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Today It's About Calling, Not Phone Calls

The phone call is dead. Long live the call.

Do you call someone or phone them? Well, that depends. It depends if you're using a telephone or something else to make the call.

Lately in discussions with clients we've been moving them all away from the use of the phrase "phone call" and over to simply the word "call" as it supports a more modern use and is certainly more correct for those who:

1. Use Skype-Skype folks will be the first to say they are neither VoIP or a telephone service. Do you ever hear anyone say PhoneSkype me or SkypePhone me? hear them say "call me on Skype" or simply "Skype me."

2. A softclient, like client CounterPath's Bria, X-Lite or Eyebeam. You may use others like Blink or Gizmo, but in no way are they phones. They are softphones, or VoIP clients, but have you ever heard anyone say "softphone call me?" No you hear them say, "give me a call."

3. You place and receive calls on your iPad or Android tablet. Clearly, no one would mistake an iPad or an Android tablet for a phone....yet calling is still happening.

4. We have conference calls, but you don't need a "phone" to be on them these days. Look at services like ZIPDX where softcliens using g.722 wideband or HiDef Conferencing where you can Skype into the bridges. Both offer far better "Call" quality than a phone offers.

5. The VideoPhone never made it, yet today, we're seeing more and more video calls happening everyday.

6. Forward thinking client, Truphone dropped the tag of Phone for their new global roaming offer, simply calling it TRU.

7. Companies like Kipcall want you to talk via FaceBook. They too say, "call" not phone.

At the end of the day, the idea of the "phone" is passe and it is going the way of the telegraph key....

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Andy, I do agree with your point.
(My previous rambling-on may have blurred that a bit.)

Cheers from Alberta, Canada
Jeff -

Andy Abramson


The key is you used both "talk" and "call" not "phone."

Today people say "call me" as the song by Blondie went. They say "give me a call." If we were back in the 70s we would hear "E.T. call home."

My point is the word "phone" is becoming more and more a noun, and the word "call" the verb.



This topic could certainly spur a bit of debate over "what is a telephone?". But, I think we all know exactly what a "telephone" is. So, I guess the real question is over what do we call it (no pun here) when we "talk" to someone "remotely" via some kind of electronics apparatus?

It used to be we only had one choice of the device we used - a Telephone. For me that started back in the 1950's and remained essentially unchanged until the 1980's. But, back then there was another option for me, too - it was called Ham Radio. I talked to people all over the world, for free, via radio waves, or "wireless" (kind of like a cell phone now days... kind-of, but not exactly. I think we actually called it: "Radio Telephony". Now, if someone said: Call Me, I would probably call them via "analog PSTN landline telephone". But, if I were talking to a Amateur Radio Operator (Ham), and if he/she said "Call Me", I would assume he meant via "Radio Telephone". That is unless we were already conversing using "Morse Code" (of which I copied up to 20-wpm). In this case, I guess I would be "calling" via Radio Telegraph (guess this doesn't count as a Voice call... but it is a Call :)

Flash-forward 30 years...
The methods we have for making "voice calls" now days is more than I can count on both hands (and perhaps my toes too :). And, because there are now so many "methods" by which we can make a voice call now.... I don't think anyone cares "how" we call them (especially my Mother :), just as long as we do call them.

I think "how we call" only matters when media compatibility is an issue.
We're certainly in a period of voice communications media transition... and not quite sure what to call it when we're talking to someone. (Like, when someone says..."What are you doing"... Uh..I'm on the telephone...No, I mean on my ATA.. wait, sorry, I'm on my 3CXPhone Softphone... Ok, I'm just on a call...talking to someone...)

Jeff -


Interesting thought, but I am not sure if I am completely with you here. I think that our definition or understanding of the term "phone" has evolved. A phone is no longer the device we used to have 10 years back with a receiver microphone and buttons to make and receive calls. Bria, Skype, etc. are all phones in some way, just that they have a different form factor.

That said, I agree that we are increasingly moving away from our traditional conceptualization of a "phone" call.

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