NYFi payphone concept

Although six designs were awarded in New York City's Reinvent Payphones competition, it remained to be seen which of the six would be the people's favorite. After about a week's worth of voting on NYC's Facebook page, the people have made their choice: NYFi will serve is their favorite concept for street-side payphone overhauls. It's not hard to see why, as the proposal would theoretically solve several urban hassles at once. Each NYFi hub would dish out free WiFi, taking the load off of the cellular network. It would also use open, smartphone-like software and easily adaptable touchscreen hardware to consolidate many of the boxes that clutter the sidewalks, such as ticket machines and bike sharing stations. We'll admit that most of the concepts sound a little optimistic to us -- we wouldn't be surprised if any finished city project fell short of the ideas. Even if we don't get a WiFi hotspot on every corner, though, the reinvented payphone will likely be a welcome replacement for landline phones that have mostly collected dust in recent years.

Update: We've adjusted the post to clarify that NYfi is not, per se, the overall winner. During the initial demo event five awards were up for grabs from the city, and a sixth award, Popular Choice, was to be chosen by the public. Whether NYC ends up using one of these designs as a direct inspiration will remain to be seen. The awards are more or less a way for the city to see what the public would propose and potentially use those ideas when it comes time to request for designs within a mandated set of specifications. Check out our post about the event for more details.

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NYFi wins NYC's Reinvent Payphones 'Popular Choice' award, would serve free WiFi (update)