CounterPath Retools X-Lite Softphone

Updated free phone application will now have its own developer community.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Jun 1, 2006
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Following on its unveiling last March of version 1.5 of its flagship softphone, eyeBeam, Vancouver, B.C.-based CounterPath Solutions today announced release of X-Lite 3.0, the newly birthed upgrade of eyeBeam's download-for-free sibling.

Like eyeBeam, X-Lite provides SIP-based phone, instant messaging, presence, and video. Much of the new "user-experience" technology developed for eyeBeam 1.5 is also incorporated into X-Lite 3.0. Key items include automated configuration and bandwidth detection, NAT and firewall traversal technologies, and on-the-fly selection and switching of voice codecs to meet changing line conditions.

While X-Lite is a two-line phone application (allowing users to put a call on Hold to take a second incoming call), it does not support the multi-party (up to six) conferencing capability of eyeBeam 1.5, nor does it include some of the more sophisticated encryption technology built into that product.


Prod interface

"In addition to relaunching X-Lite, we're going to be having a developer community attached to it," CounterPath COO, Donovan Jones told VoIPplanent.com. "We're going to be very receptive to working with companies that want to develop applications in addition to the basic telephony, video, instant messaging capabilities," he said.

Indeed the company maintains that the previous version of the application (which was launched a bit more than three years ago) has been been downloaded and used by the vast majority of companies looking to test, build and deploy SIP-based solutions. The developer's program will gain momentum over the next several months, letting users engage in real-world deployments, thus accelerating time to market of innovative multimedia and communications solutions, according to CounterPath's plans.

"Third-party developer communities have been essential in the rapid prototyping and development of applications for leading companies such as Nokia, Microsoft and IBM," said CounterPath CTO, Jason Fischl. "Through the implementation of a developer community around X-Lite, we expect to see X-Lite as the catalyst for innovative new features and concepts such as photo-sharing, music downloads, and other collaborative applications," he said.

COO Donovan Jones alluded to another strategic element behind the retooling of the free softphone. "By providing X-Lite 3.0 free of charge, we are extending the benefits of softphones to as many people as possible, as part of our commitment to driving widespread VoIP adoption," he said. Jones believes that making a product like X-Lite available helps "validate the softphone—or application—approach," and builds the VoIP market across the board.

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