Featurephones

The Featurephone range was sourced from around the world, to meet the customer demand for special features not yet available in the standard Australian phones. The strategy was something of a stopgap measure and many of the phones disappeared as the standard Telecom phones started to incorporate the same features.

 

GONDOLA . A Portuguese-made version of Western Electric’s highly successful Trimfone. It was offered in wall and table versions, in Brown, Ivory or Avocado (called Yellow in some brochures). It was a successful seller at under $100. It was let down somewhat by a small electromechanical bell (electronic ringers had not been developed yet) and this proved to be its weakest point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOUCH-A-MATIC MEMORY . Another Western Electric design, this was one of the first phones to have a built-in push-button memory. It was popular, although never a big seller at prices between $250 and $150.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIGITEL . From Kristian Kirks in Denmark, this phone was offered in three versions: handsfree (Digitel Conference), memory (Digitel Memory), and on-hook dialling (Digitel Monitor). It featured interchangeable faceplates in White, Orange, Green, Charcoal or Yellow. These plates were installed to the customer’s choice in the Telecom Office at the point of sale. At prices ranging from $149 to over $300 they were not particularly popular although their trendy looks did attract some favourable comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOMAD. This early cordless phone was introduced in the mid-1980s to combat a number of non-approved technically inferior phones already on the market. Problems had been experienced with these phones interfering with other radio frequencies, and with the total lack of secrecy between similar brands of phones in the same neighbourhood. The new Nomad overcame these problems and set the standard for other phones to follow. It was extremely well built , and correspondingly expensive, but at least one I know of is still working today.

 

 

 

 

 

VERSATEL . From Nitsuko, the producer of the N series Commander, this phone was intended as a high-end executive phone. It had handsfree operation, 40-number memory, etc. In spite of its high price (between $450 and $350) it sold quite well and proved to be solid and well made.

 

 

 

 

PURSUIT . A basic phone with pushbutton dialling and a ten-number memory, in the increasingly popular flat format. The price eventually dropped to $69 , and at this price it sold reasonably well. It was a rather cheap-looking phone which discolored easily if exposed to sunlight, but overall it was fairly reliable.

 

 

 

 

TRANSIT. This phone came from Siemens. It was offered in basic (Transit Courier), handsfree (Transit Conference at left), or handsfree with 10-number memory (Transit Conference+10) models, in a choice of Cracked Wheat or Burnt Rye (as shown). With the Courier priced as low as $79 it sold well. It turned out to be exceptionally durable, comfortable and I still have one in use today. Siemens offered it worldwide in a wide range of colours. Red, green, blue, and marbled finishes are known, although the marbled finishes are probably due to factory staff playing around with the moulding compound rather than being a production run.

 

 

 

 

 

LYNX . Designed as an ideal second phone, this basic but reasonable-quality phone was not a big seller. The keypad was an unimpressive rubber mat, the ringer was too quiet and the styling was pretty ordinary. It was also somewhat overpriced at around $150, and most customers preferred the Gondola instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLIPPHONE . A compact desk phone intended to occupy the same market niche as the Ericofon, which had by now been discontinued. It was available in Espresso Brown (as shown) or Antique White, and sold for around $49 to $69. At this price it proved quite popular as a second phone. Its one weakness was its light weight. The curly line cord could pull it off a table in spite of the rubber feet. It could be wall-mounted in an optional “holster” which is now quite rare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Telecom History

To Basic Rental Phones

To Obsolete Phones

To 800 Series

To Other 800s

To Ericofon

To WallFone

To TouchFone

To Multicom

To Decorator Phones

To ComputerPhone

To T200

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