A small Canadian company has been chosen by one of the world’s biggest telecom corporations to help it create an Android-powered touchscreen desktop phone for enterprises.
Moimstone Corp. of Vancouver, which has designed voice over IP handsets and Android tablets for Korean, Japanese carriers and Asian buyers, has been selected by NEC Corp. to build the platform around the deskphone that will have a 7-in. display screen.
Moimstone CEO Rob Bakshi called the deal a “historic moment” for the company, which will help it expand beyond Asia and into new markets beyond telecommunications. Initially the unit will be sold in North America, and then in different countries around the world.
“Most importantly,” he added, “this new direction changes the company from a hardware supplier to software-focused with a potential for higher gross margins and recurring revenue.”
Moimstone’s role will be to help work on the phone’s software platform, including creating Andorid apps for verticals which will be sold to customers through the NEC app store.
The unit is expected to be available for sale towards the end of the third quarter. NEC already makes a line of IP and TDM desktop office phones.
The Android IP deskphone will drive applications for business verticals including the hospitality, education and healthcare markets, Ram Menghani, NEC America’s vice-president of unified communications products and services, said in an interview. It could also be used for WebRTC-based video-conferencing, he added.
With more people using mobile devices like smart phones and tablets NEC wants to give users in locations like hotels, hospitals and schools the same experience on those devices, he said. “More importantly the deskphone provides you more of a business operation.” For example, in a hotel the unit could help increase sales of services.
Menghani said Moimstone was recommended by a partner. “We were looking for adding more resources to help get products designed faster. The reason we picked Moimstone is we were looking for a company who has future design capabilities, has an application team and can maintain quality.”
One point in its favour was an Android tablet it designed for the Japanese carrier NTT. As a Japanese company itself, NEC knows that NTT’s quality requirements are as good as the telecom equipment maker’s, Menghani said.
Bakshi described Moimstone [TSX: MSE] as a 10-year old design firm whose handsets are manufactured in Korea.
Part of the idea of marrying a deskphone to a large screen, he said is to make better use of the real estate on a desk.