The Economist, iPhone and visual voicemail

I'm a longtime subscriber of The Economist. I disagree with their views on many issues, but they always get their facts right. Or, so I thought. In an article from the Jan 11th 2007 edition, they write about Apple's iPhone:

[The iPhone] is the only phone with a web browser (Apple's Safari) that displays web pages in their full splendour. It is also the only phone that has «visual voicemail» to save users from the hassle of listening to all their messages before getting to the important ones

Opera has, of course, shown web pages on phones «in their full splendour» for years, at least since Nokia 9210i was released in 2003. It's good to see that others are also understanding the importance of having a fully featured browser in your pocket, and I can forgive Steve Jobs for bragging about it. The Economist, however, should strive to get things right.

The second sentence is probably true: it's the first time visual voicemail appears in a mobile device. It is, however, more than 10 years since I — along with colleagues at Norwegian Telecom Research — made a prototype for visual voice mail. As far as I know, the SCREAM project — Screen-based Navigation in Voice Messages — was the first project of its kind. The project was described in a paper in Telektronikk 4-93 and presented as video at CHI'94. Below are some screen shots from the paper.

howcome 2007-01-15