The hottest device category in wireless these days is smartphones. Devices like Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, and Palm’s soon to be released Pre have led the way by injecting web, email, and the more recent app frenzy environment into the wireless phone experience. It’s safe to say that wireless is leaps and bounds ahead of its wireline cousin in terms of innovation and ‘cool’ factor. But wireline is trying to make a comeback. It’s adding its own flavor of smartphone for the home. After all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?
Comcast is the latest entrant into the home smartphone arena. Cable Digital News is reporting that they have a home smartphone in the ‘bullpen,” for a pending nationwide launch. The new home smartphone will offer a cordless DECT phone with email, voice mail, ‘lite’ Internet access, and network address book functionality. Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick tells Cable Digital News, “It’s like a digital video upgrade, but on the voice side.” We’ve featured similar products from Verizon, AT&T, Embarq, and most recently, T-Mobile. While these companies have different motivations for their home smartphone initiatives, they’re all looking to add value to the home phone (or their version of it). Even with all the rhetoric of the demise of wireline, these companies still feel the need to enhance it. There’s something to be said for that. Honestly, it’s too early to determine whether these efforts will gain any traction. We’ll have to watch them closely over time. We hope all of these carriers will break out subscriber metrics for these services so we can truly measure their value.
What do you think? Do home smartphones make sense, or are they a last ditched effort to save a ‘dying patient?’ Share your view by using the comment tool below.