The device needs a bigpond broadband internet connection and a phone line.
You can use it to surf the net, and has many built in “apps” like:
- make a phone call (surprise surprise).
- web browser
- online yellow pages & white pages.
- internet radio (but limited in some ways).
- video (can also play videos from an SD card and USB drive).
- music player (again, also works with SD card and USB).
- photo frame (also works with SD card and USB).
- a few other built-in apps.
- you cannot customise the layout of existing apps.
- you cannot get more apps.
- you cannot use VOIP services like skype.
- the on-screen keyboard could be better… you have to hit the “number” button to enter numbers… a problem if you are entering something that has text and numbers (like a WiFi password).
- The battery life if very limited (I’ve heard reports of between 15 min – 1 hour). I would expect this device to have at least 2 hours for something like this… particularly if you want to use it as a phone!
- the internet radio is limited to telstras selection of radio stations.
- you cannot make video calls as it has no webcam (you should get a netbook with a webcam to do this)
- the price is $299. I think that for an extra $100, you are better off with a netbook laptop.
All up, Id say the t-hub is interesting, but it has many limitations in its current form.
For me, the biggest limitations are:
- battery life.
- you cannot expand its functionality in the same way as the iphone & ipad, etc.
- high price (particularly given its lack of application expandability).
To make the t-hub a real success, I’d say a price of $29 is appropriate, given its current capabilities.
So why are Telstra pushing the t-hub?
Most people agree that its an effort to stop people leaving the land-line service, by offering something, that telstra hopes, will get people back to using the old-fashioned land-line.
I think its going to be a dead duck.
Sure, some people will like it, but I doubt many people will go and install a land-line phone service, just to get a t-hub… particularly when it effectively forces you to use telstra services, and deliberately locks you out of competing services (like skype).
I think Telstra need to pull their heads out of the sand; see the writing on the wall, and need to decide to really beef up their mobile network as a full replacement for landlines.