Touch-Screen Phone Marks snom's Future Platform

Thursday Jul 23rd 2009 by Ed Sutherland

New model 870 IP desk phone will run software applications, lower training costs.

"Buttons are out and touch-screens are in" appears to be the key message VoIP handset maker snom technology AG makes with its recently-unveiled model 870 for the enterprise.

The Berlin-based SIP phone developer sees the 870 "as the platform of the future, because of the intuitive touch screen technology and Wi-Fi capabilities," Mike Storella, snom director of business development, told Enterprise VoIPplanet.

Introduced July 16, the 870 features a touch-screen "dashboard" for a number of enterprise applications, along with a Wi-Fi connection and G.722 wideband HD voice.

The 4x3-inch color touch-screen will let companies "drag-and-drop," creating conference calls or transferring callers.

An integrated XML browser also permits add-on applications, ranging from a camera monitor to viewing online business data.

Storella earlier this year said a touch-screen interface was needed to avoid costly training required by button-only phones.

"I don’t want to say people are intimidated by the buttons on business phones, but it is common knowledge that when you install a new phone system you typically need a training program to introduce that phone," Storella told Enterprise VoIPplanet.

At the time, Storella referred to a touch-screen enterprise phone as "a natural progression." The comment came as snom introduced the $900 MeetingPoint touch-screen conference phone capable of handling up to 10 users. The $349 model 870 permits up to five conference call participants.

However, touch-screen features are not the only addition to snom’s newest VoIP handset. Like rival Avaya, who released the 9670G desk phone complete with third-party applications that could be added to the device, the snom 870 includes both integrated and external applications, via the built-in XML browser.

When first unveiled at Germany’s CeBIT conference earlier this year, snom predicted the 870 would retail for more than $419. However, the company cited improved manufacturing efficiencies for the eventual lower price.

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