Verizon Wireless is now selling a $5.75-a-month SAT-tutoring service that automatically e-mails questions to cell phones. The subscriber chooses when he or she wants to receive questions, then the service sends flash card type exercises, queries from previous Scholastic Assessment Test exams and other material.
A devilish feature lets a parent check up on how well a teenager is doing with the service, said Carl Washburn, chief executive of Vocel, the San Diego-based wireless software maker that's supplying the application for Verizon Wireless to sell.
Premium games, ring tones and other cell phone software has developed into a billion-dollar-a-year business in the United States, and it's helping carriers adjust to the steadily declining price of phone calls.
Tutoring represents a new generation of more sophisticated applications, and a patent is pending on some of the technology in use, according to Vocel. Other next-generation cell services include downloadable videos and TV.
VOCEL uses QUALCOMM's BREW solution to incorporate its cutting edge SMS "push" technology into this innovative application. The unique part of this technology is that students can choose their test prep schedule. "My 15 year old son is not yet disciplined enough to study for the SAT on his own," said Carl Washburn, CEO of VOCEL. "This technology is a godsend-SAT practice questions are automatically being sent to his phone throughout the day. The
practice questions are impossible to ignore. Now he is answering SAT practice questions each day without my having to nag him to study," said Carl Washburn, CEO of VOCEL.