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September 22, 2008

AT&T Transforms Home Phone with Color Touch Screen, Wireless Applications

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor

AT&T (News - Alert) announced today the debut of an innovative home phone that combines Internet access and popular wireless phone applications with traditional home phone service.

AT&T HomeManager will first be available in nine AT&T markets: Chicago; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; San Antonio; Houston; Dallas; San Francisco; San Diego and Los Angeles.
With a compact, 7-inch color touch screen frame and portable speaker phone, AT&T HomeManager provides one-touch access anywhere in the home to Internet content, including visual voice mail, weather reports, e-mail access, local news, and more. From a broadband-enabled base station, information is sent directly to the cordless touch screen, delivering quick and easy access to important information when needed.
Combining the familiarity and ease of traditional home phone calling with the feature-rich capabilities consumers expect, HomeManager is an ideal device for busy households.
"HomeManager represents the next generation of home communications," said Brian Shay, senior vice president, Converged Services for AT&T.
"We're building on the reliability of our wireline platform and advancing it with touch screens, mobile phone applications, visual voicemail and more. A phone today is not just for talking -- it's about having the content and the information that's important to you right at your fingertips,” Shay explained.
HomeManager works by completing phone calls over a traditional wireline or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection using either the touch screen, which also works as a portable speakerphone, or a cordless handset, which is also provided within the HomeManager package.
Some of the touch screen applications and capabilities include:
  • Address Book Synchronizing. AT&T Mobile Backup-- a mobile phone application -- synchs address books across the touch screen and home handset with AT&T mobile phone contacts.
  • Internet Content. Access weather, e-mail, stock profiles, sports, news, photos, movie listings, recipes and more with one-touch access on the touch screen frame.
  • AT&T Yellow Pages. Free, unlimited access to White Pages and Yellow Pages online directories help locate both people and businesses. Use the touch screen to call, map addresses and send information to both mobile phones and e-mail accounts.
  • Visual Voice Mail. See and listen to messages via a single wireline-wireless mailbox on both the touch screen and cordless handset. Compatible with AT&T U-verse Voice and AT&T Unified Messaging.
  • Digital Picture Frame. View photos on the frame as a slide show or screen saver. Photos and videos are easily loaded from an SD memory card, USB device or e-mail attachment.
"HomeManager is perfect for the kitchen, family room or -- because it's portable -- anywhere families want instant access to communications and information. In one place, families can make phone calls and also access e-mail, contacts, local news, recipes and more. This is a convenient, simple solution for families on the run. It's quick and it's efficient,” Shay added.
In a collaboration with Samsung (News - Alert), AT&T brought HomeManager to life, while also building on the company's own 100-year legacy of driving innovation.
"HomeManager is a game-changing device that provides true convergence to wireless, wireline and Internet users," said Tom Jasny, vice president of wireless broadband and network systems for Samsung Mobile.
"This intelligent information device gives people the ultimate flexibility to stay connected, entertained and informed anywhere in their home. Following a long tradition of successful cooperation between AT&T and Samsung for wireless handsets, this represents the first collaborative effort between AT&T and Samsung's network business to address consumer solutions for the home, complementing Samsung's leadership as the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world,” added Jasny.
AT&T HomeManager is available to new and existing AT&T High Speed Internet and residential wireline customers, including AT&T U-verse TV and Voice customers, at select AT&T retail locations within the nine markets for a one-time payment of $299.00. Customers must agree to a two-year AT&T High Speed Internet term commitment or sign up for AT&T U-verse TV, High Speed Internet and Voice services.
Included in the package are the 7-inch touch screen frame, one cordless handset and one base station. Additional handsets and frames can be added for an additional charge.

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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