Will Two Way Radios Marry The Smartphone?

There’s a whole lot of hype brewing in the two way radio industry.
A company has created a portable two-way radio docking case that comes equipped with an additional battery.
The docking case can convert your smartphone into a multiband radio system that works with the main radio system vendors.
The device is actually simple – it just combines smartphone data with Radio Frequency (RF) on one single portable device,
thereby merging a smartphone and a 2 way radio into one device.
The case is rugged and therefore offers extra protection for your phone and eliminates the need for you to carry both the devices at the same time.
You can convert the smartphone into a multi-band radio and use it to communicate on all bands – UHF, VHF and 800 Mhz.
The big thing about this device is that it uses the phone’s data to increase the communication range (distance) from 25 miles to global (so long you use the ROIP (Radio Over IP repeater)!
As stated above, the case is very rugged and immune to water and shocks and is squash-proof too. It works for all the major phone brands like iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and Android.
It does seem that this device will be preferred by:

a. Ham operators

b. Healthcare personnel who can record the patient’s data (including taking a picture of the problem area)on an electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) system and communicate with doctors at the same time.

c. Cops who can call their HQ and run a motor vehicle check at the same time.

How Does The Smartphone-Radio Device Work?

The device employs basic RF concept and integrates RF bands with mobile voice and data so that one single device that serves as a phone and radio system is created.
The manufacturer has used patented parts and software, which unifies RF band with cellular data/voice.
To turn your smartphone into a phone-rand-radio, all you have to do is dock it to the case and install the software application on your phone.
You can feed in frequency, operating band and other options using the software interface. That’s all there is to it.

But Will Such A Product Succeed?

Like all new inventions, the case sure will find a few takers in the beginning.
However, I’m sure that everyone realizes that a two way radio and a smartphone have different uses altogether.
You use a phone more for entertainment and communication while you use a radio to help others or ask for help. There is a fundamental difference.
So, the question is – why would a smartphone user need a two way radio when his communicating needs are fulfilled by his phone?
Likewise, why would a radio user ever want a smartphone bundled with it? He wants to help people and may feel that the smartphone will distract him from doing his core duties.
More importantly, we should understand that technology is evolving and that it is possible that digital two way radios may include many additional features (like a camera) in the future.
My verdict is that this docking case that marries phones and radios will find limited takers because it tries to merge two vastly different uses.
Will my prophecy come true? That is something only time can tell.

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Collin Collins in a blogger and tech-enthusiast from Georgia.