Spotlight: AT&T launches home communications manager

AT&T recently hosted an event to talk about some of the cool, future technologies and services it's working on, and one of the questions that probably occurred to many people was, "Nice, but will it be available in my lifetime?" As it turns out, some of the visions the telco outlined for unifying control over home communications are now reality. AT&T yesterday announced HomeManager, a touch-screen broadband base station that leverages the U-Verse broadband connection and consolidates access to voice calling, e-mail, and information services and features.

HomeManager is now available in nine AT&T markets: Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. It costs $299, and customers must sign up for a two-year contract for AT&T High Speed Internet or sign up for AT&T U-verse TV, Internet and voice.

Most telcos are pursuing some version of what AT&T has done with HomeManager. Embarq earlier this year announced a somewhat similar device that it referred to as a "fourth screen." Such moves could help telcos stay in control of home communications, even as traditional landline services decline in popularity.

For more:
- see this story at Telephony
- check out photos and AT&T's press release at Gizmodo
- read this blog post by Alan Weinkrantz

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Embarq also has looked to re-define home communications