Saygus VPhone Resurfaces After Long Approval Path

It seems like ages ago since we sat down with CTO Tim Kiker at the Big Android BBQ in Austin, TX.  Finally, after a long approval process, the VPhone has seen daylight.  You may not have heard of the phone, until now, and that’s ok.  For those of you who don’t know, a company named Saygus announced the VPhone in 2009.  It is an Android-based smartphone that the company claimed would be the first open OS phone to be approved under Verizon’s Open Development Initiative (ODI).  Since the interview, things have been relatively quiet.

Verizon’s ODI is a certification program through which Verizon authorizes independent vendors to connect their products to Verizon’s wireless network. There are currently approximately 150 certified devices ranging from phones to routers to computers.  Saygus’ journey to ODI certification suggests a slow but potentially very thorough program.  The company expected that it would take three to five months to be certified.  It has taken almost two years.

There are nine other phones that have received ODI’s seal.  The VPhone is the first one, however, to run on an open OS such as AndroidSaygus claims the VPhone is the first smartphone to be optimized for real-time video calling over low bandwidth.  It can also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 13 devices.  It comes equipped with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.5-inch capacitive 800×480 touchscreen, a Marvell PXA 310 806MHz processor, a five-megapixel auto-focusing rear-facing camera with flash, and a VGA front-facing camera.  Software has been updated since 2009 with Android 2.2 coming stock.

Here is a video of the phone in it’s very early development.


August 17 / 2011

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