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Posts from February 2012

CounterPath Rolls Out RCS-e Flavored Bria Mobile Softphone at Mobile World Congress

Client CounterPath is making sure no stone is unturned when it comes to keeping it's lead in the softphone category with carriers. Their latest news is all around the RCS-e standard that the GSMA has embraced.

Basically, this give the mobile operators a softphone application that is focused on the use of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) for providing mobile services. By enabling rich communication services such as instant messaging, video sharing and buddy lists to mobile users, regardless of device or network RCS-e provides the carriers with a counter to Skype and other Over The Top service that have been siphoning minutes and other revenue generators away from them.


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Skype on Windows Mobile Coming

If you have a Windows Mobile phone you may want to add Skype to your apps library. The beta is out and come April the full and final version will be made available reports the Verge. The news came out to coincide with Microsoft's news about new smartphones being unleashed here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The app takes advantage of the highly regarded Metro user interface and the latest new Windows Mobile powered phones like the new Nokia Lumias. 

This is not Skype's first foray with Microsoft, but the last versions were years ago and now with ownership of Skype by the Redmond, WA giant, the time to be more visible on the Windows Mobile devices has arrived.

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David Yedwab-Sorry To See You Go

I didn't know David as well as Rich Tehrani or Fred Knight, both of whom have written wonderful eulogies to him over the weekend, but what I can say is he was a gentleman and as industry analysts went, David was one of those who knew his stuff and didn't shout about it. He just did it right, all the time.

I started running into David at VON and IT Expo events many years ago. He always had a kind word, a smile and would reach out to me to talk about things. He also always took time to have briefings with my long list of clients.

David did his thing without a lot of flash. But he was a nice person through and through. Like with the passing some years back of Russell Shaw the VoIP and IP communications community has seen another one of the really good guys go before their time.

RIP David.

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Boingo Grabs Airports in Portugal

Since I'm heading to Portugal I was happy to read about yet another leading airport group's operations for WiFi being taken over by Boingo, a former client whom we worked with up through their IPO period.

While Boingo users previously could roam onto the Portugal Telecom run hotspots, now it standardizes things and means that people with Boingo apps on their mobile phones, tablets and laptops will have an easier time logging on.

Sadly, for me, the transition won't happen that quickly, but since I'll be back in Portugal again later in the year, I'm still excited with the news.

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The Tattered (Wireless) Web

LightSquared my be down for the count. While not a Joe Frazier or Larry Holmes style KO, it's looking more and more that the dream of multi-billionare hedge fund leader Phillip Falcone, may be going the way of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter or or worse, Sonny Liston. Yesterday the FCC said "no way" and now the ripple effects are being felt.

But when you weave a tattered web, you also have to worry about who will get caught up in it, and it looks like the possibility of Sprint having to return $65 million in advance money from Falcone's venture is also going to happen.

So what may happen? Anyone's guess, but with AT&T still stinging from their loss of the T-Mobile deal, my first bet is that Falcone is calling Randall Stephenson up and saying "I've got spectrum...wanna make a deal?"

Oh where is Howard Cossell when we need him...I can see Larry King now just wanting to organize that match up.

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Sunday Morning Post for February 12 2012

Woke up in Paris after a great Saturday doing not much of anything that was really work beyond email and some thinking about the next few weeks ahead. I shared some thought on my Paris Saturday over on WineScene.

My morning started with news that rocked my world. One in a great way, the other with a touch of sadness. The great news is that pal Joanna Stern, most recently of The Verge is on her way to ABC as Technology Editor. Huge news. Many will recall how Joanna and I had a voice call on GoGo with her on the plan when they said it couldn't be done. It garnered press coverage from many outlets including USA Today...HA!

Then the sad news hit, found from Joanna's Twitter feed. Whitney Houston had died. A few weeks ago it was Etta James, who if you don't know her music, you're missing out on the woman may have been the living version of Janis Joplin-both in lifestyle and soulful, stomach belting R & B.  I won't get into the speculation as to why, but over time Whitney was without a doubt a musical talent who came from the Gospel church chiors all the way to the pop mainstream. She was a chanteusse, model, actress, but above all she was a performer who turned heads, made you look up and listen. Her style was souful, and yet she could be a pop diva. The world is losing our idols with too much frequency these day. The lifetyle of the world is of pop rock and sports, brought on by endless pressures to perform, to be better the next time out than the last time and most of all to see the kind of burn out/flame outs we're seeing are not ending here. Michael Jackson, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison (who is buried just up the hill here in Paris) Janis Joplin and how many others all died too young. Somewhere there's a chior up in heaven. Janis and Etta got a new singing partner yesterday, but for those of us who have either lived in or around the worlds of sports and entertainment, and now technology with gamers and so called "rock star" programmers, we're going to see these "before their time" departures happen in technology too. It doesn't matter that the past few years of Whitney's career were wrought with the downers and troubles. All those people who she was employing should have known better.

Lesson to be learned. Look after those who look after you.

I'm off to lunch with colleagues and friends here in Paris...a glass of wine is in order. A toast to Joanna and a moment of silence with Whitney. 

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8x8 Celebrates 25 Years

8x8 has a birthday. They're now 25 years old. The company has had a lot of transitions, but the core to their business is a patent portfolio that puts things inside real time communications hardware and software. 

Here's a list of their milestones:

8x8 Highlights and Milestones:

1987 - 8x8 founded under the name Integrated Information Technology

1990 - Company establishes itself as a leading manufacturer of semiconductors used in embedded videoconferencing and videophone products

1990 - Bryan Martin hired as “Member of Technical Staff” and ultimately becomes CEO in 2002

1992 - Patented Vision Processor Chip chosen by AT&T for use in next generation Picturephone videophone

1994 - Developed the Video Compression Processor (VCP) chip which obtained 90% share of the videoconferencing market

1996 - Developed and marketed its first consumer videophone for regular phone lines under the ViaTV brand name

1997 - 8x8 goes public and shortly after develops a family of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) chips and software

2002 - 8x8 begins offering VoIP service direct to consumers under the Packet 8 Brand name, and quickly grows to become the second largest standalone VoIP services provider in the industry

2004 - 8x8 launches the first VoIP E-911 service; introduces DV326 Desktop Consumer VideoPhone and 8x8 Virtual Office hosted PBX phone system

2007 - 8x8 Virtual Office ranked #1 hosted VoIP phone system choice by U.S. based small and medium sized businesses by telecom research firm AMI Partners

2009 - 8x8 expands business telephony offerings into unified communications and introduces 8x8 Virtual Meeting web conferencing service

2010 - 8x8 launches Virtual Office Mobile iPhone app and Virtual Office Pro unified communications solution for businesses; acquires managed hosting service provider Central Host

2011 - Reaches milestone of over 25,000 business subscribers; acquires cloud hosting service provider Zerigo and cloud contact center provider Contactual; introduces flat-rate Virtual Room cloud videoconferencing solution with Polycom

2012 - Announces record quarterly revenue of $23.3 million (31% year over year increase) and net income of $2.6 million (73% year over year increase) 


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Three in UK Simplifies PrePaid on for Unlocked iPhone Users

I needed to pick up a local SIM for a friend visiting the UK in a month or so, and the carrier of choice for me when it comes to a single country SIM in the UK is usually 3.

Their plain language approach and, now a new 15 pound a month plan for voice--300 minutes, text-3000 and all you can eat data for 30 days, is just plain, dumb, simple.

Buy the pack at a 3 shop, dial 444 on your iPhone, wait five minutes and your connected. Honestly, this is the type of plan AT&T needs to offer in the USA. Uncomplicated. No lines to wait in, no store check-in, just ask for what you want and go.

Deskphone or Tablet? You Decide

Yesterday the Medill Reports Ben Shamisso penned a piece regarding the war of attrititon between the legacy deskphone and their looming replacements-smartphones and tablets. In the story both CounterPath's SVP Todd Carothers and I were quoted.

My view is centered around the concept of utility. People will simply get more use out of a tablet based communications hub than the standard desk phones. It one of the reasons why Cloud TC and Panasonic both are making desk phones based upon the Android OS. An iPad in a Gorrilla stand makes for a very good desk phone already. So will Android tablets too, as long as you have the right software, ala Bria from CounterPath or even Skype. Others will be in the fray soon too so watch this space for more on this emerging market sector.