Though the word Media Phone would not appeared on most people’s radar screen, it is soon going to be the fourth screen at your home as per In-Depth Analysis by In-Stat. The media phone entry in the business market is far behind, but the present service providers around the world will roll out media phones in consumer markets in early 2009.
What are Media Phones?
The media phone represents a new category of broadband multimedia device that has the potential to become the 4th screen in the home, complementing the PC, TV, and mobile handset. It combines the power of an Internet-connected PC with the functionality of a home telephone. The media phone has a large (6-10 inch) color touch screen display which high quality speaker. It provides direct always-on access to Internet-based media content (e.g., YouTube videos and movie trailers), information services (e.g., news updates, weather forecasts, stock quotes, and directory searches), along with access to innovative new communication services (e.g., integrated fixed/mobile calling features, visual voice mail, and unified messaging). In short, the media phone combines the power of a PC with the always-on functionality of the home telephone.
Three companies that design media phone:
Currently, there are three commercial media phone designed by Samsung, OpenPeak and LG-Nortel. All three companies have initially designed media phones with co-operation with service providers.
AT&Tin introduced the AT&T HomeManager in September 2008 and is being marketed in association with AT&T U-verse service bundles. The HomeManager is a new media phone, designed by Samsung to AT&T specifications. Initially, the device is available in nine US metro area markets. The unit is priced at $299 and requires a two-year AT&T high-speed Internet term contract, or sign-up for U-verse high-speed Internet and voice services. The AT&T HomeManager combines a cordless DECT 6.0 handset with a 7″ (800×480 pixels) portable touchscreen frame. The basestation supports up to 4 cordless handsets and 2 frames. The frame connects to the basestation using DECT for voice calls, and via a private Wi-Fi connection for viewing broadband content. The HomeManager is also compatible with U-verse VoIP services.
Some of the nice features of AT&T HomeManager are:
- Fully portable seven-inch color touch screen — use the provided “pen” stylus or your finger to navigate
- Cordless handset with crisp two-inch color screen and speakerphone
- Call log to view missed, dialed and received calls — just touch the number to place a call, and easily save names and numbers to your address book.
- Your choice of either standard or visual voicemail. Visual voicemail conveniently displays a list of your voice messages so you can touch them and listen in the order you choose.
- Up to five separate address books for storing and synching all your contact information with your wireless phone from AT&T. Assign a photograph to each entry, and the photo will appear when that person calls.
- Display your favorite photos on the touch screen — it can act as a digital picture frame!
- Easy access to Web-based information like: (1)Weather (2)News (3)Movies (4)Sports scores (5)Yellow Pages (6)Email (7)Recipes (8)Lottery numbers
Verizon started selling its consumer media phone on February 1, 2009. Branded the Verizon Hub, it is an IP media phone, designed by Verizon and manufactured by OpenPeak. Other yet to be announced telecom operators will be launching the IP media phone supplied by OpenFrame in early 2009 product launch. Verizon has announced that the Hub will be sold through all Verizon retail outlets and is priced at $199 with a 2-year VoIP service contract. This pricing includes a $50 rebate on the device. Verizon’s virtual VoIP service can be used in conjunction with a broadband connection from any service provider and is priced at $35 per month.
Here are some of the cool features of OpenFrame:High resolution touch screen interface
- Large variety of powerful applications
- Fun and easy intuitive interface offers an engaging, interactive experience
- VoIP phone allows you to make calls from the touchscreen or handset
- Rich media content includes photos, music and full-motion video
- Fast application development and simple deployment process
- Web-based device management enables centralized monitoring and administration
- OpenFrame applications like: (1) News (2)Stocks (3)Horoscopes (4)Weather (5)Movie Show times (5) Directory Services (6) Recipes (7) TV Programs (8) Alarm
LG-Nortel, a joint venture partnership between Korean LG Electronics and Nortel, established in 2005, is a global supplier of business/consumer telephones and handsets. In October 2008, LG-Nortel introduced the IP3870 IMS phone. The term IMS refers to IP Multimedia Subsystem, a 3GPP industry standard for next-generation network call control, predominantly based on the session initiation protocol (SIP).The IP3870 is a broadband media phone designed to support multimedia services. The device provides dedicated access to Internet applications, such as video clips and movies, news and weather information services, home banking services, and digital music. Compatibility with IMS enables a host of next-generation communication services that can include video calls, interactive video sessions, presence, user profile-based call management, and SIP-based VoIP calling.
Its features include:
- 2 LAN [10/100 BASE T] & WiFi network interface
- Stereo speaker with Wide band codec
- 4.3 inch Wide TFT color LCD (256K) > Navigation cluster
- Built-in camera with 25 fps video quality [QCIF]
- USB interface [v 1.1]
- SD/MMC Card up to 1 GB memory
Will the MediaPhone technology live up to their hype?
Well, In-Stat research over the past two years say that consumers demand convenience and ease-of-use Consumers love the idea of integrating fixed and mobile services, thereby eliminating multiple address books and voicemail boxes. They love it so much, that they will actually pay extra to get it! In addition, there needs to be a Supplier Push to make these technologies a success.As media phone may support integrated network and web services, Cable operators, mobile operators, and over-the-top Internet application providers are all expected to link media phones with new broadband-based services. To achieve broad adoption, some operators plan to subsidize a major portion of media phone costs.
- According to In-Stat, Nearly 31 Million Business IP Phones Will Ship in 2012, While the Consumer IP Phone Market Diverges Towards Media Phones.
- Consumer media phones will generate between $4–$8 billion in annual revenue, worldwide, by 2013.
- Business media phones will generate $3.3 billion in annual revenue, worldwide, in 2013.
- The US market will open up in 2009, with Europe coming on line in 2010.