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Cell phones should have a button which connects the caller but does not turn on the speaker & mike. The caller will either hear a distinctive half-ring or a recorded voice saying "I can't talk on the phone right now, please hold...". Then, after the cell phone owner (pulls over / excuses themselves from
meeting / flushes toilet / finds quiet corner), they answer the phone and talk. But meanwhile, the caller knows that the callee has actually heard the phone ring and physically acknowledged the call.
The caller should be given an option to be transferred to voice mail instead of waiting, of course.
This button may be handy on land-lines as well. Perhaps a voice-recognition system would be useful there.
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||On my (GSM) mobile I just press the red 'hangup' button while it is ringing and the call is sent to my voicemail.
||goodie: yes, but what if you actually want to talk to the caller, but can't do so right then? Calling back isn't always an option --- I get calls from people just before they leave someplace, or from phones that don't accept incoming calls...
||I like it too - especially cordless land-line when you're waiting for a call but also must have a shower. Could be voice-activated like the reverse of cell-phone car kits - you could literally yell out "hang on a minute" and the ringing would stop.
||Also, could we apply it in face-to-face conversations? Eg someone is babbling on and on and on and you really want to hear the news headlines on the radio. Press the special "hang on a minute" button to mute their chatter for a minute.
||My mobile phone (marketed by Sprint PCS in the US as
"Sprint Touchpoint 2200", but made by Denso Labs) has
just such a
feature. When the phone rings a menu is presented: the
first option is to answer the call (activated by pressing OK
or (optionally) any other key. The second option is to
silence the ringer, which I use while I'm reading the Caller
ID info, and the third is "Answer & Hold" which sends out
a recorded voice saying something like "your call will be
answered in a moment."
||I've never used it, actually. If I'm busy I just silence the
ringer and call them back when I'm free. A friend of mine
who has the same phone uses this feature all the time,
though. He and I have different cell phone etiquette.