MagicJack VocalTec has big ambitions for a new TJ980 WiFi chip developed by its TigerJet subsidiary and expected to be included in the magicJack PLUS product by the second half of this year.
“When you build it into the magicJack PLUS the same device can be used two different ways,” explained Dan Borislow, magicJack VocalTec CEO, in an interview.
magicJack PLUS, released in September 2011, is an enhanced version of the original magicJack product which, unlike the initial version, does not require a computer in order for customers to be able to make VoIP calls for free over a broadband connection.
In one scenario Borislow described, the magicJack PLUS with the new chip is connected to a business phone to enable the phone to communicate with an existing WiFi access point, thereby providing a simple way for the business customers to make free phone calls using VoIP over their broadband connection.
Alternatively, Borislow explained, “You could take the same magicJack, plug it into a cable or DSL model and turn it into a WiFi access point.” Now magicJack PLUS units can also act as a WiFi hotspot.
That application is well suited for customers who have a magicJack app installed on their WiFi-capable smartphones, enabling them to place calls for free over the broadband connection. MagicJack previously launched such an app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and a similar offering for Android products is expected soon.
“With the popularity of the iPad and other tablets, and the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled smart phones, we believe the great majority of people with high-speed Internet access will also have Wi-Fi available to them,” said magicJack VocalTec President Andrew MacInnes in Tuesday’s release.
According to Borislow, the new chip also supports enhanced voice quality.
MagicJack also said it has decided to develop a follow-on version of the TJ980 chip that will take about a year to develop and will use much less power. Borislow told Telecompetitor that the follow-on version of the chip also will support more than 100 business phones, while the current version will support about 40.
MagicJack VocalTec also sees opportunities to sell its new chips or products built around those chips to other companies. In its release, the company noted that equipment manufacturers could reduce their costs by over 70% with magicJack VocalTec chips and boards.
“Retailers like Best Buy, WalMart and RadioShack would be able to sell the lowest cost high quality digital handsets for business with free telecom service,” the company added.
“We’re looking for ideas,” Borislow said in the interview with Telecompetitor.