February 19, 2016
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Remember telephone booths? Me neither. I am, however, aware of Doctor Who and have seen a couple of Superman movies so I think I have the basic concept down. These once-ubiquitous public communication installations fell by the wayside in the recent decades of cell phone dominance, but last year, New York City found a clever way to repurpose these lingering relics of a bygone age by installing free gigabit wifi hotspots. Now they’re making them even more useful by fitting them with Android tablets.

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The initiative is being pushed forward by LinkNYC in an effort to make sure anybody can check their email, find directions, or even place wifi calls regardless of whether or not they own a smartphone of their own. The custom-designed Android tablets are extremely durable and housed in a formidable casing made to resist drunken abuse and fickle weather conditions. Eventually, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to have these public tablets function as bulletin boards that display locally relevant information such as lost pets or events.

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These kiosks come fitted with headphone jacks and USB charge ports, so you can get a brief re-juicing on your personal device if you’re out and about. Right now only a dozen or so of these kiosks are live, but the plan is to roll out another 500 by July. Eventually, the city wants to have fully 7,500 of these babies in operation.

What do you think of LinkNYC’s public Android tablet project? A worthwhile endeavor, or just asking for mischief? Would you use one of these public tablets to check your email or other personal data? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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