Avaya’s Desktop Video Device (ADVD) is an enterprise Android-based tablet whose primary function is collaboration, achieved through a set of Avaya communications functions grouped into an interface Avaya calls the Flare Experience.
The Flare Experience aggregates audio/video/web conferencing, desktop video, instant messaging, presence, and social media applications.
The ADVD runs version 2.2 of Android (code-named Fro-Yo) and has an 11.6” multi-touch screen capable of a native resolution of 1366 x 768.
There’s a high-definition 5-megapixel camera on the front of the tablet, with dual microphones on the top of the screen bezel, and front-firing stereo speakers on the lower screen bezel.
The ADVD has a 10/100Mbit/s LAN adaptor, and two USB 2.0 ports on the right-hand side, alongside line-in/line-out audio jacks for headphones. There’s also a dedicated USB port on top of the ADVD specifically for 3G mobile broadband dongles.
Wireless support is 802.11b/g/n and there’s also support for Bluetooth (v2.0/2.1) devices, such as headsets or speaker phones.
There is a docking station for the ADVD which has sub-woofer speakers, more USB ports and its own wired and wireless network connections [see picture].
In addition to buying the ADVD, which costs $3,200, firms will need to be running Avaya's Aura 6.0 enterprise communications suite and will also need a network supporting Quality-of-Service (QoS) for voice and video calling.
When comparing that with the price of some of the current Android tablet devices on the market, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer costs about about £320, for example, and the HTC Flyer costs £480 + VAT SIM-free.
Looking at the initial screen, we could see the notification bar at the top, which showed battery life remaining, time, date, any missed calls, any replies – and how many – from Facebook and Twitter contacts and the number of new emails [see picture].
Meetings or collaboration sessions due to take place soon were also visible in the top-centre of the screen. Such information is easily pulled from the user’s calendar application of choice, and Flare integrates with Exchange, Lotus Notes or Gmail out-of-the-box, as well as Facebook.
In this context, Facebook and Twitter may well be classed as business tools, since the ADVD trawls those social media sites picking out requisite contact information.
On the right-hand side of the screen is the ‘contacts fan’, which is a set of contacts aggregated by Flare, making it easy for users to interact with those contacts [see picture].
Flare also aggregates contact details into a single-source contact card.
The most prominent section on the screen is reserved for the ‘spotlight’. The centre of the screen is delineated by a spotlit area on to which contacts can be dragged.
Below the spotlight are options to start a call, an IM session or a video call by clicking on the specific icon.
This was simple to use and within seconds we could initiate a call without dialing. No great shakes you might think, but other contacts can be dragged into the spotlight and conferenced in, which would be very helpful for say call centres or helpdesk operatives who need to have advice from experts.
We could also drag in media content, such as presentations, and send the files to users in the spotlight, just by swiping the touchscreen.
Multiple conference calls can be set up simultaneously, with users having the ability to conference in people from other conference calls into the call they're currently on – although there is probably a limit to how many such calls you can be successfully engaged in at once.
Another neat feature is the ability to bring up a call log and see all past calls, emails and IMs sorted according to either time or contact.
There are other basic Android applications on the device, such as the WebKit browser, for example, a calculator, calendar and Avaya DevConnect , which offers the ability to access Avaya Developer Community sites.
However, in the current version of ADVD it is not possible to install any other Android applications, although Avaya said that in a future release it would give IT administrators full control over what can and cannot be installed.
Future operating system support
Avaya says the Flare user interface will be ported to Apple’s iOS operating system, allowing it to run on iPad's and iPhones, made available through Apple’s App Store.
Flare will be ported to Windows Vista and Windows 7 by the end of the year, allowing Windows tablets to run Flare.
Flare will also be ported to other Android operating systems, such as Gingerbread (v2.3) and Honeycomb (v3.0), as well as Mac OS X.
Avaya said that there would be developer kits for third parties to write apps for the ADVD. Two apps currently under development are a call recording app and a call billing app, and these would be made available on a yet-to-be-launched Avaya 'App Store'.
A good enterprise communications tablet, but it is very expensive, which is something Avaya recognises with its intentions to port the software on the system to other operating systems, including iOS and Windows by the end of the year.