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3/8/2011
09:33 AM
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8x8 Adds Android App

Smartphones have become key extensions to business communications systems. In response, 8x8 Inc., a hosted communications provider, added an Android application to its repertoire.

Smartphones have become key extensions to business communications systems. In response, 8x8 Inc., a hosted communications provider, added an Android application to its repertoire.With the application, Virtual Office subscribers can make inbound and outbound domestic calls over WiFi or 3G networks. They no longer have to pay extra for roaming minutes if they are at a WiFi hotspot. The application supports, extension dialing, call transfers and 3-way calling. Users can place calls from call logs, contact lists, or corporate directories.

On the business side, the application provides access to Virtual Office's voicemail, auto attendant and conference bridge services. An outbound caller ID displays a Virtual Office business phone number rather than a user's personal mobile phone number.

In business since 1987, the company has targeted the traditional voice market, which is undergoing significant changes. By focusing on IP services, the vendor can offer lower pricing and more comprehensive services than traditional voice service providers. The approach has garnered the company some success: it has 23,000 customers, which typically have a handful of employees. The new Android application, which is available for free from the Android Marketplace, meshes with the growing interest in smartphones among small and medium businesses.

However, 8x8 faces significant competition in this space. With IP communications usage becoming more widespread, larger vendors have been retooling their services. In addition, a bevy of start-ups have entered this market. While the company has been successful to date, it lacks name recognition, so its future is uncertain.

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