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BT launches new home 'smartphone'

Tuesday, May 5th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

BT has launched a new home smartphone that will make the home phone “central to family life again”.

The Home SmartPhone SII is a touchscreen home phone that has access to the Google Play app store, as well as blocking up to 80% of nuisance calls.

BT said the new handset will allow all of the family to get online wherever they are within the home and give them easy access to social media apps and games offered by Google Play.

According to BT, it is also easy to call straight from selected numbers on websites, saving the need to dial or write numbers down.

The phone has all the normal features of a BT home phone, including an answering machine which can be accessed at home or remotely, and can be used hands-free.

It also comes with BT’s Nuisance Call Blocking technology, which allows users to block up to 80% of unwanted calls, whether they be from ‘international’ numbers, ‘withheld’ numbers or unknown callers.

Customers also have the option to block incoming calls from up to 10 telephone numbers or put the phone into ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, which switches off the ringer.

The inclusion of the unique feature follows the popularity of the BT6500, which was BT’s first landline phone to block nuisance callers.

The Home SmartPhone SII also has a 2GB expandable memory which can be used to store music, and has a front-facing camera for taking photos or making video calls.

Getting everyone online

The phone, which costs £169.99, also has a range of up to 50m indoors and 300m outdoors, and the capacity to store up to 1500 contacts.

Erik Raphael, Director BT Wifi and Devices at BT, said adding Google Play to the Home SmartPhone SII would open up access to the biggest app store available.

He said: “The home smartphone provides an excellent solution for getting everyone in the family online whenever they need access.

“The Home SmartPhone SII makes the home phone central to family life again, allowing you to look up numbers online and communicate with friends and family via email, Facebook or calls.”

Last month, changes in legislation came into effect, giving people better protection against nuisance calls.

The government removed a requirement for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to prove a company caused “substantial damage or substantial distress’ through unsolicited or cold-calling before any action could be taken.

The move was taken in a bid to make it easier for the ICO to intervene in cases and impose fines of up to £500,000 against companies.

The ICO received 175,000 complaints related to nuisance calls and texts in 2014.

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