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Macworld Expo 2011: Altigen Communications' iFusion handset


Whenever you meet up with anyone at big conventions like last week's Macworld 2011, you eventually ask what they've seen lately that's cool. Everyone wants to know what the hottest item on the floor is, the most interesting thing to see or check out at the show. Last week, more often than not, my answer was the iFusion from Altigen Communications. Like the iRetrophone, the iFusion is a full-scale handset with an iPhone dock on it, and it works via Bluetooth with your iPhone to either let you speak through the handle or have a speakerphone conversation. Altigen is a huge phone provider, and it also has an official business phone app on the App Store that allows for separate intranet extension dialing (and a bunch of other business-based features), but it decided to build and sell this handset just for the heck of it.

iFusion works with any app that supports Bluetooth, including the built-in Phone app, Skype, Line2 and any others. There's even a USB cord in the back, so the phone can also sync through the handset. I got to play with it at Macworld, and iFusion is nice and strong; it's a little light, but very durable and well-made. Altigen told me that it was aiming for an Apple aesthetic with the device, and while it doesn't quite get there, it does look good.

iFusion is US$169 and will be available for sale in April. I bet there will be plenty of businesses aiming to buy a bunch of these, but I wouldn't mind having one for my own home. I haven't owned a landline for years now, and it would be nice to have a handset again.

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