Why Do the PBX vendors still make Giant Phones?

by Dave Michels

The new VoIP phones are exciting. They stand tall on the desk, proud – showing off their large screens and numerous (Superfluous) buttons. It is very impressive to see the product placement of these large phones in so many television shows.

But what I don’t understand is why are they all still so big?

My cell phone, smaller and lighter than just my handset on my desk phone. It contains:

  • A full directory/address book
  • Wifi capability
  • Battery
  • Camera
  • Speaker phone
  • Bluetooth and Headset jack
  • Email client
  • IM client

and more.

My desk phone is a large phone, probably the biggest phone I’ve ever had. It contains:

  • A nice quality speaker phone
  • Headset Jack
  • Esoteric menu button for difficult to access features
  • Large LCD display with less functionality than my cell phone display
  • An Extra LAN port

That is about it. So with all this technology, why can’t we get the phones smaller?

These type of size contraditions appear elsewhere in technology – but not quite like this. Compare a notebook with a PC desktop. In less size than the desktop processor alone, the notebook has a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But typically the notebook costs more. We pay a premium for the small size and portability. Not the case with phones. In fact, the bigger and heavier the phone, the more expensive.

I don’t beleive the desktop phone needs more features. These advanced features we desire will soon all be available via the desktop. However, I do beleive the desktop phone needs to get much smaller. In fact, like the old Trimline phone – basically the footprint of a comfortable handset.

I predict the Trimline will come back again. Probably as a wireless phone (unseen base using Dect technology), the push buttons on the inside, and a small display on the back. Just like keyboards, we can’t get too small. The phone can’t get much smaller than a comfortable handset – and soon the PBX vendors will figure it out.

– Dave