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Tandberg Hopes VoIP Desk Phone Will Spur Unified Communications

Tandberg E20 Desktop Communicator
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Tandberg E20 Desktop Communicator

The E20 features CD-quality audio, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 10.6-inch LCD screen.

Tandberg on Monday unveiled an advanced VoIP desktop phone with DVD-quality video that it's aiming at enterprise markets.

The E20 VoIP phone also features CD-quality audio, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 10.6-inch LCD screen. The company is betting that the high-resolution video feature will help drive mass personalization of video communications in enterprises.

"The E20 brings natural communication into workplace conversations with the emotional connection and understanding that is only possible through video," Tandberg CEO Fredrik Halvorsen said in a statement.

A 20-KHz speakerphone and a 10-KHz handset are standard equipment with the E20, which also has familiar IP telephony functionality, including call transfer, message waiting, and call forwarding. The E20 can also receive multimedia presentations.

The video phone is priced at $1,499 and operates with other standards-compliant office communication devices ranging from phones to videoconferencing and telepresence systems.

The phone comes with a brace of security measures, including the Advanced Encryption Standard. Taken together, the E20's features help position the phone for use in the rapidly expanding unified communications market.

Tandberg said the phone will be available in the first quarter of 2009.

High-definition videoconferencing is starting to become a frugal choice for companies that can't afford telepresence or high travel costs.

Analysts with Gartner suggest the videoconference market is in the early stages of maturity, with penetration at less than 5% in organizations, but it has "reached the point where it's a significant upgrade in terms of quality, and it's competitive enough in terms of cost, to appeal to organizations evaluating videoconferencing technology for room-based environments," said Rich Costello, research director at Gartner.

In addition to Tandberg, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Teliris, and Nortel all manufacture and market videoconferencing systems.