Answer the cell phone on a land line

If you're an apartment dweller in Manhattan or San Francisco, you might as well skip this item because it'll probably seem utterly useless. But if you're in any other part of the country--with an abode that's more than a closet-sized studio--this device might actually come in handy.

The "Xlink Cellular Gateway" is a networking hub that lets you take your land-line calls on your mobile phone and vice-versa. That means if you leave your Vertu "Signature Cobra" in your library while retiring to the billiards parlor, you won't miss any important … Read more

U.S. Army's '17-pound GPS unit'

The budget ax has not been kind to the U.S. Army's long-running, tech-focused Land Warrior system, but last year backers did manage to get a small test deployment into the field in Iraq with one infantry battalion. Soldiers involved in the test have had some good things to say about the system, which among other things is built to deliver real-time location information via digital maps in helmet-mounted eyepieces. But they also say many features go unused, or don't always work as they're intended to, and that just means a lot of useless extra weight to … Read more

VTech adds IM to home phones--but why?

Some companies just refuse to give up on an idea, no matter how illogical it may be. That seems to be the case with VTech, which is still trying to sell the concept of a land-line phone with computer-like features.

More than a year ago the company came out with its "infoPhone," a cordless handset that included limited online functions, such as getting news headlines and doing local directory searches--a classic example, we thought, of a solution in search of a problem. But this year, rather than ditching the idea, VTech has actually expanded the concept in its … Read more

Ford in talks with Tata over Jaguar, Land Rover sale

Ford confirmed Thursday that the company is considering an offer to sell its Jaguar and Land Rover subsidiaries to Tata Motors of India.

"Ford is committed to focused negotiations at a more detailed level with Tata Motors concerning the potential sale of the combined Jaguar-Land Rover business," Lewis Booth, an executive vice president at Ford, said in a statement.

"There is still a considerable amount of work to do, and while no final decision has been made, we will proceed with further substantive discussions with Tata Motors over the forthcoming weeks with a view to … Read more

Home ringtones may not be music to your ears

Several months ago we thought the idea of custom ringtones for home phones was a pretty nifty concept that would be picked up by other manfacturers. Our prediction, naturally, was met with dead silence. But now Hammacher Schlemmer is trying to introduce one such gadget for the masses, claiming the technology as its very own by labeling it "the first home telephone custom ringtone player."

While the hype is to be expected, other aspects of this "first" are less excusable. For starters, there's the $70 price: Do its features really justify costing that much more … Read more

USS Enterprise will take your calls

Some phone and gadget makers have understandably sought to make handsets based on Star Trek communicators, but that approach is apparently too subtle for others. Why limit yourself to a single replica, after all, when you can do the whole ship?

The "Star Trek USS Enterprise Telephone" is exactly that, a limited edition that GeekAlerts says even bears the inscription of William Shatner himself. When a call comes in, a red alert sounds and the engines light up.

It's not a mobile phone, however, so your bragging rights will be confined to your own conn. But it … Read more

Land lines pin hopes on European design

Against all odds, land lines are valiantly forging ahead in hopes of making an unlikely comeback. Though thoroughly mocked by other gadget blogs, for instance, Motorola debuted its "MOTOLIVN" home phone this week for the European market.

Maybe that's a key part of the strategy: Europe. Because Doro, a manufacturer based in Sweden, is also expanding its continental land-line business. And like other European phone makers--namely Philips and Siemens--Doro is focusing its efforts on form as much as function, if not more.

The company says its "NeoBio" line of DECT phones, for example, comes … Read more

Motorola goes home again

Apparently not everyone is on the verge of ditching their land lanes. That, at least, is what we surmise from the actions of various phone makers, which seem to think there's still business to be had in the home handset market.

Among the models introduced recently are those from Philips and Siemens, while Japan's Amadana even has one that's into leather. The latest, however, comes from a manufacturer that's ensconced in the mobile world, Motorola.

Its "MOTOLIVN" land-line brand will be introduced in Europe first, according to U.K.-based Pocket-lint, and one of … Read more

Have you dumped your landline yet?

It's hard to believe that 10 years ago a cell phone was still a novelty. Now it's nearly impossible to imagine life without mobile communication.

As new modes of communication open up, will others go by the wayside? There may be a generational divide opening here, as younger adults in particular start asking themselves what good is a landline anyway? About a quarter of adults age 18 to 29 rely on a mobile phone as their only telephone service.

I am tempted to dump my landline, not because I have an amazing relationship with my mobile phone, but because telemarketers have turned my ringing landline into an incredible nuisance. An admittedly unscientific study of my caller ID log reveals that I've been getting four junk calls for every call I actually want to receive.… Read more