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On the Trail: STAYING CONNECTED

Only the coolest delegates have even cooler cellphones

August 29, 2008|Alana Semuels

It must have been tough to be a delegate at the Democratic National Convention -- you had to know when to scream for Hillary Rodham Clinton, when to scream for Barack Obama and when not to scream. And then you had to learn the art of shaking hands and networking while listening for really important announcements about, for example, someone somewhere offering free pizza.

Life may be easier if you have a swanky cellphone. At least, that's the marketing pitch a pack of companies made as they pushed their mobile-related products to the Democrats in Denver.

There's the service that allows you to text questions and get answers from real live people. The one that allows you to watch MSNBC and other channels' political TV shows on your phone. The service that lets you listen to Los Angeles radio show host Stephanie Miller and other pundits on your phone.

But wait a minute. Political conventions are where people go to wave signs and yell themselves silly. Are they really a place to push new technology on people who might not be early adopters? Well, yes.

"Political conventions are the hotbed of people with passionate opinions," said Erik Schwartz, chief executive of Foneshow, a year-old service that lets people listen to radio shows on their cellphones. And people with passionate opinions, he said, like to be well connected to other people with passionate opinions.

-- Alana Semuels

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QUOTE

'America can't stand more of the same. You need a

president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney.'

-- Barney Smith, a resident of Marion, Ind., who told the Democratic convention about losing his job to foreign competition

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