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Remains to be seen if they take off against denizens' own phones/portable devices, or if they end up being used as tourist information kiosks.

In New York city, a company called City24x7 is giving mostly-unused phone booths an upgrade: Gone is the phone; in its place is a 32-inch iPad-like touch screen that lets users see real-time news happening around them, local events, transportation information, reviews of nearby bars and restaurants, promotions from local merchants, warnings of local environmental hazards, and more. Users can also quickly leverage the phone booth, which doubles as a free Wi-Fi hotspot, to notify the authorities of an emergency.

City24x7 just finished a two-year pilot of the screens in NYC; it plans on rolling out 250 SmartScreens over the coming months.

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Tags: local

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