It's 2018, and being in my 20s I have never personally owned a landline. My parents have one, but I don't. It's probably quite annoying for the Virgin Media salesman trying to upgrade my broadband, because that's yet another thing they can't try and upsell (I refuse to pay for a live TV service when I have the internet). In fact, I'm not even sure whether or not the phone line into my house even works.
I imagine a lot of people reading this are in the same boat, and if you do have a landline it probably gathers a thin coating dust. While it might be easy to assume that landlines are dying off, some of the exhibitors at MWC have a different idea.
Fixed-mobile convergence!!!!! pic.twitter.com/KmEMh6i9Q7
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) February 26, 2018
I couldn't find this stand at the show, mainly because nobody gave me the name of the company that made it, but I did find something similar. Something similar that you can see up top.
That's a Wavephone, and the guy at the stand told me it was designed to help deal with the fact Asian landline companies are being killed off by the mobile phone. Because why would you feel the need to pay for a phone if you already have an unlimited mobile plan, or VoIP services like WhatsApp, right? But it's more than just a smart device docked into a handset. It's also got a system that lets you use your landline from your mobile.
I was told you could link the base station to eight different phone numbers, and using a smartphone app any calls the landline receives will be forwarded to your handset with VoIP. Similarly, you can make calls from the landline number using your mobile phone, without even being at home. Which is kind of fascinating when you think about it. The model on display was also able to double as a Wi-Fi router.
I didn't get any pricing, but I thought it was quite clever to see the landline isn't going to roll over and die because the mobile phone usurped its dominance. Instead you have things like this trying to keep them relevant in the age of the smartphone. I wouldn't buy one for myself because I have absolutely no need for a landline, but that doesn't make it any less interesting.
Gizmodo UK is in Barcelona at MWC! Keep up with all the latest announcements from the show floor right here.