Flexible network usage for mobile phones  SEP 25 2008

Google has filed a patent that might eliminate the need for mobile phone users to choose a single network. Instead, a piece of software would poll all available networks and select the most appropriate one based on price.

Devices using the system would send networks a description of their requirements -- for example, a phone call or access to the internet -- and receive back bids with a per-minute cost, or flat rate, at which those needs could be met. Users can either manually accept the bid that looks best to them, or have the phone choose one automatically, based on pre-programmed criteria.

Besides being a brain-dead obvious idea -- nice work once again, USPTO -- if a system like this were put in place, calling Mom on Mother's Day would get a whole lot more expensive, as would calls and data usage during other peak times or locations.

Update: I'm reminded that this is just an application, not an accepted patent, so my "nice work" comment doesn't apply. But I would imagine that patents coming from Google have little trouble getting accepted. (thx, mike)

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