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Fax Phone

A fax phone is convenient and a cost saver.

Fax phones are replacing the traditional fax machine. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Fax phones are replacing the traditional fax machine.

Fax Phone

Will the camera fax phone along with Internet fax services bring about the end of traditional paper-feeding fax machines? Certain software allows users to convert any mobile camera phone into a fax machine. Faxing from a camera-equipped cell phone camera or PDA (personal digital assistant), like a Blackberry, Palm Treo or PocketPC, typically requires the use of Internet faxing services via the phone's Internet connection. These mobile devices must also have the ability to send and receive e-mails by phone, and users must have a subscription to an Internet faxing service.

Some mobile camera phones or PDAs include modems that plug into a phone line, while others connect wirelessly via a Wi-Fi connection. Internet faxing services receive document attachments via e-mail and then send the document to a fax machine phone number.

The advantages of using a fax phone and Internet faxing services include:

  • Paperless transmissions help promote green business practices
  • Internet faxing services save on landline phone call charges made by traditional fax machines
  • Internet faxing services save on costs for fax machine equipment and ink cartridge purchases
  • Some Internet faxing services offer special features not available with traditional faxing such as fax scheduling, fax archiving and password protection of faxes


Internet Faxing Services

ScanR.com is an Internet faxing service that converts JPEG image files sent from a camera phone into electronic document files in PDF or Microsoft Word .doc formats. Images can be sent to scanR.com as e-mail attachments or via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which lets senders insert multimedia images into text messages. Users of Internet faxing services like scanR must have MMS-enabled phones and must subscribe to phone service providers that support MMS, such as T-Mobile or AT&T (though this support varies by phone model).

New scanR users will send an image to test the services compatibility with the user's make and model of PDA or mobile camera phone. The service will then send back scanning instructions specific to the user's PDA or mobile camera phone.

Qipit is an Internet faxing service that functions similarly to scanR. First, the user sends a camera phone or PDA image file to Qipit. The service then reformats the file and sends it back to the camera phone or PDA, as well as the fax machine's phone number or to other PDAs.

With eFax users get a unique Internet fax number for receiving faxes by e-mail. The service provides a local or toll-free phone number, two years worth of online storage of faxes and 24/7 customer support.

MyFax offers e-mail to fax solutions. The service can receive a maximum of eight pages in one fax as attachments and requires no software downloads.

RingCentral Fax sends faxes from any Microsoft Windows application via an application toolbar. This includes Outlook.

Camera Phone Faxing Tips

For the best camera phone scans, users must keep the document on a flat and well-illuminated surface. Hold the camera phone at a minimum distance where the entire document fits in the picture viewer frame.

Users must hold their hands steady when taking a photo.

A minimum of 1600 X 1200 resolution (or two megapixels) works best for phone camera scans. Anything less may cause unnecessary compression of the image.

Some services, like scanR and Qipit, will actually improve a document's resolution and clarity by using high-powered computers to run optical-character-recognition (OCR) technology, such as Nuances OmniPage.

Some Internet faxing services, like GoDaddy.com, can't process international faxes and can only process outgoing faxes to the United States.

Image file formats requested by most Internet faxing services include Microsoft Word .doc files, Rich Text Format (.rtf), Plain Text Format (.txt), .gif format, TIFF, PDF, HTML and Microsoft Excel (.xls) format.

Users of 2G (second generation) and 3G (third generation) phones may require a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) data connection for higher speed data file delivery.

Nuances OmniPage 17 OCR software allows camera phone or iPhone users to convert high-resolution images into lower resolution PDF electronic document formats. OmniPage OCR 3-D capture software requires at least a two-megapixel digital camera.

Internet Fax Service Selection Tips

Some services only allow the transmission of one fax page at a time, while others accept up to nine pages per transmission.

When selecting Internet fax services, consumers will want to first check set-up fees, per-page charges and software download compatibilities.

Some services, such as Popfax.com, offer incoming fax alerts on a user's camera phone or PDA.

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