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Monday, January 23, 2006

Convergence - A tiny example

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Of all the many exciting things at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the other week (www.cesweb.org) the one that caught my attention was one of the smallest. It is a USB 'phone drive', from Korean company Iocell (www.iocell.com), which automatically (plug and play) runs VOIP when it is plugged in to the USB port of a computer. (See photo below).

It's yet another example of the many facets of 'convergence' (in this case between phone 'device' and consumer electronics, although there's really no traditional 'phone' here at all), that will increasingly affect the telco industry if it can't move fast into an IMS-like world. While IMS architectures take their time to be built, much can be done to create compelling service propositions, leveraging new IT and IP technologies, if the operators can think out-of-the-box (the theme of this blog, of course!!).

We'll feature more examples of convergence (big and small) on this blog in the coming months, as part of a new 'Register of Convergent Services' we're launching to complement our 'IMS Deployments Register'. More information email me at editor@ims-insider.com.

Here's the full press release:

'IOCELL Unveils the "PhoneDrive," Portable USB Device for VoIP

LAS VEGAS, NV -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 01/06/2006 -- CES Conference -- IOCELL, leading provider of USB and the C2 platform, announces the release of its PhoneDrive, a USB type device which allows users to make digital phone calls over the Internet. The extraordinary PhoneDrive device with USB flash memory connects you with anyone from anywhere. The PhoneDrive is a unique device that allows you to place calls worldwide from a PC or laptop with Internet connection. Use the PhoneDrive to call any type of phone in the world at a fraction of the cost of traditional telephones all with amazing sound quality and the additional feature of flash memory.

"The PhoneDrive is a revolutionary product that will allow people to communicate with one another from anywhere in the world at a much more affordable cost compared to using traditional LAN line and mobile phones," explains Byung S. Kang, CEO of IOCELL. "More and more people are beginning to use the VoIP to make phone calls; however, to make calls over the Internet one needs to use routers and bulky phones. The PhoneDrive can fit inside your pants pocket and be carried anywhere."

In addition to its VoIP feature, the PhoneDrive can also be used to store files and information, similar to traditional flash memory devices with capacities of 128 MB to 2 GB. The PhoneDrive is portable and very easy to install and use with its plug and play feature with no installation of drivers required.

The PhoneDrive offers excellent voice quality with a built-in sound card and retractable ear phone set that delivers high-performance sound. Other features of the PhoneDrive include a Softphone Menu which displays Caller ID, address, rate, current date and time information. For protection of the product, the Internet telephony (VoIP) software program in the PhoneDrive is not visible and indelible since it is loaded in the hidden area of the flash memory where the operating system cannot access.

IOCELL is preparing the PhoneDrive for distribution in the U.S. through VoIP service providers and partners.

The Editor

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