Phone Home, Home Phone

Contrary to prognostications, the wired telephone is not dead. One of my kids does not have a physical phone line and relies only on the cell, but the others are still wired. And so am I. If the cell phone’s dead and the cable is out, I want the security of that landline in case I ever have to make that 911 call I hope I never have to make.

And many persons live in areas or circumstances in which relying solely on a cell is just not possible–signals are too weak and spotty, the geography is hostile, the home security system works best with a land line (I know you can get systems that work via the internet or cell technology, but, even so . . .).

The New York Times reports that extra bells-and-whistles developed first for cell phones are starting to find their way into the wired phone market. Read the full story here.

An excerpt’s below the fold.

Here’s part of their description of the “Hub” phone, which seems to be one of the most elaborate.

Setup is easy. The Hub gets to the Internet by hopping effortlessly onto your home Wi-Fi network; it can also accept an Ethernet cable. Once it’s online, it does a hundred things a regular home phone can’t do — and almost every one of them needs some refinement.

For example, this home phone can, for the first time, also send text and picture messages to . Right from the kitchen counter, you can text your kids in real time. Required refinement: You can exchange these messages only with Verizon . The company says it’s working on the technical barriers to other carriers’ phones.

Speaking of kitchens, that $35 a month also includes unlimited TV, courtesy of Verizon’s Vcast service. The shows — a lot of cable shows, for example — look and sound fine on the 7-inch touch screen. Required refinement: There’s pause, but no rewind or fast-forward. That’s tough if you’re following along with a cooking show.

Dozens of Internet radio stations are built in, too; they’re simple to use and a pleasure to have.

The home screen offers widgets — small, drag-able windows — that display real-time information like weather, movie listings and calls missed/voice mail messages waiting. One of the most intriguing is Traffic, which plays mini-movies that describe the current jams in about 40 big cities.

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