INTERVIEW: In the last six months the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Korea Telecom have launched media phones as the market for connected entertainment products begins to grow.

But Oz Zimerman, corporate vice president of marketing for the DSP Group, told that such devices must offer consumers something different – rather than trying to compete with the next generation of PCs.

The media phone product is currently in its fledgling state but there’s no doubt the segment has the potential to be huge.

A recent In-Stat report forecast it would become the 4th screen in the home and could also become a next generation business IP phone.

Devices such as the Verizon Hub and AT&T HomeManager, which support both IP communications and the delivery of Internet information and multimedia content, have already been launched on the market.

But Oz Zimerman, corporate vice president of marketing for the DSP Group, said that if manufacturers don’t try and differentiate these "4th screens" from the next-generation of PC then they are missing something.

The DSP Group is currently working on more than 10 projects with OEMs and ODMs involving multimedia devices.

Oz Zimerman, corporate vice president of marketing, DSP Group

As well as including a tablet device Zimerman told that they are developing two multimedia handsets, which he describes as iPhone-like cordless phones.

He said that in order to be successful media phones need to offer something the other three screens do not have – and at a lower price.

"In my mind the high end of the media phone, as represented by products such as Verizon’s Hub, may miss the point because they compete with next-generation PCs," he said.

"We believe the multimedia screens which come with the phones should provide a different value at a different price point."

To this end, Zimerman said these devices ought to include a phone but not necessarily have a powerful browsing capability.

"They need to provide instancy and be always-on, have better portability and be easy to use," he said.

One important aspect of this is getting easy and quick access to information that’s used frequently – something Zimerman said is best achieved using a touch screen.

He said the result will be an iPhone-like cordless phone with DECT and WiFi, along with a 7-8" touchscreen for accessing multimedia and data.

Integrated Chips

DSP, which has been involved in semiconductor development for over two decades, has become a global provider of wireless chipset solutions for converged communications at home.

Zimerman said the company has 70 per cent of the global market in the wireless home domain – and 100 per cent of that market in the US.

Its system-on-a-chip solutions enable the combination of wireless voice communications with IP connectivity and multimedia processing.

The company provides a range of chipsets integrating DECT, Wi-Fi, PSTN and VoIP/CoIP technologies with application processors.

This enables converged voice, audio, video and data connectivity across diverse consumer products – from cordless and VoIP phones to home gateways and infotainment centers.

"Our customers are trying to save on investment in R&D," said Zimerman. "They are more willing to work with a more integrated solution that will bring them faster to market with lower risk."

Bringing VoIP to the Handset

Earlier this month, DSP announced that its XvoiP Vega Firebird (PNX8181) system-on-a-chip (SoC) solution has been chosen by D-Link Corporation to drive its next-generation cordless-over-IP (CoIP) products.

D-Link is using DSP’s XvoiP Vega Firebird in its dual-mode IP/DECT phone solution to take advantage of the growing popularity of IP-centric devices in the home.

This continues to increase through the usage of IP phones, WLAN routers, surveillance cameras, tablets and IPTV.

Zimerman said that with many current VoIP phones the "VoIP" part ended at the wall, with end users getting none of its capabilities.

He said this termination plays a big part in the perceived lower quality of VoIP calls.

"With our solution, the VoIP chips will enable the VoIP features to get to the handset," he said. "So, for example, HD Voice will be get all the way to the handset."

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