Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ARCchart: Welcome to the dawn: Cicero's Smartphone VoIP client

Matt Lewis at ARCchart reviews the Qtek 8310 (HTC Tornado) together with Cicero Networks' CiceroPhone VoIP client for Window Mobile Smartphone devices. Regarding the 8310, Lewis writes it:

has the look and feel of a feature phone – it’s actually thinner than Sony Ericsson’s W800i Walkman phone, although it’s slightly longer. It packs a 1.3 mega-pixel camera, an impressive QVGA colour screen and its Window Mobile 5.0 operating system performs noticeably better than its 2003 predecessor. Wi-Fi is launched by pressing a dedicated communications button on the side of the phone and connection to an access point is fast. For example, once I’d plugged in the security settings for my access points in the office and at home, the phone regularly connected to these networks within 10 to 20 seconds of Wi-Fi being switched on.
As for the the CiceroPhone client, Lewis was able to install "the application on the phone, configured it for the PBX and was making calls in less than 10 minutes." Lewis runs through his thoughts on using CiceroPhone on the 8310. He summarizes:
There is much talk in the industry about cellular/Wi-Fi convergence, but with precious few tangible examples. My overall impression of CiceroPhone is positive, but the question is, do I see myself using it on an ongoing basis? From my perspective, battery life is the only reason I would not keep CiceroPhone permanently active on my handset, but where power is readily available, or the phone is docked to my PC or laptop, I can see several occasions when I will definitely be using it. For example, in the office while in a meeting room I can pick up calls going to my ‘desk phone’ number, and I’d be able to do the same while at home.
Lewis then discusses the great benefits while traveling:
  • My Wi-Fi calls are routed through my company’s PBX, so I appear to be in the office to people I’m calling, and I will also receive incoming calls to my desk phone.
  • The more work calls I can route through the PBX, the fewer mobile calls I have to expense at the end of the month
  • Cost! Whilst roaming overseas, I pay between $1.20 and $2.10 per minute for each call I make and about half that for each call I receive. Whilst I’m stationary at an airport, conference centre, hotspot, or in my hotel room, my cost saving of calling over Wi-Fi instead of cellular will be substantial. In the past, I’d try and use VoIP on my laptop as much as possible when travelling. But it is often inconvenient to boot the laptop just to make a call. My experience with CiceroPhone is that I can be connected to a VoIP provider or my company’s PBX within 20 seconds of activating Wi-Fi on the handset.
With more enterprises embracing VoIP PBX systems, Lewis concludes:
While the selection of Wi-Fi cellular phones is low at the moment, Nokia’s N91, due for release next month, will change this. This 3G phone boasts a 2 mega-pixel camera and a large vibrant colour screen wrapped in a package no wider or longer than the size of a credit card – and it has integrated Wi-Fi. It is likely that many buyers of this handset won’t even be interested in Wi-Fi – not initially. But this has the potential to start a natural percolation of Wi-Fi cellphones which, with a critical mass, the enterprise, and eventually the home, can take advantage of.