Parisians Reinvent the Home Phone
LAS VEGAS - A young Paris inventor and his wife hope to bring families back together with a new version of the telephone. The device, called Home Phone, debuted at CES Unveiled, a preview of top gadgets from this year's electronics show in Las Vegas.
"The smartphone was conceived for the individual," Hervé Artus, founder of UrbanHello, said. "The Home Phone was designed for the whole household." The sleek device could easily be mistaken for a modern vase, but the base hides a familiar touchpad for dialing calls and a 360-degree speaker. It can be used with any landline.
The Home Phone works like a cordless phone, but instead of requiring users to push a button to activate a speaker, the Home Phone automatically switches to full-circle speaker mode when placed on a hard surface. That means Mom can answer the phone when a family friend calls, gather the kids and set the phone down where everyone can hear and participate in the conversation.
The sound is unusually clear and natural — and loud enough to be heard over the din of the crowds at the CES event.
The Home Phone runs on three AAA batteries and will last through about 20 hours of talk time on the earphone and 2 hours and 30 minutes of talk time when using the loudspeaker. Standby time is eight days. It comes with a "Y" connector that plugs into the wall and provides an outlet for a portable phone base and the Home Phone base.
The phone launched as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter today, with a goal of $160,000 to be met in 40 days. Early backers can make a pledge of $85 to receive one of the first units, which are scheduled to ship in June. Already, customers have snapped up 144 of the 200 phones available at this price, but those who missed this deal can still order the phone for $119 (30 percent off the retail price).