Comcast launches HomePoint VoIP Phone/Router, some ask 'why?'

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In an extremely limited release, Comcast is putting its HomePoint VoIP phone/router converged device on the market. The new device integrates Comcast's VoIP service with its cable Internet service combining a wireless router with a VoIP phone in an all-in-one device. Comcast customers in Fort Meyers, Fla. will be the first to get the chance to try the technology with Comcast launching the service in other markets soon.

Customers pay $39.99 for the handset units with the ability to use up to five with the system. The system also includes an Advanced Cable Gateway base unit which is essentially rented from Comcast for $5 a month. After the initial device purchase, Comcast VoIP service is initially available for $20 per month for the first six months. The device offers weather forecast info, news updates, email checking from any handset and visual voicemail. If users want to use the Internet features like email and the universal address book they will also need to be Comcast Cable Internet subscribers.

This product launch comes just after Verizon canceled its Hub product which offered similar features as well as some fixed mobile convergence capabilities. GigaOm had some particularly strong feelings about the announcement that he expressed in an article titled: "Hey Comcast (& ISPs), No One Needs Your Convergence Devices." Some (including Om) are arguing that these extra hardware devices are unnecessary when computers, TVs and smartphones are already ubiquitous in households. Why not add features or apps to these devices rather than offer another box/handset to put in the house?

For more:
- read this PC Mag article

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