By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Uniden formally announced three VoIP service provider partners whose services will work with the company's new IP-enabled UIP1868 multihandset cordless phone.
Uniden's IP phone offering will be the first retail IP hardware programmed to work across several VoIP platforms, in this case with the providers Primus, SunRocket and BroadVoice. According to CEO Al Silverberg, the company specifically eschewed exclusive partnerships in favor of as expansive an offering as possible.
In contrast, other vendors like VTech have sought higher profile, yet exclusive, VoIP partnerships with Vonage and AT&T.
“We want the consumers to have as much choice as possible. From Uniden's standpoint, it's best if IP telephony works more like a regular telephone,” Silverberg said.
All of the IP telephony hardware currently on the market — with the exception of USB phones for PC-based soft-phone applications — are programmed to place calls across only one network. If a user decides to switch service providers, they have to buy additional hardware, a scenario Uniden sought to avoid by including as many providers as possible in one product, Silverberg said.
The UIP1868 can place calls over both the PSTN and one of the three aforementioned IP networks, uses 5.8GHz digital technology and is expandable up to 10 handsets. The base unit, which features a built-in terminal adapter, plugs into a broadband modem. It will ship in “early 2005” for a suggested retail price of $199.
The phone will also be backwards compatible with several Uniden accessory handsets including the TCX800, 400 and 440 and the CLX500 flip phone.
Silverberg said the company will continually look to augment the number of IP networks its product can work on, but a number of high profile VoIP providers are pursuing an equipment strategy which keeps consumers tied to one piece of hardware instead of a universal device.
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