The smartphone industry must be loving Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina who told a town hall crowd in South Carolina that they have to upgrade to a smart phone by January, 2017 (see ABC News video).

Fiorina said that, if elected president, she would:

Go into the oval office once a week. I will ask you to take out your smartphones, no flip phones allowed, they won’t do that. And I’m going to ask you to talk out your smartphone and I’m going to say, for example, fellow citizens, do you think it’s important that we know where every dollar of your money is being spent. Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no.”

Can be done with web and feature phones

Although that particular question is probably not all that useful (who doesn’t want transparency as to how our taxes money is spent?), the idea of the President using technology to poll citizens is an interesting one if, for nothing else, than to shore up his or her agenda.  But, as the former CEO of HP should know, there are ways to do this without using smartphones.  It could be done via the web (some flip phones have web browsers) and it could be done via SMS or text messaging, just as American Idol has long encouraged people with any type of mobile phones to text in their vote for the week’s Idol winner.  It would also be possible for Fiorina to commission apps for flip and other “feature” (not smart) phones that could be used to poll citizens. Yes, many feature phones can run apps designed specifically for that type of phone.

Already happening

In her talk, she goes on to urge her supporters to use the technology to press politicians to do the right thing, but that’s already happening via social media which millions of people have been using for years to call for reforms and urge politicians to either or pass on legislation. President Obama even went so far as to create an online petition system where people can press the White House to take positions on issues. The White House said that it has already responded to more than 255 petitions that have collectively gathered more than 11 million signatures.

Here’s the ABC News story about Fiorina’s town hall talk.