The T200 Series
Although the final Touchfones had proved adequate to the job , they were becoming a little dated. They were comparatively expensive to make, somewhat overengineered (if that is a defect) and did not take much advantage of newer forms of electronics and construction now available. The decision was taken to develop a new phone. It should be a universal wall / desk model, should allow for minimal maintenance (to be made up for by low unit cost) and should be readily adaptable for export. The result was the T200.
The first version was a pleasant surprise. Staff had been expecting a rather cheap and nasty product, but the new phone was solid and well balanced. It was in white, not grey! The handset and phone body were for most purposes sealed units - only the cords were readily replaceable. Its only weakness was its chiclet keypad, which was like pressing rubber - you could feel that you had pressed the keys, but you were never quite sure. The keypad was also dreadfully prone to static electricity, which could wreck the phone quickly.
After a year or so and a careful redesign the Mark 2 was issued. It had a more convincing keypad with a semi-mechanical switch under the keys. The keys were rubber-covered which stopped the fingers slipping onto adjacent keys. When a key was pressed, the phone beeped to signify that it had made contact. (This was called a "confidence tone").
Initially the phone was only issued in white, but after a trial period a further range of colors was made available though commercial retailers, but not through Telecom Phone Shops. This politically inspired move signalled the end for Telecom's shops, and shortly afterwards the company started mass redundancies. The final color range is obscure, because some colors were not issued in every state and there is evidence that a number of "custom" colors were being produced by staff at the factory where the mouldings were made. The phone will be found branded T200S (for Sale) or T200R (Rental only). Otherwise they are identical.
I have seen a collection of nearly twenty different models and colours, and it is obvious that the T200 will have its place in collections.