AT&T has recently introduced a new system called the HomeManager, which integrates a landline phone with the internet. The HomeManager features include e-mail access, smart address book management, and interactive information services such as weather forecast and stock quotes.
The HomeManager consists of a portable tablet which offers a touch screen interface, and a handset and a base station which require a broadband connection via an existing router (not supplied). Almost all operations are made using the tablet, made by Samsung. Both devices share up to five different address books (for each family member, for instance), that can be used to make calls, send e-mail, and update contacts’ information using the Yellow Pages. Moreover, users can use interactive maps to locate the results given by the Yellow Pages search.
Other information services accessible by the portable tablet include weather info, the latest news, movie show times, sports scores, stock quotes, and horoscopes. Its internal storage capacity is 256MB which is upgradable using SD memory card or USB flash drives.
The HomeManager has a 7-inch LCD screen with a 800×480 resolution and 24-bit color. Furthermore, its battery can last for 24 hours while on standby mode or 2 hours when operating. The tablet’s screen can also display images and be used as a digital picture frame. For users who don’t like using fingers on the touch screen, a special stylus is provided.
The full-duplex handset has a 2-inch color display and built-in voicemail. In addition to the traditional voicemail interface, it has a “visual” mode, operated via the tablet. It enables users the option to re-arrange messages by touch – according to caller, time, or any other personal preference.
The launch of the HomeManager was made in order to retain AT&T customers who lower their landline usage in favor of mobile phones – taking part in the national trend (covered by the Department of Health). Although the new device offers several handy features, almost all smartphones available today can provide these very same services without binding users to domestic grounds, although with arguably less health hazards.
TFOT has also covered trueCall, which promises the elimination of various nuisance phone calls such as telemarketing calls and fax calls, and xTablet T8700, a rugged tablet PC that was specially designed for mobile workforces. Other related TFOT stories include the Nero LiquidTV, new software that offers TiVo-like capabilities on a PC, and the CineBox Home Backyard Theater System, which offers the experience of home theater outdoors – in one’s garden or backyard.
For more information on the HomeManager, see its website.
Ehud is a student for Communication & Journalism as well as Business Administration in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has knowledge in computers' software and hardware and a keen interest in consumer electronics and innovative gadgets.