WorldGate Eyes Videophone’s Future4/24/2005 8:00 PM Eastern
WorldGate Communications Corp.’s Ojo videophone isn’t yet available in stores, but the product has already been featured in several popular TV shows, including Fox’s 24 and ABC’s Alias.
Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and his Counter Terrorism Unit team have been using Ojo to speak face-to-face each week since the fourth season of the program premiered in January.
“We’re getting extensive publicity from it,” WorldGate CEO Hal Krisbergh said of the 24 product placements. “They want to use a futuristic product. The only problem is it’s a today product, not a futuristic product.”
U.S. consumers are expected to get their first crack at the Ojo phones, priced at $799, within the next month, when high-end retailers will begin stocking them. WorldGate announced last week that it had begun “mass production” of the Ojo phones, to be distributed by Motorola Corp.
Krisbergh acknowledged the initial $799 price tag on the phones may make it a tough sell to some consumers, especially since they would need to buy at least two in order to have a video conversation with friends or family.
But Krisbergh said that he expects broadband providers, including cable operators and telephone companies, would eventually subsidize part of the cost for the phones for their customers.
WorldGate announced last July that it had received an initial $5 million order for Ojo phones from Motorola.
Taiwanese manufacturer Mototech is producing the videophones for WorldGate and Motorola.
Motorola also plans to accept orders for Ojo videophones on its Web site (www.motorola.com/ojo).