Home phone systems haven't kept up with the latest innovations in mobile handsets, such as Internet access, streaming video, camera, etc. Considering many people are now choosing VoIP providers such as Vonage, Packet8, Skype, etc. which already sit on the Internet, wouldn't it make sense to have more advanced home phone systems? Where is Phone 2.0 for the home?
In fact, most VoIP providers simply use an analog
telephony adapter (ATA) that lets you use your home analog cordless phone system. If you think about it, that's pretty kludgy. You're using an analog phone system on a digital IP network. Not only do you lose voice quality (wideband codec), but you also lose advanced functionality. Though I should point out that Packet8 has made strides in offering advanced phones that are not analog, such as the Packet8 Videophone
. They also offer the Packet8 Tango
, which is still analog, but adds videoconferencing, digital picture frame on the LCD, and other functionality.
That said, wouldn't you expect AT&T with their Uverse triple play
(voice, video, data) service and Verizon with their FiOS
triple play service to bundle advanced phones with their $80+/month service offerings? Well, John Sculley, former Apple CEO has visions for advanced home phone systems using OpenFrame created by OpenPeak
. The OpenFrame devices are based on Freescale MX31 processors with two 600-MHz ARM11 chips and a proof of concept phone was developed that emulates the Apple iPhone interface.
Features like view TV schedules, send SMS, streaming video, music, web surfing, and more are possible. The phones will be heavily subsidized phones and could be shipping out in four or five months direct from the carriers.
OpenFrame is based on an "open" platform, using a custom hacked Linux kernel, however all of the software above the kernel is closed and proprietary - until the hackers hack it of course. OpenPeak will offer a full API for developing third-party apps, but only carriers need apply, not end-users. I wonder if the cordless handset depicted in the pictures is WiFi or DECT 6.0?
Update: I neglected to mention Rich's blog post from yesterday (Comcast 2.0), which reiterates my call for home "Phone 2.0" devices. Go check it out.