Today saw the official launch of Counterpath’s newest soft phone offering; Bria iPhone Edition. Following not long after the announcement of Bria 3.0 for Linux, Bria iPhone Edition extends their platform support to include all the major desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) and now one of the hottest smart phone & tablet platforms, Apple’s iOS.
While initially a consumer phenomenon, there’s little doubt that the iPhone is gaining ground in enterprise settings. That an enterprise can look to a single vendor for a soft phone solution across it’s entire scope of activities is profoundly attractive. It simplifies roll-out, and ensures a consistent end-user experience.
A reliable SIP client on a smart phone can provide close integration of the mobile workforce into a corporate IP-PBX in ways that traditional find-me/follow-me just can’t touch. It would easy to see Pixel Power recommending Bria iPhone Edition to our iPhone equipped staff, advising them on its use to call overseas by way of our OnSIP hosted PBX. We’d be done with trans-Atlantic long distance charges on cellular bills!
Much of what makes a soft phone appealing to the enterprise may have some reach into carriers as well. How much appeal would there be to Vonage or Comcast to offer their residential customers access to cheap, or even free domestic calling on-the-go from a mobile device? It could be a new way to formulate a triple- or quad-play.
Since the soft phone on the mobile device is using the 3G data plan for connectivity it’s much like a femto-cell. The cost of carrying the call is off-loaded onto what is effectively the customers own bandwidth. Well, bandwidth that they’re already paid for from the cellular provider!
Add to this the fact that mobile voip seems poised to see greater acceptance in consumer space, and Bria iPhone Edition makes even more sense. It’s an open-standards compliant soft phone from the class leader, conveniently available from iTunes for a paltry asking price.
In a short briefing yesterday Counterpath’s Todd Carothers explained some of their current strategy. He noted that while Bria iPhone Edition is the current release, they are also working on Android and Blackberry releases for release later in the year. That they plan to support all three of the top smart phone platforms is very interesting.
Todd further explained that they were working to make the end-user experience on each platform best of breed, taking advantage of all the each platform had to offer in each case. While I am presently carrying a Blackberry 9700 I could eventually be convinced to try a new Android handset. Given my proclivities, a wideband capable release of Bria might just be too compelling to pass up.
Over the next few months I’ll be watching for further news from Counterpath. This move into the mobile space could be a big step for them.
Incidentally, long ago when Counterpath was known as XTen, I purchased their X-Pro soft phone for Pocket PC 2002. I ran it on a Toshiba E740 PDA, which was one of the first wifi-capable PDas. That was well before the current wave of truly smart phones. How times have changed!