Home phone manufacturers have had a tough run of things over the last few years as more and more customers rely solely on their cell phones. It wasn’t long ago that you would see rows of handsets at the big box electronics stores, today you are more likely to see perhaps a dozen options spread across a single shelf.
A couple manufacturers appearing at CeBIT this week are hoping to change their fortune by taking a page from the cell phone playbook and turning to Android.
The two devices pictured above are from Binatone (left) and DSP (right). While Binatone is referring to the device as the iHome Phone (Are you kidding me?), they are a Motorola Official Licensee so this will probably turn into the Motorola HS1001, which we peeped at Pepcom a couple months back, once it hits market in Q3 2010. The release date slipped a quarter since we last saw it, but the looks have taken a decided turn for the better.
The DSP device is a reference design, so there is no release date or pricing information, but the specs are certainly plausible so we could still see someone adopt the design this year. It also seems to be a little more ambitious with built-in VoIP software and the suggestion that it can do duty as a remote control as well.
Both devices are running an underwhelming 240 Mhz processor and at least the Binatone/Motorola is using a resistive touchscreen. If these devices are going to take off they are definitely going to have to step the specs up to at least match the current Android cell phones.
Convergence is probably going to be critical for the long term survival of the home “phone.” These devices are using 2.8 and 3.5 inch screens respectively and I think this is a mistake. If they were to drop a more powerful processor in and go with a Dell Mini 5 type form factor I think that could be a real winner. A lot of people have said that a 5 inch screen is just too big to carry around day to day, but for a more home bound device that might be just right.
Do you think a web tablet, home phone, and remote control mash-up is something you would be interested in or are you more comfortable just letting your cell phone take over all of these roles?