Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

RG, set-top box, and now screen phone?

A couple of weeks ago, I had written about the EMBARQ eGo™, a screen phone that combines standard calling features (Caller ID, etc.) with widget-like information (customized news, weather, etc.), and local directory search with automated dialing. OpenPeak had developed a product for Verizon's 'Verizon One' Home Communications Center that was announced in January 2007. (I'm not clear as to whether Verizon still offers this - I have requests into both Verizon and OpenPeak to figure this out.)

Now, AT&T has unveiled a platform that is quite similar in form and function to both of the aforementioned devices. The AT&T HomeManager™ has a seven-inch color screen and a wireless handset, and it offers Web-like information in the form of customized news, weather, sports scores, etc. It can also display a contact list and provide visual voicemail messages.

It's been about ten years since the rise (and subsequent rapid fall) of the so-called "Internet/Information Appliance." It seems that these are being resurrected - at least in some form - through service providers and as value-added platforms for voice and information services. We've been wondering if there's room for another federated device - customer premise platforms that tie directly to service provider access offerings. I wonder if these type of devices will be "it"?


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