Galaxy Tabs to soon have access to HD videoconferencing

Polycom software won't ship on new Galaxies, which go on sale this week

Polycom announced an agreement with Samsung to embed high-definition videoconferencing capability in the new Galaxy Tab.

Polycom has demonstrated the videoconferencing capability on the Galaxy Tab, but it won't be shipping on the devices when they first go on sale later this week on some of the nation's wireless carriers, a Polycom official said Monday.

"It's coming to Galaxy Tab not too far in the future and over the next two quarters we expect to have [high definition videoconferencing] broadly shipping" on them, Polycom Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Joseph Burton said in an interview.

Galaxy Tab users will be able to connect in a videoconferencing session with each other by using the Polycom software, and also will be able to connect to other standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing systems and applications, Burton said.

T-Mobile USA will sell the Galaxy Tab starting Wednesday. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is putting the Galaxy Tab on sale Thursday, and Sprint Nextel will start selling it Sunday.

Sprint and T-Mobile are selling the device for $400 with a two-year contract, while Verizon is selling it for $600 without a contract but with monthly data plans. AT&T hasn't officially announced a shipment date or pricing, but plans to sell it.

Burton said the deal with Samsung to provide videoconferencing software for Galaxy Tab devices is one example of ways that Polycom is expanding the reach of videoconferencing across mobile devices, desktops and room-sized systems, often called telepresence systems.

Scalable Video Coding

Also this week, Polycom announced a Scalable Video Coding (SVC) initiative to combine videoconferencing with other collaboration technologies across a variety of platforms running on standards-based software.

SVC software will be shared at no cost to Polycom partners that support open standards that allow interoperability between devices and networks, Burton said. Microsoft has announced it will adopt the SVC technology to further its desktop unified communications offerings. "Millions of users will have the ability to launch high definition voice and video straight from a desktop integrated with Polycom unified communications," Burton said.

Polycom also said it has been working with VoIP communications vendor BroadSoft on a cloud-based service for high-def video and voice applications that service providers are expected to sell to businesses around the globe. Details were not disclosed.

Polycom competes with a number of players, but the biggest threat could be from Cisco Systems, which recently purchased Tandberg for videoconferencing capabilities. Cisco also offers Webex and a range of IP-based voice and video services. Burton said Polycom is focused on growth through reliance on open standards and interoperability with other vendors, while Polycom's competitors, which he wouldn't name, seem focused on using their own technology.