Android Desk Phones: Good Idea Or DOA? [POLL]


We constantly hear about Android being implemented in settings you’d currently define as unlikely: refrigerators, coffee pots, automobiles, and beyond. We haven’t seen this take off, but I’m still optimistic that Android will make lateral movements and we’re already seeing small successes such as Google TV and various hybrid form factors and accessories (although admittedly not too lateral).

How about Android Desk Phones? We took a very quick unplugged look at a Huawei Android Desk Phone at Mobile World Congress and it reminded me… about desk phones… that they exist and that I actually think they’re a pretty decent idea.

It’s easy to forget when you don’t own a landline, and I think more and more households are going that direction, but businesses aren’t likely to unplug anytime soon and honestly, Android seems like a logical technology to leverage. Why not custom design apps to increase productivity?

I’m sure this is already happening, but I’m unaware of where. Do you know any companies using Android desk phones effectively? How about households using Android desk phones? And furthermore, do you think Android desk phones are a good idea that will slowly but surely take off, or desk phones in general are a dying breed and any desk phone is DOA?

[polldaddy poll=4551959]

Why not take the Atrix approach and dock your actual Android phone into a desk phone shell?


Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Get Google Voice Function on that mofo and I would be all over it. I’m using Ooma with google voice extensions but would love something completely dedicated to Google Voice. Heck yeah

  2. Couldn’t possibly imagine companies switching from Cisco to an Android phone. Forget about a home phone.

  3. I can imagine the current enterprise behemoths (Cisco, Alcatel et al) embracing Android for next generation desk phones.

    I can see them replacing the current keypads with a tablet style input. But we’re talking about years here.

  4. Why move from Cisco?…

  5. How about suite of hardware & software products, designed to be used together? Like say, a Motorola ‘desk phone’ that’s really a ‘dock’ for your Droid Pro. Once plugged in, the desk cradle could be set to automatically sync calendar & contacts, install or update applications, check in with IT/security, plus (of course) recharge. A more rigorous feature set would include ability for data-transfer. For example, you could dock your mobile to DL paperwork (schedule, hotel address, conf. number, flight info, etc.) for an upcoming trip and then again upon return to upload documents or meeting notes (e.g.: to a collaborative app) and your expense report. Of course, not all of these utilities need be used in all cases — just what’s necessary.

    Anyway, just an idle thought. :-)

  6. I want one. I hate that my current landline (DSL is the only high-speed option, in my area) is *painfully* stupid–less capable than my 1997-era Motorola brick.

    The problem, of course, is that a landline isn’t going to be subsidized, unless the telephone companies change their business models drastically (and they may not be able to). That means paying hundreds of dollars for the base station (the handsets can be dect 6.0 or whatever follows it).

  7. My vote is more of a “wish”. I’m afraid they really will be DOA, but I actually want one. Here’s why:

    I keep bluetooth on all the time on my Droid, or whatever phone I may get in the future. It auto pairs with a device that is connected to a set of 3 cordless phones in my home as soon as I get in the door. I drop my Droid in the dock and it essentially becomes my home phone. I can make/receive calls from any of the three handsets throughout my home and they go out/come in through my cell. The biggest problem is that I lose caller ID on any numbers I don’t have in the home/desk phone’s phonebook. Adding numbers to the phonebook one at a time is a pain, and the desk phone is limited to only 70 or so entries. I’ve tried home/desk phones with “import” features, but with very limited results. Their phonebooks are often poorly implemented, with each contact being allowed only one entry. A multi-handset home phone running Android I think would solve this. A simple export/import of my contacts and I’m sure syncing would be a snap.

    Another thing most likely to put on my LOSTAG (List Of S*** That Ain’t Gonna Happen). :(

  8. The only chance they have is in enterprise work places if they fulfill a niche use via some conference call app.

  9. If they’ll work with Cisco or Avaya backends, then I say bring them on!

    It’s kinda sad going into most offices and seeing desk phones that still have awkward dot matrix displays and confusing menu systems. I think there’s a lot of room in the enterprise phone system market for new technologies that bring more integration of voice, video, and messaging to the handset.

  10. As long as Google Voice runs on it I’ll get one

  11. If there were some QuickBooks/Quicken/Peachtree accounting software integration, that could be very cool.

    Suppose a customer calls. The company accounting program has been synced with the Desk Phone, so the phone display lights up with not just the Name and Number of the caller, but also the current account balance and recent purchase history of the customer.

    Sales Reps could be making some important decisions before they even pick up the phone.

  12. I know of a business that is working on using such android landlines phones with a few custom apps along with android cell phones for people in the field, were the two apps will talk to each other along with some other key features.

  13. I didn’t see an SD card on the phone, that would be a good way to record business conversations. Also, a WIFI model or skype enabled phone would be interesting. I can see this for very small business and new startups.
    Of course, a PC can do all this already with skype, etc. so who knows if it even has a niche.
    Wasn’t there a phone like that in Back to the Future 2?

  14. “It’s easy to forget when you don’t own a landline, and I think more and more households are going that direction”

    That’s silly. The cell is your personal phone and the landline is the phone for your house so that anyone in your family can pick it up if your aunt calls and you don’t have to give your cell number to the plumber when you need to make an appointment.

  15. Cisco is moving to Android

  16. Well, if I’m going to have a useless annoying black slab on my desk wasting space I certainly wouldn’t mind if it had Android instead of the custom barely functional garbage it currently has.

  17. At my work, everyone with a desk phone also has an, uh, desk, and on it a PC or laptop of some sort. We literally use the phone for making calls. I can’t think of anything that’d be better to do on the phone rather than the PC, other than those phone calls.

  18. Oh sure, looks like something that was right up Sharper Image’s alley. The executive desk phone. Play Angry Birds while taking boring conference calls. :P

  19. There are small businesses and people who work from home who might benefit from this.
    Companies like ring central has become very popular for this group.

  20. Cisco already has the Cios. I put in Cisco Voice solutions and they already tried the app (aka Services) thing but it was too specialized to catch on. If there are apps to easily create and edit corporate or company directories, provide better help functions, provide integrated IP paging, integrated remote control functionality for administrators for example…I could see this having a chance. With Mobility features as Mobile Connect and Mobile Voice Access, a platform that would provide a “tighter” integration between the desk phone and mobile would be a welcome addition. But as far as developement goes, I have no idea on the restrictions that may be hurdles that can’t be overcome.

  21. bad idea
    i already look at my Evo way too much.
    but given the probably software/hardware specs–i’m pretty sure this would be like comparing an Atari to the n64 of an actual Android phone

  22. The concept of a desk phone in 2010 is DOA.

  23. My company has a couple of prototype Android Desk Phones and they are SICK. I don’t expect companies to outfit these on everyone’s desk but my goal is that the C level executives will get one.

    We start shipping the phones on April 1st so we’ll see how they sell…

  24. For being able to reveal the phonebook entry when someone phones, and not need to have spent time entering my googlephone book into a separate system I’d be interested. But I’d probably be even more interested in getting my mac to do break out VOIP but terminating on my PSTN circuit number for no additional charge.

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