By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS — VTech and Thomson will introduce new cordless phones at International CES that can connect to the Internet to access localized content and transfer that content to individual handsets throughout the house.
VTech announced a dual-mode landline/VoIP cordless for Yahoo! Messenger capable of sending e-mails and instant messages via the handset and a landline phone that can use Wi-Fi to download Internet content to its handset.
The DECT-based ip8300 infoPhone updates an existing cordless phone for use with Yahoo! Messenger and offers PSTN and Yahoo! Messenger peer-to-peer VoIP calling. The phone can connect to broadband modems via an Ethernet port, allowing consumers to access Yahoo! services with a PC turned off.
The phone's handsets can send e-mails and instant messages via Yahoo!. They also support content delivery, including local news, sports and weather reports and access to a user's Yahoo! address book. The system is expandable to up to five handsets (the ip831/$49.95)
In addition to its VoIP functionality, the ip8300 offers caller ID, handset speakerphone, and distinctive ringtones to distinguish landline and VoIP calls. It will ship in March and retail for $129.
The Wi-Fi-enabled wf6972 connects to a phone jack and uses wireless networking to access Internet content. Thanks to a partnership with software developer Casabi, VTech will offer an online portal for use with the phone. Using the portal, consumers can choose what information they want to access on the handset as well as download ringtones and wallpaper for the unit's color screen.
The $179 model will ship in April and is expandable up to 16 handsets (the wf6909 for $79.95). The handsets use Wi-Fi to communicate with the base station for traditional landline calls.
The handsets can share phone book directories and offer speakerphones, color LCDs, caller ID/call waiting, photo caller ID, and intercom. Calls can be transferred or made into a conference call between up to four handsets at a time. The base features a digital answering system.
Thomson will offer the GE-branded Info Link DECT cordless that plugs into a broadband modem and a home phone for sending local content to the phone's color LCD screens. The model is not a VoIP phone — it can only send and receive calls over landlines — but it uses the Internet to access content channels, such as news, weather, traffic, sports and stock tickers.
This content is available for free once users enters their ZIP codes into the phone. The unit will ship with six preloaded channels and can store up to 20 different content streams.
In additional to Internet content delivery, the phone offers caller ID/call waiting, handset speakerphone, melody ringtones and illuminated buttons. It is expandable up to six handsets.
The Info Link phone will ship in the second quarter for less than $200, the company said.
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