By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Motorola and Samsung want to erase the difference between home landline and cellular calls.
Both companies are enabling hybrid VoIP-enabled Wi-Fi/cellular phones to hand off calls between home Wi-Fi networks and cellular networks.
Samsung's second Wi-Fi/cellular phone will be its first to support the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) standard for roaming from cellular to Wi-Fi networks with seamless handoffs for voice and data. It's the t709, an 850/1,800/1,900MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE slider due in the first quarter. It weighs only 3.3 ounces despite built-in Wi-Fi and measures 3.7 inches by 1.7 inches by 0.88 inches. Features include 262K LCD screen; 1.3-megapixel camera; MP3 player; and IM client for AOL, ICQ and Yahoo.
Samsung already offers the i730 CDMA 1x EV-DO/Wi-Fi phone, which uses Wi-Fi only for data and lacks data-handoff capability.
For its part, Motorola will show what it believes are the industry's first two home gateways that enable UMA-standard hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular phones, such as its VoIP-ready A910 Wi-Fi/GSM phone, to place VoIP calls within the home and seamlessly hand off the call to the cellular network when roaming outside the home. It's intended to let consumers use one phone with one number for their home and mobile calls and effectively eliminate cellular dead spots in the home, Motorola said.
For the handoffs to occur, residential VoIP service providers and cellular carriers must agree to offer the service and agree on billing rules, Motorola said. Homes must also install gateways like Motorola's new models, which incorporate some of the intelligence needed to hand-off calls.
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