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Linux-powered IP videophone dials numbers from Web pages

Feb 13, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Iwatsu Electric Co. used Linux to build an IP videophone that lets users place calls by selecting numbers from web pages. The NR-IPKTV includes Opera Software's Opera for Devices browser along with an email client, and targets business users.

The NR-IPKTV business phone is one component of Iwatsu's Precot (Premium Communication Tool) product, an all-inclusive VoIP package for small offices. Computer translations from Iwatsu's Japanese-language website suggest that Precot includes an IP PBX server (pictured below) available in three options that support 16, 24, or 48 users, respectively.

16- and 48-phone Precot servers

The Precot server appears to incorporate a gateway PHS (personal handyphone system) network gateway. In addition to the browser-enabled NR-IPKTV (pictured at right), the Precot package appears to be available with handheld cordless phones, door phones, and several basic desktop models.

The NR-IPKTV is based on a Freescale i.MX21 processor, a power-stingy ARM9 SoC (system-on-chip) generally found in mobile devices. A full multitasking Linux-based operating system runs on the processor, according to Freescale, enabling users to browse the web while videoconferencing or making calls. The phone exploits the i.MX21's media engines for H.263, MPEG-4 video, JPEG, eliminating the need for separate DSPs to handle G.711 compression and echo cancellation, the chip vendor says.

On the software side, the NR-IPKTV uses a customized version of Opera Software's Opera for Devices browser, which is available “pre-integrated” with Freescale's i.MX processors. According to Opera, the browser was enhanced with “phone-to-tag” support said to enable users to place calls by simply selecting phone numbers from web directories.

Another interesting feature of the device appears to be some kind of “desktop shopping” deal with Amazon of Japan that lets users make purchases — possibly of office supplies — from the interface.

According to Scott Hedrick, executive VP of Opera, “Iwatsu's Precot solution is breaking new ground in integrating the Web into IP telephony. Having a full Internet browser as a part of the phone allows rich integration of corporate data, Web applications, voice, and video calling. Users will be able to initiate calls directly from a Web site or the corporate intranet.”


The NR-IPKTV appears to be available now, in black or silver, as part of Iwata's Precot IP phone package.

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