Microsoft Parades VoIP On Windows CE

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said the upcoming version of its Windows CE operating system for handheld devices, set-top boxes and mobile phones will include features for voice over IP, and

April 1, 2004

2 Min Read
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Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday said the upcoming version of its Windows CE operating system for handheld devices, set-top boxes and mobile phones will include features for voice over IP, and paraded a list of manufacturers currently building VoIP devices with the platform.

A beta version of Windows CE 5.0, previously code-named Macallan, is scheduled to be available on the Redmond, Wash., company's developer site this week, with the final product scheduled for release during the summer.

Apparently trying to build momentum for the upcoming release, Microsoft at the Spring VON 2004 IP communications conference in Santa Clara, Calif., listed nearly a dozen equipment manufacturers developing VoIP phones and devices using Windows CE. The vendors include LG Electronics and NEC Infrontia Corp.

VoIP technology enables voice communications over the Internet to replace more expensive traditional telephone services, particularly with international calls. Corporations have been adopting the technology in private networks to cut communication costs between offices in different regions.

Because companies use private circuits, they are able to attain a higher quality of service than what consumers would experience using cellular phones, handheld computers or PCs attached to the public Internet."Typically, the quality for consumers using VoIP really isn't there yet," Phil Solis, analyst for ABI Research, said. "On a good day, it may sound fine. But on a typical day, if there's lots of Internet traffic, you might have latency and jitters. Your call can range in sound from pretty OK to low-volume garble."

Nevertheless, manufacturers are adding VoIP support in handsets for people looking to save minutes on subscription plans by making calls through Wi-Fi hotspots, which are wireless Internet connections popping up in airports, cafes, hotels and other public places. Even this use, however, is expected to be limited.

"The typical consumer has a pretty big bucket of minutes now, so it wouldn't be a really big savings," Solis said.

Among the manufacturers selling VoIP phones on Windows CE is Inter-Tel Integrated Systems Inc., which recently shipped the Inter-Tel Model 8690.

VoIP features Microsoft plans to include in Windows CE 5.0 are multiparty audio conferencing, Exchange Server integration with contact search and calendar capabilities and unified messaging.0

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