The evolution of communication

il b thr n fiv mins (I’ll be there in five minutes). The newest language on the market today – messaging speak.

Motorola has dubbed this phenomenon “Generation Txt”. The wireless and communications appliance maker recently commissioned a study too show that this messaging trend is about to take off.

Ipsos-Reid research showed that about 57 per cent of consumers aged 18-34 are interested in products that will allow them to text message.

Enter Motorola’s Talkabout T900, a pager with a built-in, full, miniature keyboard. Jim Madigan, major account manager for Motorola Canada in Toronto, said that right now most messaging is done on cell phones with numeric keyboards.

“We looked to the T900 and devices like that with full keyboards. We did some research to gauge the interest in that device and it came back very positive,” he said.

The pager runs on an air-time plane, provided by either Bell Mobility or PageNet, and can receive and transmit text messages anywhere in the two-way range.

Madigan noted that once someone leaves that range, the T900 acts as a one-way pager, where it can receive messages but not send.

That’s one thing Connolly Aziz hopes may change given time.

The 18-year-old Oakville, Ont., native is very enthusiastic about the product.

“This is really good for people with busy schedules, especially if your friends have busy schedules too. It’s food to communicate and figure things out,” he said. “I try not to phone people, then you end up leaving messages with their parents. This way you just get your quick fast message across.”

Aziz joked that he can now message his parents that he will be home late, and not have to answer questions until he gets home.

He said there has not been any problems getting his messages through.

“I can text people’s e-mail. My sisters are at work and I send it to them and send me messages back from their e-mail,” he said.

He added there is a bit of a different language, because people are trying to type as fast as they think. “Thanks is thx. The keyboard is a thumb keyboard, it’s just like playing a video game.”

He said he would like it if message delivery were more instantaneous.

“It sort of defeats the purpose when you send a message saying you will be there in five minutes and the person gets the message after you show up.”

However, he predicted speed would go up and cost would go down over time.

Aziz said he likes that the pagers are fairly simple, without a lot of frills or added functions. “I know my friend’s dad has a BlackBerry and he can check his stocks and stuff, but we don’t need that.”

He noted that this type of pager seems ideal for youth. Even the colours appealed to Aziz and his friends.

“I think the colour is cool. Mine’s royal blue. I think it makes them look better. If you have a black pager – that’s just a black pager. These are funky – all the kids are wearing brighter colours now,” Aziz said.

Aziz also predicted that instead of getting cell phones, many of his friends would ask for a text pager next time.

He said his friends were all comparing the devices to those seen in music videos. “They were just typing on the keyboard and stuff, but a lot of them said something like this would be good to have in university.”

Madigan said that this product was specifically targeted at youth, although they do have other text messaging devices for the business professional that allow desktop synchronization and e-mail synching.

“I guess youth are very comfortable with this type of communication. Most of them were raised with e-mail, so this is the next evolution of that,” he said. “They’re very comfortable with that world, and also voice.”

The T900 also holds up to 250 addresses and phone numbers. There is also a quiet time feature that allows the user to turn the device off, but still receive messages. Madigan noted this ideal for meetings or classrooms.

“That’s why people like using texting versus a cell phone. They find it more efficient because you can skip formalities and it can be done discreetly,” he said.

Madigan said Motorola is now looking at add-on devices such as headsets or a plug-in speakerphone for voice communication.

The Talkabout T900 is priced at $199, plus airtime packages, or can be leased as part of a package starting at $19.95.