Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Apple iPad - Your Next Desktop Phone?

September 22, 2011


I've been thinking about how the Apple iPad could really disrupt the VoIP space and become your next desktop phone. Think about the impact to companies such as Cisco, Polycom, Aastra, snom, Grandstream, and others. While these companies do offer low-end IP desktop phones, they have higher margins on the high-end large color screen IP phones that sport advanced features like RSS feeds (weather, news), collaboration, and video conferencing.

Take for instance the Aastra BluStar media phone, which sports a 13" touch screen that achieves true HD 720p video conferencing at a rate of 30 fps or the Polycom VVX 1500, which sports a a 7" color touch-screen and 2MP camera. Both IP phones are over $650, while the latest iPad 2 can be had for $450 (16GB model).


New! Plantronics MDA200

September 20, 2011


Plantronics is launching a new line of devices designed to help companies migrate from traditional desk phone-only usage to a unified communications (UC) infrastructure, including a new a multi-device adapter, the MDA200, as well as corded and wireless USB adapters.

The goal of these Plantronics "UC Enabler" products is to leverage your existing investment in traditional voice communications, such as desk phones, headsets and audio communication devices.  The MDA200 is a multi device switcher that instantly turns any corded or wireless USB headset into a multipoint headset. The MDA200 lets you answer, end, hold and switch between calls from any connected device with a press of a button. It supports Bluetooth and DECT wireless headsets.


MDA200 Wired USB headset configuration to deskphone & USB to PC

The goal of the MDA200 is so that you can use your existing corporate desktop phones, headsets, and even softphone applications, while also enabling the employee to use their existing personal or corporate-issued) Bluetooth headset paired to their mobile device.







Daring Fireball Gets It - Windows 8 Will Rival the iPad

September 15, 2011


Daring Fireball's John Gruber is as avid an Apple fan, enthusiast, zealot, freak, etc. as you will find on the Internet. Saying anything complimentary about Microsoft or Windows is akin to a Red Sox fan giving the Yankees a compliment. So it was a bit of a surprise when he amended his initial anti-Windows 8 operating system with the Metro touch UI and later stated he sees Metro / Windows 8 as a potential strong rival to the Apple iPad tablet.

Initially he wrote an article titled 'Windows 8 Fundamentally Flawed' where he wasn't too keen on Windows 8 competing with the iPad:
But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows.




HTC Unveils HTC TITAN 4.7" and 3.8" Radar Smartphones

September 6, 2011


HTC has unveiled HTC TITAN (image above), its largest screen smartphone featuring a 4.7 inch WVGA 480x800 pixel display and the smaller 3.8 inch HTC Radar, both of which run on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. The HTC TITAN sports a slim 9.9 mm (0.39 inch) aluminum shell and a whopping 8 megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture lens, dual LED flash, BSI sensor (for better low-light captures) and 720p video recording.

The HTC TITAN, previously codenamed HTC Eternity, is powered by a 1.5GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset  with 512MB of RAM and integrated GPS. The internal storage memory of the device is only 16GB. I'm really surprised such a high-end smartphone sporting a large screen and a high-end 8MP camera doesn't sport 32GB of internal storage for storing lots of photos and other media (music, videos).


Steve Jobs the Man, the Myth, the Legend: How it began.

August 26, 2011


I grew up as a computer geek in the late 70s through the 80s into the 90s admiring Bill Gates much more than Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was just "that other computer guy" whose computers were used by less than 8% of the computing world. Microsoft was #1 and Apple was #2 and I liked a winner. Steve Jobs was an also ran to Bill Gates and Microsoft, especially after Windows 95, which arguably copied much of the Macintosh ideas. Microsoft took over the desktop PC world and Apple was relegated to Apple enthusiasts.

Then a funny thing happened.


Microsoft front-facing cameras, Skype & Lync Mobile client Coming Very Very Soon

August 25, 2011

Microsoft confirmed Mango Windows Phone 7 handsets would sport a front facing camera as well as Skype integration and a mobile Lync client. The confirmation came via the TechEd event in New Zealand, where two Microsoft employees mentioned that Microsoft's Lync VoIP client also be available on other mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Symbian. But the Lync client would be first available on the soon to be launched Mango Windows Mobile 7 software.

The employees stated that the mobile Lync client would support both voice and video on Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Mobile 7, explaining "it will dependent on the device, but it will be enabled at some point at time." They pointed out that some devices don't have a front-facing camera so having a videoconference via a mobile Lync client wouldn't necessarily make sense.

The Microsoft Lync client for mobile devices is a long time coming. I was actually told by Microsoft in NYC during a live demo of Microsoft Lync that mobile versions of the Lync client would be coming out "very soon".



Home Surveillance using Dropbox Catches Possible Thief in the Act

August 20, 2011

I've been meaning to test out my home surveillance recipe which combines a standard webcam, Dropbox (hosted backup solution), iPhone & iPad mobile Dropbox app, and the free Yet Another Webcam Software (Yawcam). I went to Cape Cod last week and hired a pet sitter to watch our family's dog (Jessie) and cat (Boaz), which offered a perfect opportunity to test out my "poor man's home surveillance" setup. What I found happening in my house while on my vacation shocked me!

But first, my home surveillance recipe:
  1. Setup and install Dropbox (comes with 2GB free).



The Demise of the HP TouchPad Plus "The Value of VoIP"

August 19, 2011

I wrote this morning about HP's surrender to Apple in the PC, laptop, and tablet space. Ironically, I just happened to glance at a CDW catalog sitting on my desk and saw this:

                                                                 Click for larger view

A now defunct HP TouchPad 16GB model is prominently displayed on the back cover of the CDW catalog. The front and back cover are "prime" positions that in the publishing world command a higher premium in advertising rates. This is also sometimes true of catalogs.



The Apple Downgrade Kills HP

August 19, 2011


We all know about the S&P downgrade caused by the rating agency's view of U.S.'s debt and debt ceiling. S&P saw the writing on the wall that U.S. is on the road to insolvency and default on the debt. Well, apparently the Apple iPad tablet has had a similar downgrade affect on HP's PC, laptop, and tablet business.

Delta Airlines TV FAIL! Plus my Streaming TV over Internet Workaround

August 2, 2011

I was on a Delta Airlines flight a few months ago and was excited to see each seat has a TV on the back of each seat. Jetblue was the first airline to carry live TV on all their flights and I've loved flying Jetblue ever since. It makes the droning hours pass by much quicker if you can watch TV. So in any case, I was pretty excited to see my Delta flight had TV.

After we took off, I pressed the touch-screen to see what channels were available.


My only choices were On-Air 1, On-Air 2, Movie Trailers, and Dish Network.




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