[asterisk-users] building a phone
tzafrir.cohen at xorcom.com
Fri Feb 27 09:37:12 CST 2009
A common wisdom here is that one should use a proper hardware phone
rather that an extra software on the user's PC. Why is that such a big
One thing that bothers me with the current crop of hardware SIP phones
is that they are hopelessly properitary.
So what would it take to build a fully-adaptable phone?
Here are some of my thoughts. This is not anything I plan to do soon (if
at all), but I really find it strange that there aren't such phones
== Small Quantities:
When you look at such systems it becomes aparant that you can get much
nicer prices if you buy large quanities. But this is something that will
be a problem. Not only for prototying. The fact that you're limited to a
strict hardware setting is very limiting. No mixing and matching like in
a standard PC. I'm not exactly sure how to overcome that.
There are many embedded platforms nowadays. I assume that the relevant
application requires some non-trivial CPU power. I would exclude e.g. a
486-based systems. My target phone should be able to handle at least two
concurrent Speex calls. Preferrebly 6 speex calls and above.
OTOH, I can't afford a monster CoreDuo. I need a quiet system with no
fan. Thus the target CPU may be higher end VIA or Atom. Not sure about
There are also some interesting ARM-based boards around. I'm completely
unfamiliar with them but I suspect that they may prove to be cheaper.
== SIP Software:
Not really sure here. There must be something close to usable already, I
== Micro Browser:
The device should have an LCD display, and the content of that display
should be programmable. Programming it using a HTML renderred is a bad
The device should be a good phone. It should not attempt to be a web
browser, as it will be a lousy one.
I suppose that an obvious starting point for a handset is "skype phones"
such as USB handsets from yealink. Far from an optimal design, but a
driver already exists.
== Ease of Use:
A phone must be usable. The target device must be something my mom can
use. However that does not mean it must be easy to program. It must be
programmable and hackable. But I can live with a complicated user
interface for that. If such phones become successful and useful, better
interfaces will eventually be written.
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