Portland, Ore. — A new home telephony device aims to recreate the cellular ringtone market for home phones.
Called the Ringboxx and marketed by Home Phone Tunes, the unit connects to an RJ11 jack and a home phone.
To download ringtones, it can be connected to a PC via USB. It can stay connected to a PC and a phone jack or be removed from the computer when downloading is complete. It cannot presently work with a VoIP line.
The unit ships with software that lets consumers download ringtones and save them to the Ringboxx. Tones cost between $1.00 and $3.00.
Home Phone Tunes is offering ringtones through several content partners including Universal Music Group, NASCAR Petty Enterprises Racing Team, Tupac’s Death Row Records and Hudson Entertainment, among others.
The Ringboxx can store roughly 10 tones and has an SD card slot for memory expansion. Individual ringtones can be linked to caller ID, allowing incoming calls to be differentiated by ringtones, or the device can be set to “all play” if caller ID is not available.
The device retails for a suggested $59.99 and is currently selling through Amazon. It will be distributed by some landline providers, including Qwest in select markets, and be available on college campuses through a partnership with the Collegiate Licensing Company.
The company is in negotiations with other major retailers, said Home Phone Tunes president Kirk Cameron, and expects to have products on store shelves by the first quarter of 2008. “Users really need to sample the product in person,” he said.
While ringtones are traditionally associated with young cellphone owners, parents have been the primary purchasers of the Ringboxx to date, Cameron said. “They’re buying one for their kids,” he said.
Can a $59 telephony device survive in a market known for its relentless price erosion? “We’re an entertainment device, not a commodity item,” Cameron said. “We’re not competing with telephones.”
The firm has approached home phone manufacturers about implementing the capability into a home phone, but concerns over the additional cost have inhibited interest. “With the price erosion in this market, everyone is worried about adding extra cost to the product.”
The device could be bundled with phones as well, Camera said.