What do you think of when you think of a home phone? Boring? Commodity? Get the cheapest one possible? Isn’t it funny how different our perceptions of the home phone are from the mobile phone.
As much time as I spend talking with people about the digital living room and what the next home hub will be (TV, PC, game console…), I heard an entirely new perspective in a conversation late last week. The argument, from Motorola Product Manager Evan Groat, was that the home phone has its own hub capabilities. Not that it should replace more complex devices for things like TV viewing and Web browsing, but that it can serve a role in delivering simple information. For example, since cordless phones are always on and always accessible, wouldn’t it be great if they could deliver traffic, weather, calendar appointment and news updates? Simple RSS feeds to an IP-connected phone would make it possible. And there’s virtually no end to the other widgets you could add.
Today, the closest thing I have to a non-computer widget device is my Squeezebox (something you’ll find I reference often…). In addition to its primary function of streaming music, it can also display RSS feeds. I also remember hearing about something called a Widget Station at CES.
The benefit of a home phone, however, is its near-ubiquitous-ness. If you’re going to have one anyway, why not have it do more interesting things?