By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
GERMANTOWN, MD. -Uniden and ZeroPlus.com have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to jointly develop services that will deliver Internet long-distance, voice portal and unified messaging services on select Uniden phones at the touch of a button.
The phones, expected to be available in early 2001, will be analog and digital cordless models. At the press of a preprogrammed button, they will make inexpensive long-distance calls through the ZeroPlus Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) managed network.
Purchasers will receive a free trial of ZeroPlus long-distance services with the option to purchase long-distance and enhanced services on a monthly basis.
The companies said they plan an active campaign to market the services to phone purchasers through Uniden's retail distribution channels.
"The cost-benefits of VoIP have always been compelling, but now it's becoming even more accessible," said IDC group VP Mark Winther, a VoIP industry analyst. "Consumers will be able to pick up an ordinary phone, push a button and instantly make inexpensive calls over the Internet. Add in a managed IP backbone and voice portal services, and the mix can really start to shift the balance of power in long-distance calling."
The voice portal capability includes customized news updates, stock quotes and other personal information. Although ZeroPlus declined to describe the service in detail, it presumably allows users to issue voice commands to retrieve information that would be read back in a recorded or synthesized voice.
ZeroPlus will also deliver a unified messaging of voice mail, fax and access to e-mail messages by phone.
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