updated 07:55 pm EDT, Wed April 8, 2009
Comcast enhanced handset
Comcast is set to launch an "enhanced cordless phone" that will offer e-mail, voice-mail, basic web access and a universal address book, according to Cable Digital News. The advanced functionality will be provided in conjunction with the company's VoIP services, using a new Docsis/PacketCable-powered multimedia terminal adapter (E-MTA) to provide the IP-based digital interface to compatible handsets.
The phone will work with Comcast's SmartZone communication center which connects cable modem subscribers with their e-mail, voice-mail and an instant messaging client. SmartZone will eventually be integrated with a WiMax service, arriving first in Portland, Oregon sometime later this year.
The first enhanced handset will be manufactured and supplied by Thomson. Cathy Avgiris, senior VP of voice services, told Cable Digital News that devices from other manufacturers will be added in the future. One of the projects involves a home handset with a full keypad.
The EMTA and one handset are expected to cost around $5 a month, while additional devices should cost roughly $35 each. The company has not yet announced which market will see the devices first. Avgiris noted that the products could serve as a retention tool as many customers have entirely eliminated their land-line subscriptions.
[Image courtesy of Cable Digital News]