The cloud-based cellphone: Zact
Cost: Fully customizable plans start at $16.33 a month, plus the cost of the phone.
Only the investor gods know for sure if injecting the "everyman's a middleman" model of the Internet into cellphones will be make hay or hokum. But there's no denying the cool factor of Zact. The Redwood City, Calif., service essentially resells Sprint's 4G/LTE and 3G network as an easily customizable Web-based app allowing for user-specific custom blending of features such as voice minutes, text messages, data access and Web usage.
Families struggling with the kids blowing through SMS allowances -- and going to sites they shouldn't -- will line up. At least in my early demo, Zact offers exciting capabilities for managing exactly what sites can be accessed and for how long. Zact-supported phones are also not bad. (They include the Samsung Galaxy III.) But keep in mind that only new subscribers are supported; you need a Zact device; and those with feeble access to Sprint's network will be out of luck. But considering that Zact counts Andreessen Horowitz, Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone Group (VOD) as backers, is anybody really arguing Zact won't move the investor hype needle?