Touch-Screen Phone Marks snom's Future Platform

New model 870 IP desk phone will run software applications, lower training costs.

By Ed Sutherland | Posted Jul 23, 2009
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"Buttons are out and touch-screens are in" appears to be the key message VoIP handset maker snom technology AG makes with its recently-unveiled model 870 for the enterprise.

The Berlin-based SIP phone developer sees the 870 "as the platform of the future, because of the intuitive touch screen technology and Wi-Fi capabilities," Mike Storella, snom director of business development, told Enterprise VoIPplanet.

Introduced July 16, the 870 features a touch-screen "dashboard" for a number of enterprise applications, along with a Wi-Fi connection and G.722 wideband HD voice.

The 4x3-inch color touch-screen will let companies "drag-and-drop," creating conference calls or transferring callers.

An integrated XML browser also permits add-on applications, ranging from a camera monitor to viewing online business data.

Storella earlier this year said a touch-screen interface was needed to avoid costly training required by button-only phones.

"I don’t want to say people are intimidated by the buttons on business phones, but it is common knowledge that when you install a new phone system you typically need a training program to introduce that phone," Storella told Enterprise VoIPplanet.

At the time, Storella referred to a touch-screen enterprise phone as "a natural progression." The comment came as snom introduced the $900 MeetingPoint touch-screen conference phone capable of handling up to 10 users. The $349 model 870 permits up to five conference call participants.

However, touch-screen features are not the only addition to snom’s newest VoIP handset. Like rival Avaya, who released the 9670G desk phone complete with third-party applications that could be added to the device, the snom 870 includes both integrated and external applications, via the built-in XML browser.

When first unveiled at Germany’s CeBIT conference earlier this year, snom predicted the 870 would retail for more than $419. However, the company cited improved manufacturing efficiencies for the eventual lower price.

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