Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Blue Jeans Networks Makes Skype & Microsoft Lync Interoperate

November 11, 2011


I've written about and reviewed Blue Jeans Network's multipoint telepresence solution, which bridges H.323 and SIP end-points, PSTN — and even Skype, with the goal of allowing users to connect everything from high-end video telepresence systems like Tandberg/Cisco and Lifesize to web cams running Skype to desktop IP videophones from Polycom, Grandstream, Cisco, and others. I mentioned back in May they were working on adding Microsoft Lync support. Well, now they have it.

According to a TMCnet article, it is showcasing “the industry’s first video conferencing interoperability between Skype and Microsoft Lync” at The Enterprise 2.0 Conference held at Santa Clara, California, November 14-17.

The new Blue Jeans individual plans include: $69 per month individual plan for 500 minutes (less than 14 cents per minute), $99 per month individual plan for 1,000 minutes (less than 10 cents per minute), and $199 per month individual plan for unlimited minutes (as little as 1 cent per minute).

I'll have to review it again and test the Microsoft Lync to Skype interoperability. Good stuff!






iMainGo XP Portable Stereo Speaker & Case for iPad

November 7, 2011


Portable Sound Labs has a new product called the iMainGo XP (model: 11BWB04), which is a portable stereo speaker for the iPad but also doubles as a protective case. It works on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2. It sports a rechargeable lithium ion battery, so it doesn't suck the power from the iPad and delivers at least six hours of playtime between charges. What's nice is that you can play audio and view your iPad without removing it form your protective iMainGo case.

LOREX Live Connect Wireless Skype Home Surveillance Review

October 25, 2011

The LOREX Technology Live Connect LW2031 Series is a cool Skype-powered home surveillance system sporting night vision (via IR LEDs) and full color H.264 video. It can be used both for home surveillance, but also as a baby monitor due to its night vision and its portable handheld monitor sporting a color 2.4" LCD. It seemed like an interesting Skype product so I had LOREX send me a LW2031 to review.



Installation
Installing this was pretty straightforward. Two of the three devices - camera & handheld monitor use mini-USB power adapters, which are included.




It's Official - Skype Now Part of Microsoft!

October 14, 2011

Rebtel Mobile VoIP app hops between 3G and WiFi/data Networks

October 14, 2011

Rebtel just launched version 2.0 of its free iPhone app, which allows users to make and receive free international calls using WiFi, 3G, or local minutes. TechCrunch discusses Rebtels's "new proprietary technology called “KeepTalking”, which allows users to transition (mid-call, mind you) from WiFi/3G to local minutes." VentureBeat also writes about them with this headline: "Rebtel’s Voice-over-IP app hops between data/voice networks, a first". Actually, they're not the first. Back in 2010 at ITEXPO Counterpath's Todd Carothers demo'ed switching a 3G voice call automatically to WiFi and a VoIP call to the cellular network.

Andrea SuperBeam Buds Headset review

October 11, 2011

We all have come to love our stereo headsets featuring separate audio channels for both the left and right ear, but what about dual or stereo microphones? If stereo speakers makes 'sounds' better for you, why can't stereo microphones make 'sounds' better for the remote party on Skype or a 3rd party called via your mobile phone?

Well, Andrea believe their SuperBeam Buds answers that question. Featuring a unique boom-less design, each of the two earbuds has a microphone built-in enabling true binaural surround sound recordings. These two mics (one at each ear) leverage Andrea's patented Adaptive Beam Forming to cancel unwanted background noise without the need for a clunky boom mic stretching across your cheek to your lips.

The SuperBeam buds also somes with a HD USB-based sound card, which bypasses a computer's lower-grade sound card for better fidelity and gain.



Skype 2.5 for Android Adds More Video Support

September 29, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire - Hot or Not?

September 28, 2011



The Amazon Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet aims to take on the Apple iPad, but will the Fire catch fire with consumers? Amazon has loyal Kindle e-reader users, but part of its draw is the e-ink screen which works in direct sunlight for beach book reading. It's the one-up Amazon had over the iPad which doesn't do so well in direct sunlight.

The new Kindle Fire is a color screen and not e-ink, so it loses that advantage. Further, the new Kindle Fire doesn't have a camera!



New Skype for iPhone & iPad Released

September 27, 2011


Today Skype announced a new version of Skype for the iPad and iPhone with the coolest new feature being a anti-shake software algorithm that smooths the video even if you have a shaky hand. It only works with the rear-facing camera however.

Update:
I neglected to mention an important new feature in this release. The new version adds support for Bluetooth headsets, a feature that users have been clamoring for. Good timing to add BT support in the same release they're adding mobile ads.



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).


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