Sharp starts VoIP trial for Zaurus users

Sharp Corp. rolled out a trial VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service for users of its Zaurus PDA (personal digital assistant) on Wednesday, the company said.

The Osaka, Japan, company will enroll 1,000 Zaurus users in Japan for the service, which will allow them to talk with each other via wireless LAN networks for free until the end of March next year, according to a Sharp statement.

The service uses the Linux-based Zaurus SL-C700 and SL-B500 PDAs and the trial is being made available to PDA users that also subscribe to NTT Communications Corp.’s Hotspot wireless LAN service.

Interested users first need to sign up for the trial and download “Zaurus Phone” software from Sharp’s Zaurus Web site ( A microphone headset will be given away to each user that registers and each user will be assigned a seven-digit telephone number starting with 550 for this trial.

About 300 hotspots in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo are being used for the trial.

After the trial, Sharp plans to commercialize the service, allowing users to communicate with each other for a monthly subscription fee, expected to cost a few hundred yen, or several U.S. dollars, the company said.