You know those Princess phones - brand-named many decades ago by a marketing genius from the generation where even the creatively touched wore gray flannel suits. The point was, buy the phone for young daughter, and she will use it to talk to all her little friends, and the phone will be so pretty and cute - that aw, she will feel just like a "princess."
So yesterday at the Consumer VoIP Summit, VoIP guru Jeff Pulver predicted that "sometime" VoIP would be so ubiquitous, and chips so cheap, that we would see $10 Princess phones able to handle VoIP. I could see the same thing. Most girls who would love a Princess phone also have a PC in their room, so any VoIP enabled phone would also need to be either Bluetooth-capable, or Ultra Wide-Band enabled. The pricing would also have to be attractive enough to undercut cell phones that just about every young, err, Princess yacks on, even in her room.
Not a lot of enterprise users (except perhaps, for the kind of places that abound on the north end of Las Vegas Blvd.) would find Princess phones appropriate. But what about VoIP phones for $50? Well, now that's the type of ROI that should have you at hello.
Jeff said he expects that $50 barrier to be crossed by the end of this year. If so, that would mean that the "less than $100" price point for Vonage's new VoIP phone, announced just the other day, would be cut in half. Especially true if the price of chips continues to fall, and very low-overhead phone suppliers undertake deep discounting to undercut the Vonages and other VoIP phone marketers.
Here, I present a law of technology marketing: when a brand name supplier offers something at a historically low price point, others, with little or no marketing budget drain on their own ROI, will go even lower. And while you seldom see such brands on the shelf, they come up via Froogle searches of deep discount online retailers you've never heard of.
How low? I'd say $59.99 for a VoIP phone by the end of this year, with the $50 mark not long after that.
But $10 for a Princess VoIP? OK, WAG (Wild Assumed Guess) time: 4Q 2006.