Friday, 28th February, 2020


Appearing busy gets easier; Nokia to launch phone that talks to you

17, Dec 2010 By Simon

Mumbai. Nokia is set to launch a ground breaking new phone this week. After extensive market research, the handset manufacturer found that 67% of the times when mobile phone is removed from the owners’ pocket, it is not used to make a call or send a text. Rather it’s taken out either in an attempt to appear busy whilst waiting around – so as not to appear like poor Johnny No-mates or to try and avoid eye contact with Sunil from Accounts who’s crossing the road.

Inspired by this discovery, the “Nokia Parrot 150” records snippets of all the user’s conversations and replays them randomly when the owner dials the ‘parrot’ number. The handset will simulate an important call by ringing and flashing up “CEO”, “Muki Ambani” or “Sach (Mumbai number)” on the display.

“The Parrot 150 serves an important social function,” says developer, Manoj Kabra, “it makes the user appear busy on a call without the bother of actually calling anyone, plus some people get very lonely. It tackles the boredom of standing still, being quiet and paying attention to your surroundings.”

Talking on cellphone
Pretending to talk to someone on phone while there is no one on the other end is known as “communifaking”

With the phone to their ears, users will give the impression of being deep in an important call, whilst having the reassurance of listening to a human voice on the other end, even if the random snippets make little sense. “The sense bit is not important,” says Kabra, “some people call the random playback of conversational snippets nonsense, but look at song lyrics, poetry and art, it doesn’t have to make sense for people to say it’s good… are we to believe that John Lennon was really a walrus?”

But the phone does speak some sense: if will ring and play a recorded message to the owner if it is low on battery or needs a re-charge. It will also notify the owner of several issues when it sees fit, including: “she won’t text back, best stop, this is embarrassing for Nokia too”, “your last text did not contain any vowels, please purchase a dictionary” and “yes, it was him from the party again, to change your number please visit our website”.

Faking News was given a Parrot 150 to test. The device came in useful at a prestigious media event at Delhi’s Gymkhana Club. Having offered the watchman a pack of silk cut to walk the other way, successfully scaled the back wall of the property and made it onto the lawn without trampling the flowers, our correspondent found no one was willing to talk to Faking News staff.

Fed up of this obvious jealously at FN’s diverse and unpredictable information sources, your correspondent engaged the ‘parrot’ option and appeared to have a 30 minute long ‘conversation’ with the editor of the ‘Times of London’, whilst actually listening to the best of our communications with random property agents, Merucabs, Airtel’s customer service desk, and assorted adult services.