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Grandstream embeds Skype into their IP phone to bring Skype video to desktop

grandstreamskypephone.jpgI've admittedly not followed the IP phone market all that much since leaving my Mitel days behind 3 years ago, but Phil Wolff over at Skype Journal published a good article today outlining what Grandstream has done with integrating Skype into their GXV3140 IP phone.

Grandstream is using Skype's "SkypeKit" SDK and according to Phil developed their own Skype client in about six weeks.

In his post, Phil walks through a range of screenshots showing how the client works inside the IP phone. It's worth a read to see how Grandstream chose to integrate Skype with their set.

It's interesting to see this integration on a couple of levels:

  • DUAL CLIENTS (SIP AND SKYPE) - The IP phone is now both a regular extension on a (presumably SIP-based) IP-PBX and a client of the Skype network. Two different networks in the one device.

  • GOOD USE OF VIDEO - As people start doing more video calls (I know I have been doing more), it makes a lot of sense to take a desk phone with a camera and let it talk to other people out there on other systems (rather than just the one it is connected to).

  • TEXT CHAT? - Phil shows screenshots of Skype chat sessions and how you could chat... I'm personally not sure I would see people doing that much of it on the phone given that you have to use the numeric keypad. I would assume that an IP phone like this is on a desk where there would typically also be a computer with a real keyboard... so why not just use that keyboard for chats?

  • PERFORMANCE? - Given that it supports chats, I would be curious to see how it would actually work with someone like me who HEAVILY uses Skype chats. I've found that the degree to which I use chats pretty much kills the performance of Skype clients on, for instance, mobile devices like the iPhone.

All in all an intriguing move by Grandstream. I don't know how many folks will want to buy this phone, but the ~$250 price point is definitely competitive. Will be interesting to see... and thanks, Phil, for giving us this tour.

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