France Telecom announces 'eConf,' a new software application that transforms PDAs into mobile videophone devices

August 27, 2002

1 Min Read

PARIS -- France Telecom researchers have developed an unprecedented software application that transforms PDAs equipped with a miniature camera into full-fledged mobile videophone devices. This means users can set up a wireless video contact between two pocket PCs, such as a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).This world premier makes it possible for the first time to easily establish direct connections between two people at remote locations without any wiring. Sound is now enhanced with video: the speaker is displayed on the screen and converses with the same audio quality as a conventional phone call. The call can be preceded by transmission of personal information, such as a business card, multimedia animation, logo, etc. This data is displayed on a Web page to identify the caller before the called party answers. Users can also show callers where they are by pointing the PDA camera around them. This breakthrough makes costly add-on equipment unnecessary. The new France Telecom application, known as "eConf", gives PDAs the processing power needed for this type of functionality despite the limited resources inherent to these handheld devices. "eConf" is compatible with all communications standards. The application currently runs with the WiFi (802.11b) wireless networking specification. It enables transparent service continuity with wireless networking standards. "Thanks to this handheld operating system we're already moving towards the inevitable merging of today's wireless handsets and PDAs," says Patrick Boissonade, project manager at France Telecom R&D. "The 100-percent software functioning of new-generation mobile devices marks a considerable advance towards offering multimedia services at low costs via an efficient and ubiquitous interface. This opens up tremendous opportunities for the future."France Telecom SA

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