Today CounterPath has launched Bria iPhone Edition, their first softphone for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Think of this feature rich VoIP client for iPhone as being the mobile equivalent of a business desk phone. With enterprise class features ranging from speaker phone to hold / unhold, swap, mute, conference, and security, this softphone is a credible tool for the road warrior. Moreover, with a strong focus on usability as well, CounterPath VP Todd Carothers proudly says “it could have been developed by Apple themselves!”.
Priced at $3.99 in the iPhone App store, with a $8.99 option for G.729, Bria is an inexpensive way for road warriors to connect with IP PBX back at headquarters. It even supports 3G VoIP calls to allow users to conserve those expensive voice minutes on the mobile cellular network.
In a 30 minute interview with Carothers yesterday evening, I learned that:
- This is CounterPath’s first iPhone application, and indeed their first mobile SIP application period.
- This release supports G.711, G.729 and GSM codecs – all narrowband. The next release, targeted for August of this year, will add support for wideband codecs as well. Expect G.722.
- Expect to see an Android version of this application in September.
- This release is a pure iPhone application. When they incorporate support for iPad, expect to see an XMPP client, with contact lists and rosters supported.
In other words, CounterPath is making a big move into mobile VoIP clients by extending their Bria franchise from the desk to the handset.
Mobile SIP clients on iPhone today are a bit of a novelty. As with every mobile VoIP client on the iPhone platform, the lack of multi-tasking on iPhone is a major impediment Bria also. Expect to see Bria really come into the spotlight once it can be run full time in the background on iOS 4.0, acting as the user’s full time phone rather than simply a useful tool for making cheap outbound calls. In the meantime, if you need a mobile SIP client on iPhone, at $3.99 you really can’t go wrong with Bria.
And isn’t it ironic that so many years after CounterPath debuted x-Lite, mimicking the cell phone UI when running on the desktop as a soft client, Bria now exists as a soft client running on a cellular device. Karma perhaps. Who knows?