guy pitched me on the Callet, a $19.99 smartphone case that can also store your driver’s license and credit cards, my first reaction was to pass on it. It struck me as a solution in search of a problem. I actually prefer having my wallet separate from my phone so if I’m missing my phone, at least I might have a chance of finding my wallet.
But that got me thinking about an actual benefit to the product. If my wallet and phone were one in the same, I could find my wallet by calling it from another phone. Of course, I’d still have to remember to charge the phone so I could hear it ring or buzz, but at least there’d be a chance of finding it.
As my wife Patti can testify, I spend far too much time hunting around for my phone, wallet and keys which can be anywhere in the house and I know I’m not the only one who sometimes finds his phone by calling it. Sometimes I luck out and the keys and wallet happen to be nearby, but with this product I could count on finding my wallet.
I realize that’s not the purpose of the device. It’s being marketed for people who just want one thing to carry around with them when they go out at night but I’m not convinced that having a somewhat thicker phone case is an advantage to carrying a separate phone and wallet.
A couple of readers have asked whether there is a risk of having your credit cards, transit card or hotel “key” so close to your phone. It’s generally not a good idea to have cards with a magnetic stripe near a phone. I asked the company and was told, “The Answer is no, the Silicon material that separates the battery from the first card stops this from happening. We have never received one complaint in the plus 50K pieces we have sold.”
On the other hand, having your credit card so handy is dangerous in other ways because you’re tempted to actually use it.