By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Home-phone vendors will hit the show floor with broadened lineups of 2.4GHz analog, digital and multihandset cordless phones as well as niche "lifestyle" phones with styling to appeal to particular demographics.
Phone suppliers here will also embrace 5.8GHz phones, despite some suppliers' uncertainty over the technology's advantages and impact on 2.4GHz pricing.
Here's what suppliers will be talking about at the show:
ATLINKS: Under the GE brand, the joint venture between Thomson and Alcatel will introduce 900MHz analog phones targeted to individual rooms in a house. The Kitchen Phone features call waiting/caller ID, a digital timer on the handset, a membrane keypad, memo pad and pen. The suggested retail is $79.
The Cordless Bedroom Phone features caller ID display in the handset with 40 name and number call memory. The base sports an AM/FM alarm clock. The suggested retail is $79.
The company will also show a 5.8GHz DSS phone, but details weren't available.
Memcorp: Two new Memorex-branded 2.4GHz analog models ship in March. The $59.99-suggested MPH2410 features caller ID, 20-number memory, 40-channel autoscan, selective erase/erase all, a 3-line LCD display, and Compander noise reduction technology.
The MPH2430 features caller ID/call waiting with an integrated digital answerer, 20-number speed dial memory, a 40-channel autoscan, three-line LCD display, and Compander.
Panasonic: The company's first 5.8GHz DSS phone, the KX-TG5100M, ships in May at a suggested $199.95. The phone is expandable up to eight handsets, features an integrated digital answering machine, full duplex speakerphone and caller ID/call waiting. Its accessory handset, the KX-TGA510M, retails for a suggested $89.95.
The company will also add to its 2700 line of 2.4GHz DSS multi-handset phones with the KX-TG2770 (suggested $179.95). It ships with a corded base and one cordless handset and features caller ID/call waiting, digital answerer, and duplex speakerphone.
In May, Panasonic will ship an accessory handset, the KX-TGA273, with AM/FM clock radio in the charger at a suggested $99.95. It will be backwards compatible with accessory handsets already available for older models in the 2700 line.
The company will also introduce the KX-TG2258S, a 2.4GHz DSS phone featuring a voice-enhancing technology, talking caller ID, base and handset speakerphone, and Panasonic's Caller IQ (a subscription call routing and downloadable content service available through partner Open LCR).
Southwestern Bell: Under its Freedom Phone brand, the company will introduce the GH3080 2.4GHz analog cordless phone with corded base. It has a base-station speakerphone, 64 caller ID memory in the handset, last-call memory in the base, and a 15-minute integrated digital answerer. The suggested retail is $79.99. It comes in white and stainless or black and stainless.
The company is also planning on announcing an analog 5.8GHz phone, but details were unavailable.
TT Systems: The company will fill out its Sunbeam-branded line of entry-level phones with a number of mostly corded entries. The one new cordless offering is the SB3225, a 2.4GHz analog phone featuring a 64-name/number speed-dial directory, programmable call blocking, and caller ID/call waiting. A back-lit LCD display shows caller ID info. It will ship in February at a suggested $69.99.
Uniden: The company will introduce its DCT5200 line of 2.4GHz DSS multihandset systems. All feature DirectLink, which lets any two handsets act as two-way radios even while away from the base station. The phones will be available in March.
All feature caller ID/call waiting, handset speakerphone, four-line LCD, 100 dynamic memory locations, and handset-to-handset call transfer. All are compatible with the DCX520 accessory handset at a suggested $89.99.
The top-line DCT5285 at a suggested $169.99 features digital answerer, caller ID/call waiting, a keypad on the base station, handset and base station speaker phone. It is expandable up to four handsets.
Another 2.4GHz model at a suggested $149.99 is also expandable up to four handsets and offers the same features as the 5285 minus the base-station keypad.
The $119.99-suggested DCT5260 is expandable up to eight handsets.
U.S. Electronics: Under its BellSouth brand, U.S. Electronics will be among the first to announce a 5.8GHz analog cordless phone, the GH5830BK. It features integrated digital answerer, 50-channel autoscan, 40-name/number directory, and paging from base to handset. It is shipping in June in either black and white.
The company will also introduce a 2.4GHz DSS multihandset system with caller ID/call waiting. The GH9762SLEX is expandable up to nine handsets from one base station. Features include 77 auto-hopping channels, 40-name/number directory and intercom between handsets, and integrated digital answerer.
Under the new XAct brand, the company will introduce the multi-handset 5.8GHz DSS EXO5901, shipping with two handsets in the box. The system can support up to seven handsets and features caller ID/call waiting, digital answerer, a 40 name/number caller ID memory and intercom between handsets. It ships in June. Pricing was unavailable.
The XO2400, also under the XAct brand, is a 2.4GHz analog cordless with digital answerer and caller ID/call waiting. The phone features a 50 channel autoscan, 80 name/number caller ID memory, a three-line back-lit LCD display, 4 individual voice mailboxes and 15 minutes of recording time. The phone ships in June. Pricing was unavailable.
VTech: Under its own brand, the company will introduce the VT 2568, a 2.4MHz analog phone that incorporates TeleZapper technology to eliminate telemarketing calls. Every time the consumer lets the answering system take a call, the TeleZapper feature emits a special tone that fools the telemarketer's computer dialing system into thinking the number is disconnected. Within seconds of recognizing the tones, the telemarketing computer drops the call and stores the number as disconnected in its database.
The VT 2568 features call waiting/caller ID, a 99 name/number caller ID memory and a 50 name/number phonebook directory. The phone has programmable ringer types and an integrated digital answering system with three mailboxes. It will be shipping in February at a suggested $69.95.
VTech will also introduce a step-down TeleZapper model, the VT2528, without digital answerer. It ships in February at a suggested $59.95.
Aiming at the youth market, the company will announce the 900MHz analog VT 2628 Teen Phone with a distinctive style and six "teen inspired" ring tone melodies. The phone features call waiting/caller ID LCD screen and a changeable faceplate. It ships in May at a suggested $49.95.
Under its AT&T brand, VTech will introduce an expandable 2.4GHz DSS system. The 2355 will feature a dial-in-base speakerphone and is expandable up to four handsets. It ships in August at a suggested $129.99.
The company will also introduce the step-down 2320, similarly featured minus the dial-in-base speakerphone. It ships this month at a suggested $89.99.
AT&T will also feature a lineup of 2.4GHz analog phones. The 1460 features a 50-name/number directory, selectable ring tones, digital answerer, and caller ID/call waiting. It ships in April at a suggested $69.99.
Wave Industries: Under the Olympia brand, the company will introduce the CDP-24201, a two-line 2.4GHz DSS Bluetooth Cordless Data Phone (CDP) for home users. It will be available in February at a suggested $199.95 The company claims it's the first multihandset cordless phone to offer simultaneous voice and data access by letting Bluetooth-equipped mobile devices access the Internet through the unit's second-line built-in 56K modem.
The system is expandable up to seven handsets, with each accessory handset at a suggested $79.95.
Each handset comes with an USB port to connect with a PC to download Microsoft Outlook contact information into the handset, via bundled software.
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