Looking at this Android-powered landline handset which U.K. telco BT has just started selling — christened with the (relatively) catchy name of Home SmartPhone S — you really have to wonder what took them so long.
BT is a broadband provider however its legacy business was copper telephone wires and landline phones — so its Internet packages, even the fibre ones, require subscribers to install a traditional landline too. Ergo, the company still brands (and flogs) a lot of landline phones.
Recent landline handsets BT was pushing on its customers included the likes of the BT6500 (see what I mean about relatively catchy) — a handset that looks like it was forged in the yuppie fires of 1985.
From there it really is a revolution to the Home SmartPhone S which is a smartphone in all ways except for being tied to the house being as it lacks the cellular radio bit — using Wi-Fi to hook into your Internet router to support web browsing, apps, and the rest.
The price-tag for this 3.5 inch touchscreen device is £150 — so pretty pricey for a landline phone, sure, but it’s far from being the traditional dumb button-pusher.
The BT Home SmartPhone S is by no means the first Android-powered landline phone. It’s just the latest slice of old school hardware Google’s mobile OS has found its way onto — as Android continues its onward march from mobiles to tablets, TVs, cars, cameras, smartwatches, fridges… and so on.
BT itself has sold Skype phones and videophones for years, but those devices were still coupled with less than user-friendly fiddly old interfaces.
Such legacy interfaces are steadily being replaced on more devices, whether it’s car stereos or landline phones, with touchscreen panels running Android, as the platform proves itself capable of leveraging the user familiarity built up on mobile to make the leap onto more device types.
Back in May Google pegged Android activations at 900 million, up from 400 million in 2012. This year there’s no doubt Mountain View will break a billion active Androids, the question is how much it will break that figure by.
As Android continues its spread, pollinating more electronic devices, that growth can keep on coming.