By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Uniden will introduce an expandable 5.8GHz digital cordless phone with a built-in VoIP adapter to target the growing market for broadband telephony at CES in January.
The phone is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2005, said Al Silverberg, president, Uniden.
The company's re-entry into consumer-based IP telephony comes courtesy of a partnership with IP and DSL chip maker Centillium Communications based in Fremont, Calif. According to the terms of the agreement, Centillium will provide VoIP chipsets to be incorporated in Uniden's phone, eliminating the need for an external VoIP adapter.
The cordless base station would plug directly into a broadband modem (cable or DSL) and deliver VoIP calling to all the accessory handsets.
“Think of the advantages. You'll have 10 handsets with VoIP calling,” Silverberg said.
The phone will be paired with a VoIP service provider to provide access to Internet calling when it ships to dealers, but the provider has yet to be chosen, Silverberg said. “We're in negotiations,” he said.
Uniden was an early backer of VoIP, Silverberg said, teaming with now-defunct provider ZeroPlus to offer a phone with dial-in access to Internet calling. The partnership ended before product hit store shelves when ZeroPlus filed for bankruptcy. Uniden currently sells enterprise-level VoIP phones.
“We think VoIP is an important technology with the potential to take a reasonable share” of the residential telecom market but not ultimately replace it, Silverberg said. “It's just too entrenched.”
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