updated 03:40 pm EDT, Fri July 27, 2007
GE Cell Fusion
General Electrics on Friday began shipping its distinctive Cell Fusion home phone. Taking a different approach to bridging cellphone calls inside the house than T-Mobile's Hotspot@Home, GE chooses to establish a Bluetooth link to a separate cordless phone. Owners place the cellphone wherever it gets the best signal and then sit the base station within 30 feet. The cordless phone then connects over a separate DECT signal to make calls over a much greater range than the cellphone would normally allow. This works regardless of the cellphone plan and is especially useful for those with free call time in their plans, GE boasts.
As many as two cellphones can share an individual base station, which itself acts as a speakerphone, blocks unauthorized attempts to use the connection, and has its own battery backup to provide landline-style calling during many power outages. Seven of GE's own handsets will work within range of a single station. The Cell Fusion ships bundled with both a main handset and a second model with a charging cradle for $180.