By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Cordless phone vendors, cognizant of the success of cellular phones, have come to CES with a number of home phones that look, feel, and act like cutting-edge mobile phones, minus only the monthly subscription fee.
Large color LCDs with icon-based menus, photo caller ID, downloadable ringers, and cellular designs will be sprinkled liberally throughout the higher end of many vendors' 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz digital lines. Here's a look at what's in store at CES:
Audiovox: The T5815 5.8GHz digital spread spectrum (DSS) system, expandable to four handsets, bundles an extra handset in the box and features an integrated telephone answering device (ITAD), handset speakerphone, caller ID, and ten melody ringtones at a suggested $119.95.
Conair: Four new 5.8 GHz analog introductions under the Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone brand join the company's existing lineup of 5.8GHz digital product. All the models feature three-line backlit display, and the ITADs offer 15 minutes of recording time.
The GH5810 ships in February for a suggested $39.99 and features call waiting/caller ID. It will also be available in a two-handset bundle, the GH5822, in April for a suggested $69.99. The 5822 transfers calls between handsets.
The GH5825, due in April, offers call waiting/caller ID and ITAD for a suggested $59.99. At the top of the line, the $99.99-suggested GH5880 ships in July and offers a corded base station with battery back-up and ITAD.
Thomson: The company will introduce two GE-branded 5.8GHz analog models. The 25840GE3 ships with two handsets and features caller ID/call waiting, a visual ringer, and melody ring tones. The 25860GE3 builds off the 25840 with a digital answering system. It also packages two handsets in the box. Pricing was not available.
Uniden: A flip-out cordless handset resembles a flip-out cellular phone. The 5.8GHz digital ELT560 (at a suggested $149.99) is expandable to ten handsets and features a full-color LCD display, five recordable ringers, handset speakerphone, three-way conferencing, handset-to-handset call transfer, and USB cable for loading digital photos into the handset for photo caller ID (up to 30 unique photos).
A step-up ELT595 builds on the 590 by adding Bluetooth capability for using a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone to make or receive cellular calls using the cordless handset. The cellphone is placed alongside the base unit without a docking station, enabling the cell-to-landline conversion. The ELT595 also works with Bluetooth headsets for hands-free calling. Other 595 features include ITAD and four-way conferencing for a suggested $249.99.
The company will also introduce two new accessory 2.4GHz digital handsets that will be backward compatible with existing expandable systems. The DCX700 at $59.99 works with the company's new DCT7-series phones and will be backwards compatible with the DCT6 and DMX series phones. The DCX770, also $59.99, works with the current DMX7-series and is backward compatible with the existing DCT6 and DCT7 product lines.
VTech: All new models ship in May. Under its own brand, the company will offer two 5.8GHz digital multihandset systems with photo caller ID capability. The i5858, for a suggested $179.95, is expandable to six handsets and features caller ID, a 65K pixel color LCD with animated graphical icons, recordable ring tones, handset speakerphone, and ability to download contact information from Microsoft Outlook via USB connection.
A step-up i5871 adds an ITAD for $199.95. Both work with the i5808 accessory handset ($99.95).
Under its AT&T brand, the company will introduce an all-digital product lineup in 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. The E2715 is a 2.4GHz digital two-handset bundle featuring caller ID and handset speakerphone for a suggested $59.95. The step-up E2725 adds an ITAD for a suggested $79.95.
The E2520 2.4GHz multihandset system is expandable to eight handsets and features caller ID, dial-in base, handset speakerphone, and a graphical LCD in the handset for a suggested $79.95.
In digital 5.8GHz, the company will offer six new products. The E5600 is expandable to four handsets and features caller ID and handset speakerphone for a suggested $79.95. The step-up E5630 adds an ITAD for $99.95. The E560-1 expansion handset will retail for $49.95.
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