Linksys announces iPhone family of Voice Over IP handheld phones and devices

Linksys press release verbatim:

IRVINE, Calif. – December 18, 2006 – Linksys, a Division of Cisco Systems, Inc., and the recognized leading global manufacturer of voice, wireless, and networking hardware for home, Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) and small business user, today unveiled its iPhone family of Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions. The iPhone family of handheld devices harnesses the power of the Internet to enhance voice communications, integrate compelling information services, and deliver access to multimedia. In short, Linksys iPhones voice solutions and products give consumers the ability to do more with their phone than talk.

“As the next generation of handheld devices, Linksys iPhone voice solutions and products are changing the way people communicate with their friends, family and colleagues. They enable compelling internet services, allow consumers to know when their contacts are available for calls, and offer access to personal content like music, movies and live video cameras.” said Mike Pocock, Linksys senior vice president and general manager. “The development of the iPhone family demonstrates our flexibility in selecting the right partnerships, feature sets, and product designs to exceed the demands of even our most connected customers to whom the Internet is no longer a destination, but an inextricable part of their lives.”

Since the summer of 2004, Linksys has shipped more than 3 million VoIP products worldwide, including seven phones in its iPhone product line – all immediately available in the United States:

• iPhone Cordless Internet Telephony Kit – CIT200
• iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit – CIT300
• iPhone Dual-Mode Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice – CIT310
• New! – iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype – CIT400
• iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone – WIP300
• iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone with Web Browser – WIP330
• New! – iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype – WIP320

Enhanced Communication
Voice applications are at the core of the iPhone family. However, with iPhone handheld devices, consumers can do more than just dial a phone number and wait to see if someone answers on the other end. Products in the iPhone product line integrate popular communication clients, like Skype and Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, to help enable real-time presence features that can allow consumers to see when their friends and family are online and ready to receive a call. With products in the iPhone family, callers can toggle between the free VoIP calling options available from Skype or Yahoo! and traditional landline service with the click of a button.

Information Services
As the first product to couple Yahoo! Messenger with Voice and access to Internet services like Yahoo! Local Search and weather forecasts, the Dual-Mode Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice (CIT310) has given consumers access to information in a convenient and timely manner. They no longer have to pick up a printed phone book, or go to their computer to find a phone number. By programming the phone with a local zip code, people can search for local business information directly from their phone and then effortlessly place a call to the business with one click. In addition, a weather search setting permits quick access local weather forecast.

“Providing consumers the ability to use Yahoo! services to search for local businesses, check weather and have full access to their Yahoo! Messenger Contact List on the Linksys dual-mode iPhone was an important step as the convergence between Web services and handsets continues to advance,” said Jeff Bonforte, senior director of Real Time Communications, Yahoo!, Inc.

Multimedia Content
The iPhone product family also includes products like the Wireless-G IP Phone (WIP330) that integrate the popular standards-based SIP VoIP protocol. Consumers can use the WIP330 to access music, photos, and streaming video from sources on the Internet so they can combine the product with wireless video cameras like the Linksys Wireless-G Compact Video Camera (WVC54GC), to create a real-time home monitoring solution.

Freedom from the PC
Launching today, the latest iPhones products help free consumers from the requirement of an always-on PC to make calls over the Internet. The iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype (CIT400) embeds the popular communications client into a cordless phone base station that is attached directly to the home network via Ethernet, making it easy to place calls to other Skype users, mobile phones, or landlines without turning on a computer. The iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype (WIP320) makes Skype portable by integrating it into a Wireless-G handset, allowing consumers to place calls from anywhere they can connect to a wireless access point.

Both new iPhones products allow free or inexpensive voice calls in addition to real-time contact list access and presence information that lets the user know if the intended call recipient is available. The new phones also support popular Skype calling services, such as SkypeOut, SkypeIn, and Skype Voicemail.

“Each generation of phone offerings from Linksys has offered Skype users increased flexibility in how they make calls,” said Gareth O’Loughlin, director of hardware product management for Skype. “We’re thrilled to work with Linksys and give users even more options to use Skype off the PC – whether at home, at work or on the move.”

iPhone Family Pricing and Global Availability:

iPhone Cordless Internet Telephony Kit – CIT200 – Available globally through e-commerce retailers, retail stores, and VAR partners. Estimated Street Price: $79.99.

iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit – CIT300 – Available globally through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners. Estimated Street Price: $99.99

iPhone Dual-Mode Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice – CIT310 – Available in the U.S. through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners. Estimated Street Price: $99.99

New!! iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype – CIT400 – Available immediately in the U.S. through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners. Global availability through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners is expected for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $179.99

iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone – WIP300 – Immediately available in North America, Europe and Asia through distribution and authorized VAR partners. Estimated Street Price: $219.99

New!! iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype – WIP320 – Immediately available in North America through distribution, online retailers and VAR partners. Europe, Asia and LATAM availability is planned for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $199.99.

iPhone Wireless-G IP Phone – WIP330 – Immediately available in North America, Europe and Asia through distribution and authorized VAR partners. Estimated Street Price: $369.99

About Linksys
Founded in 1988, Linksys, a Division of Cisco Systems Inc., (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the recognized global leader in voice, wireless and Ethernet networking for consumer, SOHO and small business users. Linksys is dedicated to making networking easy and affordable for its customers, offering innovative, award-winning products that seamlessly integrate with a variety of devices and applications. Linksys provides award-winning product support to its customers. For more information, visit http://www.linksys.com

The press release with links to the various products described above is here.
Hence the reason we’ve always referred to Apple’s “iPhone” using quotes. (Real funny, Gizmodo. Real funny.)* Cisco has held the “iPhone” trademark for years. Rumors that Apple would acquire the trademark from Cisco obviously haven’t panned out. Either because Apple didn’t want the name or didn’t want it at Cisco’s terms. Cisco seems to have decided to finally use the “iPhone” mark to cash in on some free Apple “iPhone” publicity. http://www.iphone.org still takes visitors to Apple’s website.

*sarcasm

Related articles:
Gizmodo guarantees ‘iPhone’ will be announced on Monday – December 14, 2006

54 Comments

  1. just some guy, it seems to be nothing more than a fairly advanced cordless phone – “roaming” limited to a few hundred feet from your base station. “Advanced” in that it contains many features not previously available in a cordless phone – though available in many cell phones – and in that you can choose to run it off either a POP connection or an Ethernet connection – and the Ethernet connection does not require a booted PC on the LAN for the phone to work.

    This is a nice piece of gear, but I have to wonder if it isn’t a year or two too late. It may well be a “gotta-have” for folks still using land lines or SOHOs that want “in-office phones”, but the former is a rapidly shrinking market and the latter was never a large segment of the market.

    About the “iPhone” thing … yeeaahh. That’s going to cause some confusion. Now that Cisco/LinkSys is actually using their Trademark, whoever owns the Domain Name could be forced to give it up – perhaps with some compensation paid in return.

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page

  2. Nothing here but false expectations.

    Bullcrap. What, you think Apple is retarded? This rumor has reached critical mass. If it were untrue, Apple would have issued a press release denying it a long time ago. (Like they did when the rumor started that they were buying Sony Music.) Otherwise, they’d risk instability in the stock price.

    Each time in the past that an Apple rumor has reached this point without a denial, the rumor has turned out to be true. There’s an Apple phone on the way.

  3. All the iFreeloaders have finally turned the whole ‘i’ brand into a cheap commodity. Time to move on. I’m glad The Steve seems to be doing that.

    BTW, this iPhone is a POS. The whole also ran dull, gray box, peecee and accessories manufacturers just can’t seem to stop making crap, disposo-tech. Bunch of freaks!

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  4. Much as it would probably sound mangled, I get the feeling that if Apple did do a phone of some sorts with iPod functions as well, they would want to be able to trade on the iPod name and brand which has so much value now. Something like iPod talk or iPod chat etc would cover that. I’m not saying I like that name, but it has a certain logic to it.

  5. I dunno why so many of you were stuck on the iPhone name when it is obvious that Apple already has a namebrand in iPod. Why should they change the name. besides, if indeed it will be an ipod with phone capabilities, more the reason to stick with the name.

    just like the “video” ipod, the “iPhone” iPod will be a next evolution of iPod.

    Get with it people. It is the PHONE IPOD.

  6. I would love to replace my SOHO landline with a VoIP phone, but I need it to:

    • provide three or more handsets for the one line (kitchen, bedroom or office) so you don’t need to run like craze from one end of the house to the other when you receive a call having left your phone in the kitchen
    • be able to transfer calls between handsets
    • provide intelligent voicemail/faxmail (redirecting #, forward off/busy/away, capturing faxes for view or printing)
    • it needs good reception when a reasonably long distance from the base station
    • provide low cost or free calls
    • link my phone life with the rest of my data life (photos, songs, calendar, etc.)
    • work seamlessly whether I am in the office (VoIP) or away (GSM), no questions, modes or thinking
    • It needs to be so easy your grandma could use it

    Lets face it – large offices will never replace the landlines and voicemail, whatever the cost savings. This is a home and SOHO solution only.

    And how do you scroll down that menu list – via the joystick? My Nokia does that and it is very slow and unintuitive. I would prefer more lines of text. I like the large buttons, but the full screen LG in a previous post was a better interface. Plus Cisco has made it confusing. Which model do I need amongst the seven to choose from?

  7. Further to above I think Apple should be called iChat mobile (hardware) to go with iChat (software) and have them do the same things but iChat via the PC/Mac.

    Also, if I have three (each family/work member) in my SOHO, have the ability to ‘pick up’ (with permission) another’s calls, even have bonjour (over wireless) display that an incoming call on ‘XYZ’s phone is available. This would solve the multiple handsets issue.

    Finally, the iTV should be the base station to connect VoIP calls to the net and any phone can act as a Front Row Controller so you can make video conference calls via your iTV and iChat mobile. One iTV to bind them all (music, TV, movies, phone, audiobooks, wireless internet, music videos, photos, etc).

  8. sounds like your basically buying a cell phone, that’s not a cell phone, because you can’t use it outside unless you can find a wireless network. doesn’t Vonage already do this ? Steve Jobs knows people need smarter cell phones without keyboards, bulk, and jumbled interfaces, not this.

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