The Europeans just do certain things better, and for a long time one of those was cordless phone standards. Now that DECT is being quickly established as the de facto standard for new handset sales in the U.S., and multiple handset support becoming an expected feature, manufacturers are having to be a bit more creative in upselling those products on something other than supported frequencies.
Before it exited the market, Thomson had taken a stab at delivering RSS feeds to phones with the InfoLink system. For a more mainstream audience, though, Panasonic is borrowing the increasingly popular notion of voice mail preview as as popularized by Apple’s "visual voicemail" in the iPhone with the ChoiceMail feature on its new cordless lineup. The higher-end models even offer a choice of font size so you can take a gander at more of the last few people to call you. The Verizon Hub also offers visual voicemail, but this may be the first time it has ever been implemented in a circuit-switched home phone.
Not that all all the cell phone manufacturers have solved this issue, but I’d like to see a way for consumers to bring their phone books forward as they switch cordless phone systems. Perhaps support for a USB drive similar to the CellStik would do the trick.