Avaya and Symbol combine voice, mobile technologies

Symbol Technologies and Avaya Thursday jointly unveiled a handheld computer from Symbol that works wirelessly with Avaya's IP telephony software and applications.

The collaborative technology is aimed at a variety of markets but is most likely to catch on first with retail and health care workers, said Fritz Ollom, senior manager of product marketing at Avaya, in an interview. Holtsville, N.Y.-based Symbol is providing its MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant handheld, as well as a wireless switch and access ports, while Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya is providing the Avaya IP Softphone, which is based on the Avaya Communication Manager platform, he said.

The blending of the products also relies on new Symbol Voice Quality Manager software, which resides on the MC50 and helps provide smooth transitions when a user passes between Wi-Fi access points. The handheld is designed to allow voice-over-IP transmissions at the same time a user works with data applications using the handheld's keyboard.

Although the MC50 is more rugged than most consumer-focused handhelds, it isn't designed to withstand repeated drops on concrete floors, said Chris McGugan, senior director of marketing at Symbol.

Complete pricing information wasn't announced. But Ollom said the MC50 sells for between US$700 and US$1,100, while the softphone software costs US$130 per license.