Panasonic KX-THA16 Cordless Bluetooth video phone

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Panasonic KX-THA16 Cordless Bluetooth video phone

I was perusing the FCC site looking at some old FCC applications when I came across one from Panasonic for a videophone product called the Panasonic KX-THA16 Home Communication System (2.4 GHz Expandable Cordless Unit) that was registered with the FCC back in August 2005. Curious, I dug deeper and found the manual with a listing of the features for this cordless videophone.

First, I should mention that you can expand the system by adding handsets (monochrome display handsets and color display handset), wireless camera unit, USB wireless adaptor, and repeater. Using these accessories, you can have a video call, video monitor a room where the color display handset or wireless camera is located and take pictures. Up to 8 handsets (KX-THA11/KX-THA12/KX-THA16) and up to 10 other Bluetooth featured units (KX-THA13/KX-THA14) and a maximum of 5 cellular phones can be registered to a single base unit.

The KX-THA16 features a 3.6" color LCD screen, built-in camera, Bluetooth support, and a USB port. It also features the ability to to connect it to your PC and send pictures and songs from your PC to the handset, as well as create and edit phonebook entries using your PC. It also features a headset jack and Talking CallerID.

Here's my problem with this product. Other than the support for 2.4Ghz cordless connectivity and support for Bluetooth, this solution is completely proprietary. The video and picture capabilities only work on this platform. Why would I purchase some an expensive "cordless phone" platform and only be able to have a videocall to other Panasonic handsets in my house? Unless I live in some mansion where my wife is thousands of feet away, why would I ever need to have a videocall with someone that is in the house? It just seems overkill to me, even being the uber-gizmo lover that I am.

And to top it off, this product doesn't even support VoIP. I wonder if that is why I am still not seeing this product come to market. Don't believe me? Check Google for KX-THA16. No results listed. Maybe Panasonic decided to kill this product? Good idea. Add VoIP and ability to make IP videocalls and we'll talk. Maybe then I'll even ask you to send me an eval unit.

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