It was reported that New York City would be replacing 7,500 public pay phones with modern kiosks to create a new communications network. The project is called LinkNYC and it would provide free services such as high-speed Wi-Fi, phone calls, charging ports for mobile devices among other services. The kiosks were also said to include tablets so users could check their email, browse the internet or get directions from maps. Now, these android tablets have been spotted in more than a dozen kiosks along Third Avenue between 15th and 42nd streets, but the tablets will be installed in the rest of the 7,500 kiosks going forward.
Since some users could become concerned about privacy, there’s a headphone jack to make calls and cookies and other sensitive data is said to be deleted after one minute of inactivity. These are not regular tablets either, but tablets built by Intersection, the company behind CityBridge who operate and fund LinkNYC. The tablets were tested to withstand almost any kind of weather and were tested to resist temperatures from -4°F to 104°F. In addition, the tablets and kiosks are resistant to accidents such as crashes from cars. Besides the typical usage of a tablet, these can also be used by citizens for participatory budgeting or learn about local issues or events. The tablets are also expected to receive timely updates to include more apps and services such as video calling.
All of LinkNYC’s services are free to use, they are funded by advertisements displayed on the 55-inch screens integrated into the kiosks. This way, the tablets can be used for as long as you want and they won’t show any advertisements. Once users sign into any of the kiosks, they can use the rest of them without having to sign-in again. The Wi-Fi connectivity of these kiosks is said to reach up to 150 feet, but some devices can be connected up to a distance of 400 feet. Yet, interference is an issue that could affect this signal. 500 kiosks are expected to be installed by mid-July and it has been reported that the call quality and the rest of the services is generally quite good.