For the past few weeks I have been playing with the T-Hub.
When I got it home, I was sure the family would react the same way my parents’ generation did when the first black and white televisions were introduced into the family home for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics – everyone would sit around it, mesmerised by the incredible moving pictures they saw on the glass in front of them, not quite sure if this was some sort of evil magic preparing to cast a spell on them and reduce future productivity. (Amazing foresight huh?)
Well the greeting wasn’t quite like I expected. First comment was “what do we need that for?” My response (predictably): “it’s the latest technology to hit the home phone.” Response: “so what?”
Ok I thought – don’t get flustered, just take your time, explain it in simple steps, curb your enthusiasm, and win them over. Yeah right. As if that was going to happen.
Plan B – just plug it in, ignore the comments and let the technology speak for itself. So that’s what I did.
What’s in the box
Opening the box revealed three major components – the 7” screen and charging station (the T-Hub); the portable handset and charging station; and the cordless phone base station – that is the link between your cordless phone and T-Hub to the landline (home phone line). The three items all require mains power to run. More on that later.
A simple set of graphics showed me what to plug in where, and told me what information to gather prior to powering up the T-Hub.
Having three independent power plugs gives you some flexibility as to where to position the components. Practically speaking, as long as the base station can pick up your WiFi and can plug into the landline port, the rest is up to you.
Once powered on, the T-Hub leads you through the setup process that included testing my phone line, finding and connecting to my WiFi, and a few other fancy things in the background, including MyInbox (basically all of my messaging in one place that I can access from my T-Hub, BigPond or Telstra sites)
Getting Started – my first few icons
Anyone with young kids will know how silly it is to take them to a toy shop and suggest they take a casual, controlled stroll down each aisle and then go back and make a decision on what to buy. Well that was me with the T-Hub. So many fun things to touch and try, I didn’t quite know where to start. Being someone who is asked regularly what the weather is going to be today (do I really look like I would know???) I decided that was the icon for me to start with. Right away it gave the weather for my postcode. Wow. Suddenly there was some family interest in the T-Hub.
Next I touched the internet icon. This took me to unmetered BigPond content. Due to a family interest in the Master Chef reality TV show, I decided to look at the menus. Another winner – those family members who regularly go to the computer, search a menu, print it out, then take it back to the kitchen as a guide for a scrumptious meal, found that having it at your fingertips, real time, on the T-Hub was a great alternative. (See how I was slowly winning them around?)
Having recently cancelled the daily delivery of a newspaper, I was lost for things to do whilst eating breakfast. The news icon was the obvious choice as the next icon to try. Three articles in and I wondered why I had bothered fighting to unwrap the plastic off my newspapers for so many years! The only thing is, I had to stop myself picking up the T-Hub and putting it in the recycling bin once I had read the news.
One icon I really enjoyed was the internet radio. The sound is clear, the choice of stations is great, and I could even listen to sports coverage in another State – just because I could!
Still work in progress is the transition from a paper-based calendar that sits under the kitchen phone to the T-Hub’s calendar. It is easy to use really does assist in keeping track of a busy household. However, upkeep of the calendar is not my department.
Having Facebook and twitter access is cute, and goes a long way to positioning the T-Hub as much more than “just a phone”.
Did I forget to mention that the T-Hub is ALSO a phone. Not just any phone mind you. An interactive phone. The T-Hub screen literally gives you access to up to 1000 contacts at your fingertips. If you make or receive a call and the number is not in your contacts, you have the option of storing it right away. And you can associate photos to your contacts as well. It doesn’t end there – you can also send up to 200 contacts to the portable handset as well.
Night mode allows the T-Hub to turn itself off until either a call comes in or you tap the screen. White Pages, 1234 and Yellow icons also save you time and work like a dream.
YouTube, USB and expansion
If all these features are not enough to satisfy you, the T-Hub also has a YouTube icon. I took advantage of this to watch my favourite Peter Paul and Mary clips last night – just to annoy the family who were watching a television programme I did not like. One more feature you must try – use either the SD card slot or USB port and turn your T-Hub in to a digital photo frame. I did, and holds it own against dedicated digital frames I have around the house.
In summary, the T- Hub is the most revolutionary home phone setup since the rotary (or decadic) dialling was replaced by dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) or touch tone dialling. (Can you really call it dialling when you actually push a button?). I urge you to go and take a look at the T-Hub. I am sure you will be impressed.
Please let me know what you think – if you have one, or are considering getting one.