Telstra unveils the T-Hub 2, connects the tablet with your home phone

One hundred years since the first telephone was introduced in Australia, Telstra is parading a new version of the telephone for use in Australian homes, with the integration of a seven inch tablet with home phones and entertainment systems.

Launched as an update to 2010’s Telstra T-Hub, the new incarnation of the product is a complete overhaul of the tablet based phone system, ditching the proprietary tablet it previously used and switching it with an Android tablet that works (and is bundled) with a cordless phone.

It’s the slate that stays at home, with WiFi and DECT connectivity built into the 7 inch tablet, allowing you to surf the web, download apps and play games, as well as make phone calls from the tablet itself.

“As the next step in our connected home strategy, T-Hub 2 caters to what modern households need in a home phone, offering a smarter way to make calls, manage contacts and access handy internet services like live weather updates and social networking sites,” said Telstra’s Brian Harcourt, Executive Director for Telstra Wireline Products.

“To ensure T-Hub 2 meets the needs of Australian families we enlisted the help of Telstra customers who trialled the device during its development. We also listened to feedback from owners of the original T-Hub. They told us call clarity, managing contacts, and access to applications were really important to them and we have focused on making these features high-quality and easy to use.”

You can surf the web, play "Angry Birds," or just make phone calls using the home line with a tablet designed to work with your home phone.

The tablet section of the device is completely different from the older one, shifting to a more portable 7 inch Android device featuring a dual-core processor with 1GB RAM, 2GB built-in storage with an SD card slot for adding more, 1.2 megapixel front camera, 1.9 megapixel rear camera, microHDMI, and Bluetooth.

Support for DLNA devices is also thrown in with the Telstra T-Share DLNA controller, and if you have a Telstra T-Box in your home, there’s even an app designed to turn your T-Hub controller into a big seven inch remote.

“In evolving the T-Hub, we wanted to make it available to all our customers no matter what technical ability they’ve got,” said Telstra’s John Chambers, Director of Consumer Bundles for Broadband and Voice.

We had a quick hands on with the new T-Hub and found it to be quite a cool little piece of technology, and exactly what the first T-Hub should have been.

Finally, Telstra has seen the light and is taking advantage of a tablet that uses an operating system that can not only be updated, but has a massive supply of apps already available for the platform.

While it runs on the now-outdated Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), an version of Google’s mobile operating system designed more for phones than tablets, the T-Hub 2 supports most of the apps that an Android smartphone can take.

Telstra's DLNA software on the new T-Hub.

The screen is also capacitive and didn’t feel slow in our hands-on with it, which is good news for both kids and adults who are used to solid response times from their equipment. Despite this, the screen has an interesting resistance to it, almost so that it feels resistive, even if the display technology is better.

We’d hazard a guess that this is to make it more resistive to the odd spray of food in the kitchen, because that’s one of the main places where people are expected to use the T-Hub 2.

With a stand built right into the T-Hub 2 tablet and a speakerphone stand available to use, it’s easy to see why people would keep it in the kitchen for both phone calls and web browsing use, especially in the case of checking out recipes.

The T-Hub 2 will be available outright for $360 and is packaged with a cordless phone, but it can also be grabbed on a Telstra T-Bundle on a two year contract for $15 per month, with the units expected to hit stores this week from Tuesday.