Cisco IP Phones to Tap XML

The company announced a high-end phone with a color touch-screen and XML support, which will allow it to act as a "mini-browser." Two lower-end models also will gain support for the markup language.

Cisco Systems Inc. on Tuesday further extended the reach of its IP Phone product lineup with a new high-end phone and more-powerful features for its lower-end models.

The new Cisco IP Phone 7970G boasts a high-resolution, color touch-screen as well as support for XML, allowing the device to operate as a "mini-browser" for certain vertical applications.

Although pricing has not yet been set, the new high end phone could cost as much as $995. Cisco said it expects that vertical applications such as certain contact centers and retail operations will find the combined productivity enhancements available with specific applications can cost-justify the price of the high-end phone, according to Troy Trenchard, director of product marketing for Ciscos IP Communications Group in San Jose, Calif.

With retail, for example, "where you have customers driving inventory lookups, price checks or contacting other stores through the phone using XML, it enables them to do things that before were a lot more challenging. Having a mini-browser integrated with the voice device can be compelling from an efficiency/productivity standpoint," he said.

The high-end phone also supports graphics and features an Ethernet switch with in-line power as well as auto VLAN configuration and Cisco Call Manager registration.

At the low end, Cisco added XML support for a pair of its entry level IP Phones, including the 7905G and 7912G. The XML support allows text-based applications to be pushed out to the low end IP Phones.

The new phones will be launched at Ciscos third annual Innovation Through Convergence Expo this week in Santa Clara, Calif. The new XML support in the lower-end phones is due early next month. The new 7970G—the fifth new IP phone Cisco has introduced in the last year—will be available early in the first quarter of next year.

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