The T Hub is a brand new initiative from Telstra that is primarily designed to drive people back to using a landline phone. The $299 tablet like device which is described as the next generation is not without its problems.
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When we first connected this product, which requires a Telstra BigPond connection to access all of the services being offered by Telstra including Facebook and Twitter access, we struggled to get a Wi Fi connection via either a Linksys or D Link router.
It was not until we got access to a Telstra supplied Netgear router that we were able to connect the device.
The concept of bundling several services into one small 18cm touchscreen that delivers access to landlines and broadband is neat but like a lot of things with Telstra the device is lacking.
Designed as a home phone the T Hub software which was developed by Telstra is lacking. A classic example is the contacts management system which when you make a call prompts one to save the call as a contact.
The only problem is that the contacts software only allows you to store a name address and telephone number as well as email address. Missing is the ability to store a Company name which is quite ridiculous considering a lot of homes need to access trades such as a plumber, electrician, real estate agent or your favourite take away.
On the other hand the omission could be quite deliberate in an effort to get users to access Telstra’s Yellow or White pages which are two of the services listed on the touchscreen.
Another problem emerged when we attempted to use the BigPond browser or access other web based services instead of seamlessly taking me online an error message emerged saying “Opera is out of memory”.
The message went on to say that “This page could not be displayed because there is not enough to display the browser”.
Designed by French Company Sagem the T Hub is designed to bring consumers back to wanting a landline and arrest plummeting fixed line revenues but I am not sure that Telstra have the model right yet.
Installation was easy once we had fixed the Wi Fi and network connectivity issues. Straight out of the box the device was easy to set up and a scroll through menu allows users to easily configure the device.
As part of the setup the device automatically upgrades the software to the latest version.
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While the concept of a touchscreen tablet is excellent, functionality in the T Hub is lacking. This could be fixed by some smart software upgrades.
The T Hub comes with one cordless handset which worked over a wide area and down two levels from the base station. Five additional handsets can be added to the device. User can also send and receive SMS messages but this will only work with mobiles that are on the Telstra network.
For those of you who are into social networking the device lets you browse the web, access social media applications such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. You can also check the weather for your local area while having access to news, sports scores, stock prices and other information via BigPond’s online portals.
One service that I would like to see is access to Foxtel for the simple reason that this device is excellent for use in a study where access to a news service while you worked on a computer would be beneficial.
For those of you who are into entertainment the device includes a video player, digital photo frame program, digital radio and music player that accesses content from an SD card or USB slots.
The single biggest issue with this phone is that it is a closed system. While the concept has legs you will only be able to access what Telstra want you to access.
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Ideally the T Hub which is a well conceived concept should have been developed on the Google Android platform. This would have allowed third party developers to design applications for inclusion on the Telstra/Android T Hub platform.
Telstra would have benefitted by this through increased data traffic and a richer experience for their customers.
On a plan the T Hub comes bundled with 12GB of data, costs $109 a month plus $35 upfront and includes unlimited local calls, 12GB of data and a modem/router combination.
Existing customers can buy the device for $299.