Last week, Trinity Convergence announced that Skype had licensed its VeriCall Edge embedded VoIP solution to create a “turnkey software bundle” that makes it easier for OEMs and ODMs to develop PC-free, standalone devices that support Skype.
Jeff Schline, Trinity’s director of marketing communications, says discussions with Skype regarding the partnership began over a year ago. “They were looking at their strategy for moving Skype off the desktop, and we offer a lot of embedded voice over IP experience,” he says. “The expertise that we offered in the standalone device market was attractive to them.”
The first result of the partnership is the Sony Mylo, a new Wi-Fi communicator that supports Skype. “Sony was working with Skype on pulling the Skype application into the Mylo, and we were basically, for lack of a better word, the glue that helped to pull Skype off a desktop environment and into a standalone device,” Schline says.
The biggest challenge in supporting VoIP without a PC, Schline says, is the lack of processing power. “On a PC, you’re talking about a pretty powerful, multi-gigahertz chip, whereas we might be running on something with a fraction of that power—so you really have to optimize the performance of the software and the processes that you’re running to make it work in a very reliable manner,” he says.
Compared to SIP-based solutions, Schline says the process of embedding Skype’s proprietary technology doesn’t present additional challenges as much as it simply presents different ones. “It’s fairly straightforward—it’s just a different architecture,” he says.
Schline says Skype’s real potential lies in its ability to add value to a wide range of devices. “At least in the U.S. market, I don’t see Skype ever being a PSTN replacement, but it can provide a lot of flexibility and mobility to the user—if I’m in a hotspot, I can pull out my Skype-enabled Mylo and make a quick phone call,” he says. “It creates a broader portfolio of products for the OEMs, and allows them to differentiate an existing product or innovate in a new product line.”
In addition to the Sony Mylo, Schline says other OEMs and ODMs are already developing Skype-enabled Wi-Fi handsets that are expected on the market before the end of the year—including a Skype phone from Taipei-based ODM Universal Scientific Industrial (USI).
Looking forward, Schline says other aspects of Trinity’s offerings, like VeriCall Edge Hi-Fidelity, have the potential to bring even more to the partnership. “We continue to talk with Skype about how we can help them innovate,” he says. “They’ve done, clearly, a very good job of creating an ecosystem and a user base, and offering a very nice and compelling user experience—but there’s a lot more opportunity out there with respect to things like video and improving the quality of voice, especially with the proliferation of broadband. As those things take place, especially the continued broadband penetration, it just creates more opportunity for everybody involved.”