I’ve only found a couple of home phones that come close to what I’m looking for in a home phone. I don’t want a piece of outdated technology that’s no longer up to the job and is barely being looked at by companies, just enough to get something just the same as the model they issued five years ago, but with newer colours. Just enough to get a few people moving home to buy a new one.
Looking at the functionality I have on my mobile, on my computer, my television, my set-top box, I can’t believe the home phone has been left so far behind.
I was excited when I bought my previous home phone, and I paid over the odds for it, buying it from a company who were hiking up their prices to take advantage of people like me – people who wanted something a little more from their home phone. To be fair, that’s what they gave me, a little more.
I bought a cordless phone that had an answering machine, yes items that don’t deserve the term “technology” next to them these days, after all we’ve had mobile phones for some time now, and they come free with an answering machine provided by the company giving you the phone, as a standard option. My phone had something more though, it had Skype built in.
For a while it worked wonderfully. I have a home Skype account and tied it to the phone, and I can make and receive calls on it across the Internet. It works well, although updates to the application are few and far between, something unexpected in this day and age of mobile app updates, and the screen is embarrassing. Even when I first opened the box the screen was outdated, a small, pixelated, colour screen. At least it was colour.
Still, it worked. Yet it’s never really matched the technology that’s out there, and my mobile phone surpassed the technology provided and at a significantly cheaper cost. Oh, and it’s also worked better than the home phone did.
So what would make a good home phone? Well that’s simple. We have the model nearby right now, if not in your hands, the mobile phone. We need that in the home, even better we need that to work with the phone.
I’ve seen a couple of options out there, the Panasonic KX-PRX120AZW [http://www.panasonic.com/au/consumer/household/cordless-phones/everyday-living/kx-prx120azw.html] or the Gigaset SL930A [http://www.gigaset.com/en_HQ/shop/gigaset-sl930a.html] but both are running old Android software and are stand alone. Saying that Panasonic apparently have a companion app that allows your mobile to answer home calls, a great idea, but the app gains mixed reviews and doesn’t seem to work for everyone. Plus you’re looking at anything from £160 to £260 for these phones, crazy considering the cost of a mobile, and the software is running early Android 4 with no updates.
So what would make a good home phone? To be fair Panasonic are nearly there, and I find it hard to believe I can’t find anything that currently does this. It’s a pretty simple idea and if a company does follow these suggestions they could be in danger of cornering the market.
Actually, as I was making the list I thought there’s the possibility for two products here. The first is a single box, not a phone at all. This box connects to your phone socket and to your home WiFi. You then install an app (Android, Microsoft or iOS) on your mobile which integrates with the device. You can then make and receive calls on your mobile using your home phone connection. Better still, how about being away from home and making and receiving calls from your home number? Easy. All you would need is the box at home to connect to the app via the Internet through your home connection, and if your mobile has a WiFi connection then it’s easy.
So imagine that. You no longer have a physical home phone, sure you have a number, a socket and a provider, but no actual handset. That will just be your smartphone which you carry around anywhere, answer or make home calls anywhere, and use as your digital answering machine. Nothing about that idea is new technology and it’s all achievable.
The other, more traditional option, would be for an Android handset for your home phone, although now I’ve thought through the above option I can’t see why this is an attractive choice any more. If I did want it over the above option though, here’s what I’d want. A cordless Android handset that includes a digital answering machine. What you say, have that already? Well the difference here is that it has regular updates to the operating system, not just leaving the one installed that they made it with, and that the updates keep in line with the version Google are currently promoting, and that it has full access to Google Play.
The other key is that it operates as an Android phone just with no mobile connection, it only works to your home phone for voice and over your home internet connection for data, including apps like Skype.
I like option two, but the first option is ideal. Why has no one made that yet? Companies and media are bleating about “Internet of Things” and this is another example of how it’s nothing more than a nice phrase to either sell articles or closed products on the back of an ideal.
Come on companies, get a move on.