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Panasonic's Conference Speakerphone packs a SIM card

Any of us blessed (or cursed) to spend the majority of our waking hours theoretically locked in a corporate boardroom know very well the form and function of a desktop speakerphone, but Panasonic and Willcom and teaming up to deliver a rendition that relies on cellular technology rather than landlines. Oddly enough, it appears the forthcoming Conference Speakerphone will actually pack a SIM card, speaker, several built-in microphones, a mobile microphone, and even an SD slot for users to easily record conversations. Actually, if someone utilized a third-party battery pack, this entire unit could be taken on the go and used as what would quite possibly be the world's largest cellphone of the decade. The appeal is that Willcom will reportedly be offering a "flat-rate talk plan" that allows companies to equip their employees with these machines and then communicate gratis, similar to many mobile networks with free in-network calling. Although the Conference Speakerphone is slated to ship this Spring, the value here is definitely questionable, as picking up a numerous ¥100,000 ($828) devices can seriously squash that meager IT budget.

[Via DigitalWorldTokyo]