New Phones Combine Cordless And Cellular (And Sometimes WiFi)

from the hybrids-galore dept

More than five years ago, I remember a presentation I went to from the (then) head of AT&T Wireless talking about how the next revolution in mobile phones was going to be a phone that knew the best network to make a call on. If you were at home, it would connect to your local landline. If you were out, it would work over a cellular network. If you were at the office, it would connect into your office PBX. While AT&T tried to offer such a system (in a simplified manner) soon after that, it didn’t get very far. Now, however, phone makers are back. They’re trying all different combinations of hybrid phones to work on various networks. They’re hoping that people want a simplified solution (and a single bill). Verizon is going to launch a phone that is a cordless phone (over your landline) at home, and a mobile phone (over cellular networks) outside your home. Ericsson is going to launch a WiFi phone that will let you make voice-over-internet calls from home, and use the cellular network elsewhere. Meanwhile, Sprint PCS’s strategy goes a little bit in the other direction. Their plan is to just let your home phones run over your mobile phone network. Analysts seem skeptical on all of these plans. It adds a layer of confusion – especially when multiple people in a single household have mobile phones. It also is likely to make phones bulkier and will shorten their battery life – things that most consumers can’t stand. That said, eventually, I do believe this is where we’re going to go. I’m sure the first generation of these hybrid phones will have problems, but eventually you’ll just have a single phone that will constantly be on the hunt for the best way to connect you – without the caller needing to know what system they’re using at all.

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