CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
UTStarcom Wi-Fi phone + Vonage
= VoIP for everyone
January 6, 2005; 12:42 p.m.
UTStarcom F1000 with VoIP service from Vonage
The product: So far, VoIP phones are for the few, the brave, and the network savvy, but Vonage and hardware partner UTStarcom are introducing a roving VoIP phone, fashioned after a cell phone, to popularize Net calling. The candy bar-style UTStarcom F1000 makes calls via an 802.11b Wi-Fi connection but looks and feels like a traditional cell phone. It adds a few features to the usual cell phone lineup, however:
The prospects: For home users, this phone will make the most immediate sense as a replacement for the home phone in houses with a Wi-Fi network. But because it also works--using your home phone number--from open Wi-Fi hot spots (that is, not Starbucks and T-Mobile), it will become more and more useful and popular as Wi-Fi networks grow. Considering the cost savings with a VoIP phone, we expect phones like this to gain popularity quickly.
By Lindsey Turrentine, section editor, CNET Reviews
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