Aug 19th, 2009

We’ve seen the consumer targeted Android Hub concept and although it hasn’t yet come to fruition, we’re sure it will. Take that same “next generation deskphone” idea to the business world and you have what Cloud Telecomputers is calling their Android-based Glass platform.

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If you can’t read the fine print, the prototype model has an 8″ touchscreen, tap to dial, Email via Outlook integration, Bluetooth, Voice dialing, Voice notes, HD Speakerphone and runs on Android. A company representative touched base with a truck load of information, including this product proposition statement from the company’s CEO David McMorrow:

“Glass makes the desk phone relevant again.  It thoughtfully integrates business applications with IP telephony to bring the office phone into the 21st century. It’s a technological leap forward in terms of applications and usability, helping professionals to be more productive and informed in their everyday communications.”

I spoke with Mr. McMorrow earlier this morning and I have to agree… at the most basic level, Glass has an absolutely huge opportunity. Ever worked for a company where finding various codes and conferencing methods and voicemail options and extension lookups were such a complete pain in the butt that half your day was comprised of unproductive phone work?

Imagine a business deskphone that made things simple, clean and easy… clearly spelling out all your options:

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But with Android, this new age business deskphone can rise to a completely different plateau. Because of its open nature, third parties can write applications for the Glass Platform designed specifically for different types of business settings. Take for example a legal office.

In addition to standard features like conferencing and calendars, lawyers might want to record calls so they can bill clients appropriately and fact check information. They may want client records at their fingertips so they can dive into case details or pull up payment history – no problem:

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Android has been used solely on Smartphones thus far and the hardware extension discussion has been limited to consumer products like netbooks and MIDs… And still nothing. Not only does Cloud’s Glass Platform offer a new idea, but it gives that new idea an even newer twist and packages it nicely with Android – what else could businesses ask for?

Mr. McMorrow explained the company began diving into the idea with the advent of the iPhone and they began planning and developing with a platform other than Android. But as Google’s mobile OS gained momentum, they realized what a huge opportunity was in front of them. They forked their existing work onto an Android implementation and haven’t looked back since.

Glass will allow Cloud Telecomputers  to develop vertical applications for use on the device for various industries, but the Open Source nature of Android ensures that their distribution partners and end users alike will have the opportunity to write custom applications designed to improve their own business operations. Cloud will also be working to take traditional applications found on your desktop computer and making them readily available on your Glass, like Microsoft Exchange and Salesforce.com for instance.

Consider the following scenarios/industries where Glass would work so well:

  • Law Offices
  • Doctors Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels and Hospitality
  • Government Offices
  • Realtors
  • Telemarketing (I know you don’t want them to be more efficient, but live with it)

I’m sure folks entrenched in their own line of work could think of the reasons a desk phone with a large screen, Android capabilities and custom applications written for their industry would be awesome for productivity. If you’ve got ideas… drop them below!

Although McMorrow couldn’t give me the names of any distribution partners (stinkin’ NDAs!), he assured me they’re talking to several possible partners and are closing to working out a deal. Of course it will take time for the parties to work together to create a seamless device/offering and the company has Q1 2010 in their crosshairs for a launch date.

I’m excited for McMorrow, his Cloud Telecomputers team and the Glass Platform and you should be too. Not only because its a great idea with a new concept and customer in mind. But also because this is why Android rocks. Cloud Telecomputers is a small company with less than 10 employees… but they’ve got a great idea and the Google Android OS has helped level a playing field otherwise riddled with humongous barriers and high entry costs. If they had to write an entire mobile operating system from the ground up? Fughedaboudit.

While McMorrow isn’t in the trenches as far as coding and engineering, I asked him about the ease or difficulty in developing an Android device. I’ m still miffed as to how a small and innovative company like Cloud can already be announcing a device like Glass while the huge companies like Motorola and Sony Ericsson have hundreds dedicated to Android alone yet nothing is on the market.

I’m rooting for innovation. You’ll notice in the full press release (posted below) that Ed Zander, former Motorola CEO (2004 to 2008) is quoted. Zander is also a large investor in the project. While Motorola was criticized for lack of innovation during that time period, its nice to see Zander digging into a small tech company that seems innovative before all else:

Cloud Telecomputers Introduces Glass: The Android-based Platform Enabling Desktop Smartphones for Business

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 19, 2009) – Cloud Telecomputers, a software innovator in business communication applications and IP telephony, today introduced Glass, its unique Android-based platform for desktop business smartphones. This SIP compatible platform delivers a highly attractive and intuitive user interface on an eight-inch color touchscreen, plus Outlook integration for tap-to-dial, Bluetooth for answering cell calls on your desk phone, voice dialing, HD speakerphone, and interfaces to popular CRM programs such as Salesforce.com. IT managers and partners can add additional features via Glass’s open API.

“Glass makes the desk phone relevant again,” said David McMorrow, Cloud Telecomputers CEO. “It thoughtfully integrates business applications with IP telephony to bring the office phone into the 21st century. It’s a technological leap forward in terms of applications and usability, helping professionals to be more productive and informed in their everyday communications.”

“I love this phone. It’s like having a smartphone on my desk.” – Ed Zander, former CEO of Motorola

Partner-friendly licensing and smart technology

Cloud Telecomputers developed Glass to enable its partners to deliver a unique business user experience. Glass’s open API and Android development environment enable SIP phone and IP PBX manufacturers, service providers, and third parties to add applications and create their own unique presence in the market.

“Our approach allows us to focus on innovation, continually increasing the functionality of the Glass platform, while our partners concentrate their resources on branding, selling and tailoring applications for vertical markets. Our concept of centralized R&D, spread across multiple partners worldwide, allows us to deliver much more capability for less cost to our partners,” said Ravin Suri, Cloud Telecomputers CTO.

The Glass platform also integrates proven and popular technologies such as Bluetooth, HD audio, and AudioCodes SIP technology, to ensure that Glass delivers the high degree of quality and usability expected by businesses.

Cloud Telecomputers is completing certification of its Glass platform to be compatible with telecom’s leading phone IP PBX systems such as Asterisk & Trixbox, and Hosted VoIP systems from BroadSoft and MetaSwitch.

Available Q1 2010
Partners can begin developing applications and tailoring Glass to the needs of their specific target markets now. The company anticipates Glass-enabled phones being available in first quarter 2010, with suggested retail prices ranging from $599 to $699, depending on features and configuration.

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About Cloud Telecomputers
Cloud Telecomputers, a software innovator in business applications and IP telephony, enables powerful business communication products under the brands of its partners. The company is angel-funded by such telecom notables as Ken Oshman, founder of Rolm Corp., inventor of the first digital PBX; Ed Zander, ex-CEO of Motorola; and Bob Hawk, ex-group president of Qwest. Cloud Telecomputers is located at 3053 Fillmore St. Suite 248 San Francisco, CA 94123. Telephone: +1 415-814-1550. For more information, visit the company website at www.cloudtc.com or email info@cloudtc.com.

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We’ll make sure to keep you up to date with any news and information we get from the folks at Cloud Telecomputers. Start reserving money in your company budget (or your boss’ budget) for a new telephony system in 2010, cause you’re probably going to want a piece of Glass. Everything else is just a pain in the Glass.

UPDATE: Check out 3 video demos!