Multiuser Cordless, HomePNA, Low-Price 2.4GHz Due At CES

By Greg Scoblete On Dec 18 2000 - 8:00am




After you've finished ringing in the new year, you'll get a chance to take a look at what will be ringing in your ear at the 2001 CES.

Corded and cordless phones from a variety of traditional and nontraditional players will be on display with new styles and features. Manufacturers such as Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens, Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone and Toshiba will highlight new cordless products operating in the 2.4GHz range. These same companies will also show phones across the 900MHz digital and analog models, which have proved to be the most popular cordless category with consumers.

Show highlights will include:

  1. Thomson's entry into the 2.4GHz and multiuser cordless markets. One new 2.4GHz phone is expected to retail for only $49.

  2. A new multiuser cordless model from Panasonic.

  3. Voice-over-IP and low-cost, long-distance-routing phones.

  4. And 2Wire's HomePNA-equipped Phone Port. Combined with a residential gateway, it adds advanced telephony features, such as multiple voice lines, without running additional wires.

Here are some of the details:

Thomson, which will be showing off-site at Mandalay Bay, will introduce its first line of 2.4GHz analog phones, with models ranging from the entry level to more advanced phones with integrated caller ID and answering machines.

The line will include the 2-7930 with caller ID and a suggested $59-$69 retail; the 2-7990 with answering machine; and the 2-7993 with both caller ID and integrated answering machine.

"We still want to support the 900MHz models," said Thomson product manager Eldon Chuck. "They have had a great consumer track record. But we want to show consumers the next logical step in cordless phone technology at a reasonable price."

Thomson's entry-level 2.4GHz analog phone, the 2-7920, is expected to retail at $49 and be available early next year. The full line of 2.4GHz analog phones will be available in summer 2001.

Thomson will show a mock-up of its first 2.4GHz digital spread-spectrum multi-handset, multi-line phones, which won't hit the streets until the end of 2001. It will also make an announcement about a voice-over-IP product in conjunction with a yet-to-be-named partner.

For its part, Uniden will likely make a product announcement as part of its planned alliance with ZeroPlus.com to produce voice-over-IP phones in analog and digital cordless models. Uniden will also be showing new cordless 900MHz analog and digital spread-spectrum phones.

Toshiba will also update its current 900MHz analog and digital spread-spectrum models, as well as show a new 2.4GHz digital spread-spectrum model.

Panasonic will be showing a new version of its multiuser cordless systems.

EnGenius will display its newest high-power multi-handset model, the SN-920 Ultra. This second-generation model, already available, is lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, can reach a mile from the base unit, and doubles as a two-way radio.

From Casio Communications, dealers will find low-cost, long-distance-routing phones available since October through a partnership with openLCR.com. These cordless phones automatically route the caller to a low-cost long-distance carrier to help cut long-distance bills. Models will include a 2.4GHz caller ID model.

In more advanced telecom products, 2Wire plans to show its Phone Port, intended for use with a residential gateway incorporating HomePNA phone-line networking technology.

Phone Port is a plain old telephone service (POTS) to phone-line networking (HomePNA 2.0) telephony adapter that adds advanced features such as multiple voice services and PBX capabilities without running additional wires. Each Phone Port plugs into an AC outlet for power and allows a connected phone to operate as a digital phone system or other networked device with PBX capability.

2Wire will also unveil the related Integrated Communications System (ICS), dubbed the world's first complete broadband solution for delivering voice and data services to and throughout the home. ICS includes the HomePortal 2000 residential gateway, which combines an ADSL modem with HomePNA technology, and the 2Wire Phone Port, which connects analog phones to the home network.

A complete ICS system allows for voice telephony over DSL, voice-over-IP calling, and simultaneous broadband Internet access. Pricing wasn't available.

Another hybrid data/voice device is Fanstel's Cordless ModemPhone, an integrated cordless-phone/dial-up modem that lets users access the Internet from a room that lacks a phone jack. The cordless handset plugs into the PC, and the cordless base station plus into a phone jack in another room. Range is up to 300 feet, and the device operates up to 10 hours on rechargeable batteries. Pricing was unavailable.

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