SyChip Morphs into SyVoice

The long-awaited world of dual-mode (cellular and VoWLAN) telephony has just jumped a quantum closer. The Plano, Texas-based firm SyChip, Inc., which over the past several years has developed a line of small-format wireless LAN adaptors for handheld computing devices, today announces a new product line, dubbed SyVoice. The flagship of SyVoice is the VWLAN7100 VoIP CSM (chip scale module), a highly integrated and virtually complete VoIP system in a single ‘package.’

Aimed at manufacturers of ‘feature’ phones, smartphones, and PDA-based phones, the VWLAN7100 is a turnkey WLAN-plus-VoIP solution that that includes all the hardware and software necessary to add VoIP and data functions to a standard cell phone. It can be integrated into a variety of mobile devices on a plug-and-play-basis. “It requires no external components; just add power and an antenna,” SyChip director of marketing Frank Ferro told Enterprise VoIP Planet.

The software package includes support for SIP 2.0, a selection of codecs, jitter buffer, call control functions, and IPSEC encryption. SyChip will provide drivers for all popular telephone operating systems, such as Windows Mobile, Rex, Symbian, and Linux.

“Think of it as a co-processor or ‘offload engine’ to handle VoIP,” said Ferro. “The module runs the entire voice call.” Phone makers “just need to find a little space on their main boards, hook up our module, and they’re in the VoWiFi business; it’s almost that easy,” he said.

Market interest in dual-mode phones is exploding, according to SyChip co-founder and senior vice president of marketing Moses Asom. The SyVoice CSM gives phone makers a great time-to-market advantage, he noted. “Dual-mode phones will let customers use a single handset in the office, at home, and on the road,” Asom observed.

As power consumption is a key issue for mobile phone use. The SyVoice engine is designed to reduce power dissipation by offloading all the functions necessary to maintain a VoIP call from the phone’s processor. The VWLAN7100 draws only 18mA of power during a call, making possible phones that provide more than five hours of talk time and 100 hours of standby. The module remains in a power-saving sleep mode when not in use.

Pricing for the VWLAN7100 module will be “below $20 in quantities of 10,000 or more,” according to Asom. “This is only about a $5 increment over the cost of the straight WLAN module (without VoIP),” he said.

In answer to an Enterprise VoIP Planet question about the availability of dual-mode phone services (dual-mode handsets have been around for a while now, but we’re unaware of any broadly available VoWiFi service), Frank Ferro noted that the necessary equipment has been available from infrastructure vendors such as Alcatel for some time, and that some carriers, including Cingular and Sprint, have recently announced dual-mode trials.

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