Getting unified

Unified communications just got more interesting today. Mill Valley, CA-based CommuniGate today launched the Pronto! client interface, based on Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex 2. Targeting both businesses and service providers, Pronto! unifies all Internet communications — from e-mail and IM, to chat, rich media, and groupware — in a single client interface. Later today I’m going to get a demo. More to follow.

VoIP pioneer Packet8 is also getting on the unified communications train, integrating Microsoft Outlook into its Virtual Office hosted PBX.

Shoretel is making it easier for customers to buy with its no-down, 100 percent financing Managed Services Program. Costs stay fixed for 10 years.

No download, no software, no computer. That’s the promise of Rebtel’s new mobile phone VoIP calling service. Try the beta here.

And speaking of mobile VoIP, Mark Ismach recently filed a patent for a method of allowing any mobile phone to place VOIP calls directly. Back in the 1990s, Ismach registered the trademark BIOS (basic input/output system). At the time, manufacturer Phoenix Technologies’ BIOS systems were used in just about every computer made and Phoenix was forced to remove the word “BIOS” from its products. The effect of Ismach’s latest move could be chilling for the mobile VoIP market.

From the lemonade-from-lemons department: Milford, CT telecom equipment company AbleComm has been sitting on a warehouse full of old rotary phones for the past 30 years. Now retro is in and the company is doing a land office business in “New Old Stock” phones, refurbished phones, and reproductions of Western Electric phones from the 1930s through the 1960s. I’m getting a red rotary dial model for my kitchen — the same one my in-laws got in 1955.

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