Vonage is pushing their videophone service to their customers this morning, showing off this new all-in-one unit from Viseon. The copy of the email I received doesn't have pricing information, but I can only hope that if Vonage is asking their customers to drop money on new hardware that the prices for the video calls themselves will be effectively the same as voice-only connections.
Will the age of videophones finally be upon us? I still think the idea is nice but cumbersome, although if it is going to be adopted in any numbers to speak of it will have to be cheap, standardized, and easy—all qualities Vonage attributes to its new box. (Thanks, Richard!)
Email body after the jump.
Get ready for the Vonage videophone, coming to a home near you in Spring 2005. Vonage has partnered with videophone maker Viseon to bring you videophone service that's simple, innovative and fun. The service will allow Vonage customers to experience corporate-quality videoconferencing between friends, family or business colleagues. You can look forward to living like the Jetsons as you have a "face-to-face" conversation in real-time, whether across town, across the country or around the globe.
Vonage videophone service will bring a new twist to communicating. You'll be able to arrange "virtual visits" with friends and family or "virtual meetings" with business colleagues that also have the service, regardless of where they are in the world.
We've heard a lot about the coming of the videophone, from as far back as the 1964 World's Fair. The technology is finally ready for home use. Recent developments in chip design and further standardization among videophone manufacturers have helped drop equipment prices to much more affordable levels. Also, broadband connections are becoming fast and reliable enough to handle such a robust service. Vonage feels that these changes make the videophone ready for the home or small office this year. Also, the design and usability of these units has improved greatly over the past year. The new Viseon design is plug-and-play— no computer, web cam or headset required.