Remember home/landline phones? They were these funny looking devices in the corner of everyones home that you could call to if you knew the number. Since the introduction of the mobile phones, they slowly started to disappear and some youngsters would be amazed to find out that they ever existed.
Tellybean wants to bring them back, well not the actual devices but the concept of having a device that you can call to at home. To do so, they will introduce a service that will transform any TV into a Video Phone.
They have raised €1.4 Million to tackle the problem, with Reaktor Polte leading the investment round, marking their 5th investment this year and probably making them the most active seed-stage investor in Finland at the moment. The other investors were TEKES and Dreadnought Finance.
There have been many attempts to make video calling more common place, most failing to a certain degree. Pretty much nobody uses the video calls function on their phones, Smart TV video calling is also not all that popular. Even Skype and Google Hangouts are not exactly mainstream.
However Oskari Kettunen, the skipper at Reaktor Polte, tells us that it is all about the details in user experience and being tied to personal accounts: “The reason these existing solutions aren’t widely used at home is that they’re tied to the notion of a personal account, and to high-tech devices. The TV in the living room is more like furniture. And the TV is not personal, but social, the whole family “owns” it. Add Tellybean, a dead-simple compact device with barely any controls on it. And you have the comeback of the old home phone.”
Simplicity is also important, as you only need to connect the device to the TV and it can accept phone calls from most video networks such as Skype immediately.
Phil Lindberg, Tellybean’s CEO comments on the investment: “Our ability to deliver a magical experience to users has been super-charged through our co-operation with Polte. Polte’s high-level knowledge combined with Reaktor’s hands-on expertise will take Tellybean to the next-level in terms of our development culture, software quality and timeliness.”
Other than what was already revealed and a promise that the device will be “super low cost”, there is not much available in regards to the specifics. Therefore it is hard to make any sort of judgements, but for some reason video calling has not picked up despite all the innovation in the past 20 years. Therefore it remains to be seen if this device will be able to stand up to the challange.
The company has been working on the solution for over two years and the international release of the service is scheduled for 2013.
Top Image Courtesy Of Shutterstock // Old Phone