Paperless Boarding Passes for Smartphones Hit SFO: Flash-in-the-Pan or the Future?

Continental Airlines is the first U.S. airline to introduce paperless-boarding passes at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), so passengers can employ only their cell phones and picture IDs to gain access to airport gates and flights. But Continental's been piloting various technologies for paperless passes for years. Are such systems really the future for U.S. travelers or just a novelty?