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The vtalk desk phone: A smartphone for your desk

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November 16, 2013

The base station and handset for the vtalk phone

The base station and handset for the vtalk phone

Image Gallery (9 images)

Is the humble home phone headed the way of the dodo? Jeremy Bogan doesn't think so, which is why he has created the vtalk desk phone with the goal of bringing smartphone-like features to a device that stays put in the home of the user. Are home phones losing traction because smartphones offer so much, or because they have not evolved in terms of features? Bogan believes it's the latter.

The goal with the vtalk desk phone is to bring the interface and features users are accustomed to with smartphones to a desk. This means it has functions like contacts, a calendar, and instant messaging with text. It also features traditional desk phone features like the ability to place calls on hold and transfer them to other lines.

The vtalk also has another thing we're used to seeing with smartphones – a long list of hardware specifications. To start with, there is an 8.9 inch touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has a Quad Core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU with 2 GB RAM and packs 16 GB of internal storage. It can also connect to a home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Essentially, the base unit is a tablet, but with some additional features.

There is also a handset, which works more like a traditional phone. It has a 400 ft (120 m) range over 2.4Ghz. Like the base station, there are no buttons, and the user interacts with it via a multi-touch display. It features a 24 hour talk time battery with about a week of standby time.

The company is seeking funding for its phone on Kickstarter and is still a ways off from its AUD$250,000 (US$234,000) goal, but it still has plenty of time left in the funding period. A single device is available for AUD$199 (US$186), while AUD$300 (US$280) is the minimum pledge for a developer edition while the early bird specials last. Packages continue to go up from there for more devices.

With the early launch through crowdfunding, the main goal for the company is getting the device into the hands of developers so they can build apps that expand the functionality of the device. The prototype is running a modified version of Android 4.2.

The Kickstarter pitch below provides more information and shows users interacting with the device for the first time.

Source: vtalk, Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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5 Comments

How is this different from the Telstra T-hub?

Denis Klanac
16th November, 2013 @ 11:33 pm PST

I have a Telstra T-Hub and it does all that this one does and has access to Google Store, so every app you could ever desire is at your finger tips.

Wally3178
17th November, 2013 @ 05:24 pm PST

Does this phone support Caller ID as well? Might be a no-brainer, but I did not hear this option mentioned.

Edwin Wityshyn
18th November, 2013 @ 04:44 pm PST

Thanks for the feedback and questions about the vtalk phone vs the Telstra T-Hub. The Telstra T-Hub is a popular product and you should consider it as an option, but really all the T-Hub and the vtalk phone have in common is a tablet-shaped base with a handset you can make a phone call from.

Unlike the T-Hub, the vtalk phone will be manufactured in Australia, and is made of machined, anodised aluminium, not plastic like the T-Hub. Both products run Android. The T-Hub runs a version of Android 4.0, and the vtalk is using a customised version of Android 4.2.

The T-Hub has a 1024 x 600 screen, but we don’t think that lives up to our promise of bringing the best of the smartphone experience to a desk phone, so the vtalk phone has a full multi-touch screen like your tablet or smartphone with 1920 x 1080 resolution (the same as most HDTV’s! 1080p FTW!) at 256ppi, currently the best available spec on the market.

The base of the vtalk phone also includes a HD video camera capable of full 1080p HD video at 60fps, as far as we know the highest-resolution front-facing camera on a phone of any kind at this time. We’re offering 5-way HD video-conferencing on the vtalk phone, but neither the T-Hub’s CPU nor its 1.9Mp front/1.2Mp rear cameras are up to that task.

The handsets are very different. The T-Hub has only a low-definition audio DECT handset with limited range. The vtalk phone has a 2.4GHz HD audio link to its handset and can roam 400 feet from the base. It has an estimated 24 hour talk time versus 3 hours for the T-Hub handset. On the vtalk phone, both the base and handset have multi-touch HD interfaces, whereas the T-Hub’s handset just has buttons. The vtalk phone’s handset also features a high definition speakerphone that lets you conference call with other people by simply placing the phone face down, pick it up to turn it off!

The vtalk phone base also features 802.11ac Wifi, the next generation Gigabit Wifi, as well as Gigabit Ethernet.

There are a lot of other differences, such as Bluetooth 2.1 vs Bluetooth 4 for lower power drain and higher fidelity audio, magnetic induction charging for contactless handset charging, contact and calendar syncing with Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, but probably the biggest difference is that the vtalk phone is an open development platform.

This means we will be encouraging a community of developers to write and release integrations for anything else with an API that could benefit from being accessed from the vtalk phone. Some of the discussions we’ve had with developers so far include ideas for integration with CRM systems, POS and EFTPOS systems, and corporate databases.

The T-Hub is a closed, built-to-a-price product for low-end home users, whereas the vtalk phone is our interpretation of how great a desk phone can be if you strive to achieve the best possible integration of the highest-end technology available today.

Alan Jones
21st November, 2013 @ 04:17 pm PST

I like it, I've had a similar idea in my head for years. I wonder with app if I can use it to also control my thermostat, lights, security system, wireless stereo system, TV, etc. etc. That would be cool!

It would also be kool if I could opt to hang the tablet and phone on the wall.

Oh yeah, is it possible to have a base with a phone in every room and run them off one phone line?

MK23666
29th August, 2014 @ 05:25 am PDT
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