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HelloSoft Demos Cellular-to-VOIP Software

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  • 1. HelloSoft Demos Cellular-to-VOIP Software ARTICLE DATE: 03.20.07 By Bryan Gardiner, ExtremeTech SAN JOSE, CA – It's an integral part of the evolving VoIP puzzle: software that allows for the seamless hand off between cellular and Wi-Fi environments, and vice versa—all without the need to tinker with settings or worry about manually switching "modes." On Monday, HelloSoft, a venture-capital funded company that caters to both ODM and silicon customers and specializes in RISC- based VoIP software, demoed its new voice call continuity (VCC) client at its headquarters in San Jose. The HelloSoft IMS/VCC client is an embedded software framework that provides signaling, media, and device management functionalities that can be used by application developers, according to the company. The client has been available for testing and licensing since February, but Monday's demonstration was one of the first instances the new technology was showcased for the public. Click here for PC Magazine's latet reviews of VOIP phones. The problem is simple and commonplace: as users enter a home or a building, the walls of the structure interfere with the cellular signal. However, with many homes and businesses signing onto broadband and deploying Wi-Fi services, a service that can translate a cellular call into a similar VOIP conversation is in high demand. HelloIMS, as the client has been dubbed, currently runs on mobile devices that use Texas Instruments' OMAP850 processor, and according to HelloSoft, lets customers to access any network, including GSM, CDMA, Wi-Fi, and EVDO using a single device and a single interface. Ron Victor, HelloSoft's general manager for marketing and business development, says the framework allows for VCC, as well as other mobile applications such as Instant Messaging, push-to-talk, group-list management, and video conferencing. "Application processors on cell phone and iPods and media devices—they all do the video stuff, music processing, streaming data, there are any number of applications built onto of them," said Frank Baffi, vice president of North American sales for HelloSoft. "When you get into DSP processors, it has to be designed by the ODM…in the silicon," Baffi said. "We have a piece of software that can be embedded into phone that happens to be another application to turn that cell phone into a VoIP phone." To date, one of the bigger challenges with dual-mode handsets has been battery life, especially when it comes to realistic market adoptability. HelloSoft's answer to that problem was to place the complete VoIP stack so
  • 2. that it runs on a single RISC processor, and as Victor explained, "eliminate the need for an additional DSP processor in the chip design." This serves the function of both preserving battery life and also allowing for dual-mode handset makers to use the DSP for highly intensive non-VoIP applications like video, according to HelloSoft. "We have compact, highly-optimized code that can fit into consumer devices," Baffi said. "Our code is less than a megabit of footprint and can fit on ARM and MIPS processors." During Monday's demo, a VoIP call was placed using a GSM dual-mode phone (running Windows Mobile 5.0 and an OMAP 1710 processor) with a Cingular SIM card to a standard VoIP phone. HelloSoft says that the VCC default settings (which can be adjusted by the user) are set to automatically swap from Wi-Fi to cellular once the signal goes below 30 percent. While call quality during the Wi-Fi portion of the call was less than ideal, the handoff from Wi-Fi to cellular (and back to Wi-Fi) did go smoothly as he walked out of Wi-Fi range and back once again. According to HelloSoft, the reason for the quality difference was that the VoIP stack was actually running on the application processor on one of the phones. Ideally, HelloSoft would embed the stack onto the processor, but that would require the device vendor giving the company access to the firmware. As far as the timelines are concerned, HelloSoft says that the VCC client is currently ready for two versions of Windows Mobile, with Symbian and possibly Linux availability later in the year. Additionally, Victor said that field trials will take place in the fourth quarter and that customers can expect to see phones with such VCC capabilities on the market late in the first quarter of 2008. "There are currently 3.4 billion voice terminals in the world," Victor said. "Currently, less than 15 million are VoIP-enabled. Within the next 10 to 15 years, we firmly believe that this entire 3.4 billion will also become VoIP units." The company is currently working with Texas Instruments, Marvell, BenQ, Intel, Skype, Atheros, Broadcom, Toshiba, and said on Monday that it would be making a major announcement in the coming weeks regarding a large U.S. carrier who will be using the company's IMS/VCC client on its handsets. 202016 Copyright (c) 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.