updated 10:25 am EDT, Tue October 9, 2007
VTech LS5145 Phone
VTech on Tuesday morning unveiled a new home cordless phone that can double as an interface for the iPhone or most any cellphone. The LS5145 serves as a normal cordless phone for landline connections but also incorporates a Bluetooth receiver that will relay calls from one of up to eight different Bluetooth-equipped cellphones to its handset, allowing users to leave their cellphones docked and take their calls in areas where the cellular signal would normally drop off, such as a basement. Bluetooth headsets will also work for private calls, the company says. The VTech phone's use of the 5.8GHz frequency means that it will not only avoid conflicting with its own Bluetooth transmissions but also most Wi-Fi networks.
Further echoing a cellphone, the LS5145 can incorporate separate ringtones (including those recorded directly from stereos) and can display animated or static wallpapers for its color LCD, which handles both caller ID as well as a contact list and navigation for features such as the intercom and speakerphone modes. VTech releases the core LS5145 today for $150 and ships extra handsets for $80 each, up to 12 of which can pair up with a single base station to share the cellphones or a single phone line across an entire house.