Posted by: rolfsky | August 25, 2008

why can I only SMS other cell phones?

Why can’t I SMS to a land-line?

This might seem like a silly question, but if I’m noticing it, then other people must be too. I think it’d be great to SMS my mom at her home, but of course there’s no way for her to “pick up this message” because her phone has no screen.

I can’t imagine that this would be particularly difficult to do, many phones already include an LCD display for showing the incoming call number.

Regardless of the technical limitations, this shows a hole in the communications infrastructure.

Along these lines is another list of questions I have:

Why can’t I call a street address on my phone?

Why can’t I send an email to a cell phone number?

Why can’t I send postal mail to a phone number?

Why can’t I chat via URL?

I could go on and create the 5×5 matrix of street address, email address, URL, cell phone number, and land-line number, but you get my point.

Isn’t it a little antiquated that an address in a specific format only allows communication only though that medium?

If I want to track-back to myself, I could ask, why isn’t my personal profile located at



  1. Here in Spain we have that service on landlines, provided the phone has a screen, of course, but sms to and from landlines is provided with every line.

  2. You can actually send sms to landlines. As soon as you send it, it will be decoded into some robotic voice which will read out the message as soon as somebody picks up the phone.

  3. Hi Rolf,

    Here in Ireland we have SMS messaging to home phones, however, as you pointed out – this requires a handset with an LCD screen. Another trait that is seen is that the generation of people with home phones did not take to this new capability in large numbers (younger couples are now using mobiles only). It would be great to have 1 phone number, which when you are not at home will hunt to your mobile handset in this regard.

    I agree totally with your main point though, unified communications is the way forward.


  4. Ah, looks like the good ‘ol US of A is lagging behind in telephony technology, again.

    Thanks for the info about across the pond!

    Now who’s working on the “call a street address”… Nokia? are you out there?

  5. Hmmm, you may have just inspired me to brush off my programming chops and write an app for Android. Google does a pretty good job of reverse lookup on addresses, and it wouldn’t be too hard to hit a couple of the other free ones as well.

    Make a simple UI that parses a bunch of different address formatting and you have “House Call”.

    Damn Rolf, reading your blog is dangerous. And that is a sincere compliment.

  6. @todd_gage I can’t wait to see your app! There shouldn’t be too many pieces to integrate. 😉 Keep me posted!

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