[Asterisk-Users] Re: time to build an open phone?

Bob Knight bk at minusw.com
Fri Dec 26 13:21:15 MST 2003

Bill Schultz wrote:

>	ACES - Asterisk Communications Endpoint System
>{the following could be used by any IP-PBX but the name pays homage to Mark Spencer and friends who 
>cannot be lauded enough for their fine work}
>As you read this it will be obvious I am not a professional engineer but I do have enough knowledge 
>to be fairly certain what I'm proposing is feasible from not only an engineering, but production 
>cost and perhaps most importantly, marketing standpoint. 
>An open phone is a great idea but as soon as you "get physical" you add a quantity issue that 
>doesn't exist in software.  Multiply this for keypads, handsets, bells, etc. etc. etc. and you have 
>a lot of work but more importantly NO ONE has built a phone that can simultaneously be brain-dead 
>simple to operate for one person yet offer the advanced user whatever  functionality they might 
>want.  You will never solve that issue as long as you have a keypad of any kind.
An open phone is open.  It does specify any type of I/O device, only how 
to interface to them.
We just start with something like a light weight netbsd/* code base.
Folks can add whatever from there.

>So you end up with what started this open-phone thread in the first place...  a plethora of IP, 
>analog or digital phones with a dizzying array (or lack thereof) of bells and whistles all trying 
>to achieve a balance between quality, ease of use and functionality which will sell enough units to 
>make their manufacturing and distribution profitable.  In this environment you will always have at 
>the low end manufacturers competing on price and inevitably that results in quality issues.  Right 
>now it's Grandstream but next year it'll be someone else at a $30 price point and the same issues 
>will apply all over again.
I have no interest in trying to make money by manufacturing widgets.
I only want control of my own destiny.
I don't care what the phones cost.  I just want control of the code.

>I've never seen stats, but it's probably a safe assumption that the majority of IP phones are 
>sitting next to a PC and the additional expense has been incurred because "people want a phone that 
>looks and works like a phone".  That's certainly been my experience far outweighing any technical 
>issues with quality or reliability of a PC-softphone.  In every market I can think of with the 
>possible exception of hospitality I think ACES could be successfully sold a substantial number of 
>times even though it does not "look like a phone" because it affords a much better way to resolve 
>the conflict between ease of use and functionality.  For the unconvinced, a more elaborate version 
>could include the obligatory keypad and cosmetic plastic but I would submit that the ability to 
>pick up a handset and place a call by saying "call Pat" alone would "sell" most potential customers 
>on learning how to operate a two position switch on a device that doesn't have a conventional 
>keypad.  At it's simplest, to use the phone you need to know that position A is used to hangup and 
>dial by saying "dial 1-800-555-1212" (or whatever number you want called) and position b is used to 
The markets I work in not only do not want to use pc's as phones.
They do not want voice on their data networks.
Some of my customers, including my office have no pc's at all.
Just unix work stations.

>Of course, I could always be wrong :-)
I would not say you are wrong.
You are just looking for something different than I am.

Bob Knight
[-w] the work option
bk at minusw.com

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