The Null Device


The latest mobile phone approved in the US is shaped like a Coca-Cola can, and has three buttons. One connects the caller, who has just found the device in a 12-pack, to a Coca-Cola representative who explains that they have won that most American of aspirational lifestyle symbols, a SUV; another sends the caller's whereabouts, picked up by a GPS receiver built into the device, to the company so that the lucky Coke drinker's SUV can be delivered. The device was developed by a Sydney company, Momentum Worldwide. This looks simultaneously nifty and obscene (disposable single-use electronic devices used for promoting junk food and giving away SUVs and then destined to leach toxins into the water table).

This lends itself to speculation about risks, and ways in which the street may find its own uses for these. The devices would probably cost a few hundred dollars to manufacture, and Coca-Cola would probably collect them for destruction upon delivery of the SUV. Though if one got one and didn't want to own a truck, I wonder how easy it would be to remove the SIM card and fit it to a different phone. Unless SIM cards can be configured, at the network level, to only call one number, an aspiring terrorist or troublemaker could have in their hands a completely anonymous SIM card, courtesy of Coca-Cola. Chances are it'd only be good for one call and one SMS message, though; I wonder whether it could receive calls.

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