BeoCom 2 Cordless Telephone

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Manufactured: 2002 - present
Designer: David Lewis
Colours: Aluminium, Black, Yellow, Blue, Grey

BeoCom 2 is a visually provocative response to everything looking alike in today's telephone market. Its curved shape is very reminiscent of telephones used in the 1960's, particularly in 'The Prisoner' TV series on the UK's ITV network.

The release of BeoCom 2 in March 2002 was undertaken in its basic form. It was not a 'system' telephone in the first instance in that only one BeoCom 2 base could support one BeoCom 2 handset. This means there was no data exchange with other BeoCom2 handsets or BeoCom 6000 handsets or bases.

However, October 2002 saw BeoCom 2 become a full system DECT telephone, becoming part of the same 3-component solution that BeoCom 6000 uses. With this software update, customers can now 'mix and match' up to six BeoCom 6000 or BeoCom 2 handsets and chargers, using either the PSTN or ISDN base. This free software upgrade - to be carried out in dealers' showrooms - will be necessary on existing BeoCom 2 phones in order to make them fully functional as a system phone.

Ringing the changes

The unique ringing tone of BeoCom 2 was created by musical composer, Kenneth Knudsen. Born in 1946, Knudsen is a self-taught musician and since graduating from the School of Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1974, he has chosen music as his profession. Over the years he has appeared on more than one hundred records with groups and soloists including Svend Asmussen, Miles Davis, Shubidua and the Indian violinist L. Subramaniam. He has been a member of, and recorded with groups like Secret Oyster, Coronaria Dans, ANIMA, Entrance, Bombay Hotel and Heart To Heart Trio. His list of compositions includes music for ballet, film, TV productions and jingles, as well as works for string quartet, solo guitar, solo cello, cello and piano, and choir.

In recent years Kenneth Knudsen has composed and recorded music for sound installations in various architectural and artistic contexts. As a soloist Kenneth Knudsen has released a number of CDs in his own name, most recently Sounds and Silence (dacapo DCCD 9419) and Music for Eyes (dacapo DCCD 9433).

Ringing the tune

The old-fashioned bell is nowadays rarely used in modern telephones. Like other bells, the sound from it contains a lot of overtones.

This is why you can both hear it at the bottom of the garden as well as close-by, and still experience the ringing of the bell as a pleasant sound. However the bell takes up too much room and it is too expensive for modern telephones. The technology that replaces it is both cheaper and more compact, but quite different to listen to. The design group found that this development was not exactly a positive one for the user. Therefore Bang & Olufsen turned to the Danish composer Kenneth Knudsen and asked him to compose a different ringing tune.

The Beocom 2 ring sounding like like cow bells is apocryphal! As visitors to Bang & Olufsen's Struer headquarters know, there are no cows outside the Farm... only sheep! The ring of the BeoCom 2 was based on the sound of a piece of tubing falling on the floor. David Lewis was carrying a piece of metal tubing which he accidentally dropped to the ground. He thought the sound so interesting that a composer was called in to sample the sound and make a ring tone!

Knudsen chose to compose his tune as part of the design for a special telephone - the BeoCom 2 - rather than choosing an isolated, general tone, applied to all telephones. He therefore asked David Lewis, the chief designer of BeoCom 2 to make the final choice to ensure that the ringing tune was in harmony with the rest of the telephone. In this way the qualities of the ring became a harmonic part of the entire aesthetical experience of the new telephone.

To give the new ringing tune full justice the company's acoustic department developed a small loudspeaker system in its own sealed enclosure within the handset of BeoCom 2 playing through a well defined slim opening within the phone's aluminium tube.

Calling for attention

During the development of ideas for BeoCom 2, the design group expressed a wish that the ringing tune should call for attention in a polite way: a polite offer to make contact with the user, rather than a dominating, insisting demand.

But what is polite and what is not? How is this determined?

Bang & Olufsen asked the composer Kenneth Knudsen to solve this problem. Kenneth Knudsen came up with a number of solutions, from which designer David Lewis could choose.

Nearly each week of every year David Lewis drives in his car from Copenhagen to the B&O factory in Struer - a trip of 750km. During these long hours he would listen to Kenneth Knudsen’s pre-recorded tunes and discovered that in heavy traffic situations, where he was under pressure, he could clearly distinguish the pleasant call for attention, from other more annoying, 'insisting' tunes. He had therefore found the right tune for his new phone!

BeoCom 2 Cordless Telephone Product Specifications

System: DECT cordless telephone
- base (with handset): Ø 95 x H 319 mm Ø
- handset: Ø 28 x H 272 mm Ø
Weight of handset: 220 g
- base: black
- handset: aluminium, blue, black, yellow, grey
Placement of base: table / wall
Capacity (standby / talk time): 150 h / 18 h
Charging time: 5 h
- indoor: Up to 50m
- outdoor: Up to 300m
Note that Caller ID and supplementary services may need special subscription
Caller ID with date and hour: 16 numbers and names
Memory (Phonebook): 200 numbers with names
Redial: 16 numbers and names
Dialling of Caller ID number: yes
Volume control: yes
Microphone mute: yes
Display of call duration: yes
Ringer settings: yes
A/ V volume control: yes
Light in display activated by operation: yes
Optional: chargers (wall, table)

BeoCom 2 Table Base: type 0846
BeoCom 2 Wall Base: type 0847
BeoCom 2 Table Charger: type 0880
BeoCom 2 Wall Charger: type 0881

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Created: 12th December 2006
Modified: 13th February 2007

Author Notes:

My BeoWorld

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