VoIP Week in Review from TMCnet: Certified Devices
TMCnet VoIP Minute Watch Columnist
The first week of the New Year was filled with announcements made during The 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which took place in Las Vegas from VoIP providers teaming up with technology manufacturing giants to certify multiple devices including wireless phones, headsets, and ATA adapters. Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google all had major presence and announcements at CES as well.
Wireless phone manufacturer Ascalade Communications Inc. announced on Monday that it signed a development agreement with VoIP service provider Skype Technologies S.A. in order to develop multiple Skype-certified telecommunication products including wireless VoIP phones. The first multi-product deal device has already begun shipping to a major global networking company and is available in North America and Europe. It is part of Ascalade's Companion series of PC-based VoIP cordless phones. The device allows users access to their Skype contact lists, make Skype calls, change their online presence and access voicemail away from their PC. The phone features a color screen, speakerphone, polyphonic ring tones, and caller line identification and uses Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) technology. DECT enables uses a digital cordless technology that does not interfere with 2.4GHz devices in the home and office.
A partnership announced on Tuesday between photography giant Eastman Kodak Company and VoIP service provider Skype Technologies S.A. will enable us to gather together online and share our digital photos just as if we're sitting in our living room even if we're in different parts of the globe. The companies teamed up to unveil the latest in digital storytelling, the KODAK Photo Voice. The new service combines live voice and online photo sharing. The beta version of KODAK Photo Voice, the first Skype-certified online photo sharing experience, is now available as a free download online.
Mobile phone headset manufacturer Aliph of San Francisco, California introduced on Thursday the Skype-certified Jawbone PC Edition VoIP communications headset. The device integrates Aliph's military-grade audio processing and product design to eliminate background noise. The device has a metal outer edge that protects the internal electronics, while the inside surface is made of medical-grade plastic to provide a comfortable, soft, and smooth feel on the skin. Jawbone's docking and storage mechanism allows it to fit in a user's pocket enabling better portability.
Skype announced a partnership with Philips Electronics yesterday to introduce a new Internet phone, the VoIP321. The new cordless phone has dual functionality so consumers can make free Skype calls, as well as ordinary landline calls. The Internet phone operates on Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephone (DECT) technology. This technology enhances the sound and security available in a cordless phone.
The VoIP service provider also made news yesterday when it teamed up with NETGEAR Inc to develop a suite of new products, including the world's first Skype wireless mobile telephone and a router equipped to optimize Skype. NETGEAR's Skype WiFi phone will work wherever a consumer is connected to a wireless Internet access point, be that in a home, office, cafe, open public hotspot, or any open municipal wireless access point being deployed worldwide. The NETGEAR phone is pre-loaded with Skype’s software, ready out-of-the-box to use with a wireless network. Pricing and availability info for the Skype WiFi phone will be released during this year's first quarter.
Internet access product manufacturer USRobotics announced on Thursday its introduction of the USR9610, a Skype-certified USB Internet Speakerphone. The device is the newest in the company's family of Skype-certified products, which also includes the USR9600, a USB Internet handset. The speakerphone will be available through resellers later this month and is priced at $49.99 (MSRP).
USRobotics' spokesperson Gena Mazzeo gave the VoIP Minute Watch a sneak peek at what the company is planning to release during this year's first quarter. It turns out that through its partnership with Skype, USRobotics is planning to introduce a USB voice switch, or double-port ATA adapter, that will enable users to forward Skype calls to cell phones by using an "intelligent routing" technology. The device seems like a must have for VoIP service subscribers in case of a power or Internet access failure.
VoIP service provider Vonage announced on Tuesday that it teamed up with wireless electronics manufacturer Uniden America Corporation to retail the Uniden UIP1869V, a 5.8GHz digital expandable cordless broadband phone system configured with Vonage's phone service. The phone is now available in CompUSA and Fry's Electronics. The device bundles Texas Instruments' (TI) TNETV1060 VoIP chipset, enabling consumers to carry out conversations though applications compatible with the Vonage service. It has a retail price of $189.99 and offers a $50 mail-in rebate to consumers after sixty days of service.
Vonage announced a partnership with networking systems provider D-Link on Tuesday that will enable both companies to develop a co-branded broadband telephone adaptor configured with Vonage's phone service. The Vonage-enabled D-Link VTA is a small, fully portable stand alone adapter that has the capability of supporting two broadband telephone lines. The D-Link Vonage co-branded VoIP gateway enables consumers to carryout conversations through voice applications that are compatible with Vonage's service. The initial VoIP telephone adapter will be based on Texas Instruments' TNETV1015 VoIP gateway chipset.
The Minute also heard from networking hardware company Linksys, who introduced a line of products for VoIP providers on Thursday comprised of an SIP-based IP PBX/Key system, a range of IP desktop phones and an Analog Gateway for connection to the Public Switched Telephone Network. The products seem to be ideal for enterprises with up to sixteen users. According to the company's news release, the new products will complement the recently announced Linksys One solution. Linksys One integrates voice, video, and other applications for small businesses with 5-100 users. The LVS series was developed to address the residential and very small business with 1-4 users that may grow to 16.
There you have it folks, another exciting week in the VoIP industry! Stay tuned and read the VoIP Minute Watch for the latest news…
Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet and Internet Telephony magazine. To see more articles by Johanne Torres, please visit Johanne Torres' columnist page