By PAUL TAYLOR.
The Financial Times Limited.
All rights reserved
The digerati of the 1990s came up with lots of profound-sounding one-liners. One of my favourites was: "Everything that is wired will become wireless, and everything that is wireless will be wired."
The wireless phone quickly became essential for business and personal users largely because it freed them from the tyranny of a tethered connection. Now New York-based Phone Labs ( www.phonelabs.com) has developed a "black box" that enables a traditional fixed phone or cordless handset to use a wireless network connection as a primary home phone line or additional line.
While the arrangement may sound counter-intuitive, it makes sense, particularly if you use a mobile as your main telephone connection, have unused minutes on a monthly wireless plan or need a second flexible home phone line.
The Dock-n-Talk is due to go on sale in the US, Europe and elsewhere next month and is expected to cost $140; but you will need to buy a dedicated connecting cable for your particular brand of mobile phone ( $10 to $20) or a Bluetooth module if your phone is equipped with the short-range wireless networking technology ( $70).
The Dock-n-Talk unit plugs into a power socket and also charges the mobile phone while connected. It has two standard US-style telephone sockets to plug ordinary or cordless phones into the unit.
You can make and receive calls from the fixed phones using your wireless phone connection and number. If you have a home phone line, a switch on the back of the Dock-n-Talk enables you to use the wireless line as a second line, accessible using a two-line fixed phone.
Setting up the Dock-n-Talk was easy and it performed flawlessly with a Sony Ericsson T68i phone operating on A T & T'sGSM network. Calls were clear and the connection operated with no problems.
Phone Labs plans to launch a telephone handset version, the Unity telephone, that will also be able to send and receive SMS messages and share call logs and phone directories with a wireless phone.
Bottom line: The Dock-n-Talk is a simple, smart idea, done well.
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