Landlines aren’t as common as they used to be, but if you’ve tried to buy a regular home phone lately, you probably know that compared to smartphones, they’re a mess of buttons and ’90s-era holdovers. Ily is a device that aims not just to replace the clunky home phone, but to integrate with the cellphones and tablets we all use to communicate with these days.
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The Ily device is billed as a "family phone." It’s stationary, with a big touchscreen that displays recent or favorite contacts, and of course lights up when you’re receiving a call. You can hook it up to your landline or just have it be reachable via app, a la FaceTime or Google Hangouts. Kids and older folks can operate it easily, making free video calls to parents or friends, sending and receiving messages and drawings, or even controlling the house’s music via a built-in Spotify player. If you need privacy, pop the colorful handset off and talk through that.
The only catch is that you’ll need the Ily app installed on phones and tablets you want to call, at least if you don’t want to use a landline and regular phone numbers. But since the app is free and cross platform, it’s not that big an ask. Ily costs $200 now if you pre-order, and the price will jump to $300 when it comes to retail in this fall.