In a parade of pre-CES press releases (more info to come), Motorola announced the Surfboard SBV5422 IP phone-plus-modem today. As a veteran of earlier cordless phone endeavors (it’s a margin-eating business), I was skeptical when I first heard about this product, but it does combine a home phone with something Motorola is very good at: the cable modem.
Speaking with Motorola VP Alan Lefkof recently, I learned the purpose of the SBV5422 is not to sell cordless phones, but to sell digital voice service; specifically, self-install digital voice service. Given the rapid rise of the cable voice business, self-installs certainly make sense. Operators avoid the cost of a truck roll and consumers get a plug-and-play home phone again.
In addition, the SBV5422 packs in some nice end-user features that take advantage of the IP connection: a network-managed address book, visual voicemail options and real-time information alerts. The information alerts are essentially widgets, and as I’ve said before, I think the home phone is a great place for getting small bits of real-time data. I get updates on weather and traffic online now, but I’d rather do a quick check of my phone than have to boot up my PC whenever I’m about to leave the house.
The photo here only shows the modem part of the product, but I’ll get live shots with the handset on site at CES.