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Thomson Bows New Tech For Home Phones

Bucking the trend of a more technologically conservative approach to cordless telephony, Thomson will introduce a number of GE-branded phones at International CES with novel features.

Among Thomson’s introductions is a combination phone and digital photo frame, a Bluetooth adapter for turning any cordless phone system into a dual mode, cellular/landline handset, and an intercom/speakerphone accessory that can tie into its multi-handset DECT products.

Additionally, the firm will discontinue its 2.4GHz digital phones and phase out of 5.8GHz digital as well, crowning DECT as its digital technology of choice, Bratton said. The company will continue to support 2.4GHz analog and 5.8GHz analog telephones, he added.

The GE photo phone (model 27956EE1) merges a 7-inch digital frame with a DECT cordless phone. Caller ID information can be tied to a digital image to display during an incoming calls. The frame can store up to 20 images on internal memory and features memory card slots for storing additional images.

It ships with a single handset in the box and is expandable up to four. It ships in March for a suggested $139.

In its “premiere” DECT line, the firm will offer a Home Intercom system (model 28821ES3) bundling two handsets and a dedicated two-way wireless intercom, which can also double as a speakerphone or room monitor. The system is expandable up to eight handsets and features an alarm clock, ITAD, a call-ignore function and polyphonic ringtones. It ships in the spring for a suggested $99.99. The intercom unit (model 28108GE1/FE1) will also retail separately for $39.99.

Thomson will offer a riff on its Bluetooth Cell Fusion product with the Cell Fusion Home Gateway (model GE 21518FE1), a device that sits between a cordless base station and the phone jack to provide cellular conversion to the system’s cordless handsets. The Gateway will work with any manufacturer’s phone system and can pair with up to two Bluetooth-enabled cellphones. It will ship in April for a suggested $79.

The traditional Cell Fusion will also be update in April. The new DECT-based GE Cell Fusion (model 28129FE2) is expandable up to seven handsets and retails for a suggested $129.

In April, the company will also offer two lower cost Bluetooth Fusion models — the 28127FE1 bundles a single DECT handset for $79.9, while the FE2 packs two handsets for $99.99.

Thomson will continue its InfoLink product, introduced in 2007, which connects to the Internet and displays RSS feeds on the handset. The company is pitching the product to cable operators as well as selling it at retail, said Tom Bratton, sales and marketing VP, Thomson Consumer Network Solutions.

The high-tech push was born out of the realization that in a rapidly eroding category, “we need to give people a reason to buy phones,” Bratton said.