Nero SIPPS Connect VoIP softphone

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Nero SIPPS Connect VoIP softphone

I wrote about Nero's entry into the VoIP space a long time ago and was actually taken aback when I read Nero's press releases espousing their VoIP functionality. I was like "Huh? What? My favorite CD/DVD burning software company is in the VoIP space?" Today, Nero is introducing SIPPS Connect, a VoIP softphone application with voice, IM, and video built-in. Before you start thinking "Gee, just what we need - another softphone client", I should point out some of the the interesting key features of the Nero softphone that do set it apart from some of the others.

First, Nero's SIPPS Connect is based on open standards, including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Nero leverages its experience with compression technology to
provide top-quality MPEG-4 and H.263 video streams for excellent quality videoconferencing.

"Voice over IP is growing rapidly, and changing the way people view personal communication," says Udo Eberlein, President of Nero Inc. "We've proven SIPPS with major internet telephony service providers and corporate clients, and now we're bringing it to market in a form that anybody can use and enjoy."

SIPPS Connect covers the basics such as voicemail, 3-way group calling, caller ID, call waiting, and call forwarding to a land line or cell phone. Additionly, SIPPS Connect can record and play back an unlimited number of calls, and users can even connect to SIPPS from across the Internet to check their voice mail remotely. A Quick Dial pad makes calling one-click simple. SIPPS Connect can synchronize with the Contacts list in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

One interesting feature is that it lets users pick their favorite tunes to be their on-hold music, which harkens me to my recent anti-ringback tone blog entry. Nero also encrypts the calls for added security. According to Nero they've eliminated the need to juggle between multiple IM accounts. SIPPS Connect provides an IM module able to work on a multitude of messaging networks and can also run conferences allowing users on multiple IM systems to converse in one shared chat space.

With SIPPS Connect, users can get their own free phone numbers, and like most other softphone clients, all calls to other SIPPS clients are free. Nero has partnered with service provider SIPTalk to provide users with various calling plans including a $19.95/month unlimited calling plan to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. (check out the other SIPTalk/Nero plans)

Participating retailers now carry Nero SIPPS Connect for $29.99, featuring two SIPPS licenses and a high quality microphone headset. Single-license ESD pricing is $24.99 and can be downloaded directly from Nero at www.sippstar.com.

I should also mention that Nero SIPPS also provides a TAPI interface and Outlook synchronization.

My only complaint? It's a retail softphone client requiring you to dole out some cash to use it. Is the world ready for a licensed softphone client to be sold on retail shelves? I'm honestly not sure about that. Also, why doesn't Nero offer a 30-day trial of SIPPS Connect like they do with their popular Nero Burning ROM software? I still think the VoIP softphone client is very much a "try it and if we like it we'll use it" marketplace. Consumers are not going to pay for a VoIP softphone client that they can't at least try first. One of the main reasons why Skype was so successful was that it was a free download.

Of course, Skype's model was to make money on SkypeIn and SkypeOut while Nero is strictly a software company making money on software licenses. Maybe I'm wrong and the market is ready to pay for good VoIP software with high quality video, interoperable IM built-in, and encryption and others bells & whistles without first trying the software for free. Feel free to prove me wrong by posting your thoughts in the comments.



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