Monday, November 02, 2009

You Can Cut The Cord

The proliferation of mobile phones is nothing short of mind boggling. I don’t consider myself old, but I can remember growing up in a house with one phone line and one phone. That phone was a “party line.” For those who may not know what a “party line” was, ask someone over 55. The phone was black and the phone company’s rules prevented anyone tampering with or adding a non-Bell extension phone under pain of Federal prosecution. Have things changed!

Today, that regular telephone and phone line are disappearing as many of us have decided that we only need our mobile phone. I bet you know of several people who use only a mobile phone and have dropped their Cincinnati Bell land line. For sure with many mobile plans offering features such as call waiting, three way calling, free long distance and integrated voice mail as part of the standard package, why pay for each of these features twice with both a land line and mobile line?

There are downsides of using a mobile phone as your only line when you are at home. Many of us drop the phone on the kitchen counter when we come home. We have our charger there, and if we remember, we charge it occasionally so our conversations will continue uninterrupted the next day. When the mobile phone rings we have to run to the kitchen. Déjà View from the 1960s. Also, long conversations using the small mobile phone are often uncomfortable and who wants to walk around the house all the time with a Bluetooth thing-a-ma-jig stuck in your ear?

There are devices available that makes using a mobile phone at home as your sole connection to the outside world much more convenient. The devices allow you to use all the existing telephones in your home as you do now. The difference is they connect to your mobile phone instead of your land line. The “brains” of the device is a docking station to which you connect your mobile phone. The docking station connects to the existing telephone wires in your home making all the telephones “extensions” to the mobile phone. You no longer need the land line. All the features that you have on your mobile phone are now available on the extensions. The docking station also serves as a charger for your mobile phone.

You can find these devices at some electronics stores, Amazon.com and other online retailers. The XLink ITC-BTTN is available from intellitouch. Another company, PhoneLabs, offers the Dock-N-Talk. Both cost about $150. You will find other models from RCA and Motorola on line.
Most connect with your phone either with a cable (sold separately) or via Bluetooth. Once connected it is hard to tell the difference between a regular line and a the mobile line. One thing to remember though, is that the docking station requires AC power, so when the power is out you can only use the mobile phone without any of the extensions.

If you are considering dumping your home phone land line, you should take a look at adding one of these docking stations.

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