IP phone cradles PDAs

Mitel's latest IP telephone has a built-in cradle that means once you've plugged in your PDA, there will be no escape from those phone calls

Telecoms equipment manufacturer Mitel is set to launch its latest IP appliance later this week -- one with a difference. The 5230 IP appliance combines a PDA cradle with a fully-featured LAN-connected IP phone. Users can make IP calls by selecting contacts in the PDA, and use the phone's IP connection to browse the Web or read and send emails. Phone calls destined to a particular user are automatically routed to the phone in which their PDA is docked. The 5230 has long been a mainstay of Mitel conference presentations, but should now move from slideware to reality on 1 March. Mitel's new phone uses a proprietary protocol called Minet on IP, said Alan Higgs, a Mitel technical consultant, to talk to the company's existing 3300 IP PBX. This is a system that bridges between old-fashioned TDM phone systems and is intended for companies migrating gradually to voice on IP. "The first person to get one of these will be the IT manager," said Higgs. "Other people can keep traditional phones. There is no big bang." The system shares the Ethernet network with the desktop PC, and allows the PDA to synch with the corporate email system. At an event in Barcelona on Tuesday, Mitel and Hewlett-Packard demonstrated the system being used to set up videoconferences, and talked about the possibility of further integration. Voice mails can potentially be downloaded into the PDA and listened to later, or routed to the user's email intray for unified messaging. The system will have four different versions for different PDAs, including the Palm. The only drawback is power. Although it has power-over-Ethernet for the phone unit, the PDA cannot be charged in the cradle, unless its power brick is attached to a socket in the PDA cradle/phone unit.

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