Items tagged with calling

It's a feature that many have likely overlooked given T-Mobile's current focus on being the Uncarrier, but it's one that was universally loved by international travelers. Wi-Fi Calling essentially allows one's smartphone to make a traditional voice call using their own local (U.S.) phone number, but instead of relying on a mobile tower nearby, it relies on Wi-Fi. In a world where international roaming rates can ensure that a 5 minute phone call leads to massive bill shock back home, the advantage of Wi-Fi Calling is clear. Today, Sprint announced that it too will offer the service. According to the carrier, this will enable its customers to "experience improved voice, data and messaging services... Read more...
There's progress, and then there's going too far. While you won't find too many technology lovers who are opposed to having Wi-Fi below 10,000 feet or being able to leave one's Kindle on from gate-to-gate, there's a fine line here that may soon be crossed. Enabling connectivity in the sky is a godsend for those who fly frequently and need to get work done, but by and large, all of this happens at a low volume level. The noise of one's keyboard is largely drowned out by the rumble of the airline engines, and there's a good reason that most in-flight Wi-Fi services don't allow VoIP or video calls. The airline is a cramped place, and any semblance of privacy is precious. But, a new report suggests... Read more...
The future of the telephone may be in jeopardy, or at least in some form of danger. Why? Google. The company has allowed US-based users to make telephone calls to the United States and Canada via Gmail for a few years now, and it's about to extend that in a big way. Recently, with a Gmail overhaul, the ability to make outbound calls vanished. And Google heard the outcry. So now, it's back -- and better. Calls to the US and Canada are now free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. And international rates remain super, super low. Today's launch also improves the desktop calling experience in a number of ways. For example: you can add multiple phone numbers and video participants... Read more...
Last year, Republic Wireless made headlines with its $19/month unlimited everything smartphone plan. At the time, the service was available in a limited Beta service. As a result, many people who were interested in the service couldn't sign up for it. Now, Republic Wireless is opening the Beta service up to everyone. As you'll recall, Republic Wireless is a Wi-Fi-centric mobile operator. In other words, the carrier uses Wi-Fi as its primary network with cellular as a backup. Currently, Republic Wireless offers just a single phone: the Motorola DEFY XT. This appears to be a pretty decent mid-range smartphone with a 3.7-inch display, 1GHz processor, and a 5MP rear-facing camera. Preorders for the... Read more...
Looking for disruption in the wireless market? Look no further. Republic Wireless, which bills itself as the nation's first Wi-Fi-centric mobile operator, just reopened its $19/month unlimited Beta to new customers, offering an all-new handset, the Motorola DEFY XT. That's right: cellular service for $19/month. The DEFY XT is a pretty solid mid-range Android option for the service, offering up a 3.7" panel, 1GHz processor, 5MP rear camera and one key factor: Republic's Hybrid Calling tech to leverage Wi-Fi as the primary network, and uses the cellular network as a backup only when needed. It'll be offered off-contract for $249, with $19 per month getting users unlimited talk, text and data, with... Read more...
Hey, Windows users -- seeing ads in your Skype calls? Fret not, it isn't an unathorized version of the software; it's just a new twist on "free" VoIP calling. Skype has today announced the launch of Conversation Ads, finally, a way to make cash off of free calls. These new display ad units will appear within the calling window of users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when they're making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls using Skype for Windows. Strangely, no other platforms -- desktop or mobile -- are mentioned; perhaps ads are being ported elsewhere as we speak. These new Ads are billed as an "opportunity for marketers to reach our hundreds of millions of connected users in a place... Read more...
Another video chatting tool? Yep. As if Skype, Facetime and the other alternatives weren't enough, now one of the guys that had a hand in Facebook's development is launching a new video chatting platform that taps right into that network. Airtime is the project of Napster creator Shawn Fanning and tech overlord Sean Parker. On a simple level, the site launches a web-based video chat, which then taps into your Facebook friends in order to find folks to chat with. It's a little like Chatroulette, or it can be. You can load up your friend list and then select people from there to video / voice chat with, but if you're feeling crazy, you can just select a friend from a broader network and anonymously... Read more...
What exactly is Dell these days? A PC maker? A smartphone maker? A tablet maker? Dell's been trying a little bit of everything the past few years in an effort to see where traction could be gained, and so it's hardly a surprise to see them delving into yet another market: voice over IP. This week, Dell Canada and Fongo announced the launch of their new mobile app, Dell Voice - a free to download full feature VoIP phone alternative that may help Canadians save money on their mobile phone bills. Users of Android and iOS devices can now avoid costly long-distance charges and daytime calling restrictions from their wireless carrier by receiving and placing calls to landline and mobile phones using... Read more...
Who doesn't like free? Vonage, which is still around helping people who love home phones, is finally taking a serious leap into what's next: mobile. The company just announced the new Vonage Mobile iPhone and Android app, which lets users make free high-definition calls and send free texts to all users of the app, worldwide. It works over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G data networks. When calling those who have not yet downloaded the app, Vonage Mobile provides ultra low-cost international calling with per-minute rates that are on average 70 percent less than major mobile carriers and 30 percent less than Skype. Users can instantly add calling credit directly from the app through iTunes or Android Market in... Read more...
There's an old saying that goes something like "the best things in life are free."  Then there's another, more cynical proverb that says, "there's no such thing as a free lunch."  While I'm not here to choose sides or recite old proverbs, I'd offer that, in reality, both views are often very true and have merit. Which brings us to the notion of "free home phone service," that the folks at Ooma like to market their Telo Voice-Over-IP product with.   Could it be that this product really offers free residential phone services?  The answer of course isn't that simple but we did spend a couple weeks with Ooma's Telo VOIP device to learn a bit more about it. Two Weeks with Ooma:... Read more...
Enjoy free calling? Of course, who wouldn't? While Google Voice and Skype (amongst a host of others) have provided some fee-free calling options, we haven't seen that kind of enthusiasm from actual mobile carriers. No shock there. But T-Mobile USA is going against the grain with Bobsled, a service and technology that was briefly heard about earlier this year, but now seems ready for a proper introduction. T-Mobile today announced enhanced and expanded functionality for its Bobsled by T-Mobile service, with the facelifted version providing users with an easy way to call Facebook friends from most desktop browsers, Android-powered smartphones / tablets and even iOS devices (yes, the iPhone, iPad... Read more...
For the longest time, Sprint's "Simply Everything" plan was the cheapest overall "everything included" calling plan offered by one of the four major U.S. carriers. But now, T-Mobile USA is encroaching, and you have to wonder if this new plan will be folded or pushed over when the AT&T takeover occurs. The company's newest calling plan is a $79.99 all-inclusive one that includes unlimited data, calling and texting. There's no overage charges to deal with either, but of course, you'll need to sign a two-year agreement to get the deal. Also unique with this is that it includes "4G" coverage, but of course, it's debatable whether HSPA+ is truly 4G or not. The only "gotcha!" is a big one for heavy... Read more...
There's nothing pretty about the situation going on in Japan right now, but the good news is that there seems to be plenty of people reaching out to help. It will be a long while before the nation is fully restored, and the massive loss of life will haunt residents forever, but in dire times like these, it's the small things that tend to add up and make an impact. From a tech perspective, this particular one is definitely of note. AT&T has just announced that phone calls to Japan will be free throughout the rest of this month. The plan actually goes back to March 11, with AT&T wireless postpaid customers to not be charged for international long distance usage from the United States and... Read more...
Ever heard of a femtocell? Sprint's AIRAVE, AT&T's 3G MicroCell and Verizon's Wireless Extender all fall into that category, and they all serve one main purpose: to extend cellphone signal range into your home. They're basically made for those who have terrible in-home cell service. You just plug the box into your broadband Internet connection, and then it creates a "mini tower" or sorts within your home. Magically, you'll get 5 bars of service, and your calls are routed out through the Internet. It's a pretty amazing piece of technology, but the most useful potential was squashed by the major producers so far: international calling. If there were no blocks on these devices, you could (in... Read more...
We're starting to think that voice minutes are heading to the grave. We know that's an exaggeration, and we're still decades out from cellular voice minutes actually being "old hat," but there's no question that those on the cutting-edge have fewer reasons than ever to actually use them. Skype over 3G has put a large dent in the usefulness of those minutes, and FaceTime is doing its own number as well. VoIP applications are popping up all over the place, and now that you can port your mobile number to Google Voice, we're starting to see more reason than ever to just handle voice calls over data networks. Line2 is an app that debuted on iOS some time ago, offering tri-mode VoIP / cell calling.... Read more...
VoIP mobile applications have been around for nearly as long as app stores have existed, and Skype alone has seemingly taken over that industry. But there are other options out there, like Fring. Today, another new alternative has come to light, and it may be the most powerful and attractive of all. The app is called Viber, and while it's iOS only for now (made for iPhones), an Android version is coming soon. This VoIP app, unlike many, is designed to work either over 3G or Wi-Fi; most cannot make calls over 3G. The other great thing about Viber is how it integrates with your phone. In the Skype app, you have to sign up and create a separate contact list from those in your standard address book.... Read more...
These days, people don't "call each other." They simply "Skype." Skype is definitely making a mark in how people communicate, and with more and more people signing up for their VoIP services each and everyday, it's becoming harder to ignore. The service just keeps getting better with each release, and today Skype version 5.0 is available for Windows users in order to bring them even more new extras. Version 5.0 had previously been in beta, but now it's fully out in the open and ready to integrate your Facebook friends. Integration is becoming the name of the game; with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and countless other social networking sites, pulling them together in Skype 5.0 is making it easier... Read more...
It already happened in the home, and now it's happening on college campuses everywhere: landline phones are vanishing. With the proliferation of cellphones, it has made it harder and harder for landline services to prove necessary. Even VoIP-based services such as digital phone from a cable company or Vonage seem limited in use, with the only true benefit being cheap/free calling overseas. But with the iPhone able to handle cheap Skype Out calls now, even that point is becoming moot. There's no question that landline use has been declining in the home while mobile use has been on the rise, and it's only a matter of time before the landline as we know takes a very secondary position in our hierarchy... Read more...
There's no question that more and more smartphone users are using their data services more often than voice services. And with the popularity of texting on the rise, actually calling someone has become an event that happens far less frequently than it used to. And even when you do call someone, there's a good chance that the person has a Skype account, which means that you can call them for free (or close to free) rather than using pricey voice minutes from your carrier. Having Skype on the iPhone was (and is) a pretty big deal, particularly after the company upgraded the app back in March to support calls over 3G. Before that, calls could only be completed over Wi-Fi. But with 3G calling enabled,... Read more...
There's just no question that Skype has revolutionized calling, and has basically delivered VoIP to the mainstream. Before Skype, VoIP was mostly used to make intracompany calls and teleconference calls, but few consumers bothered with it. The setup was simply too difficult, and there was no unified way to actually find someone else who was setup to handle VoIP calling. But you knew that the Internet had the chance to revolutionize calling thanks to the elimination of "roaming," and that it did. VoIP carriers began to pop up everywhere, from Vonage to cable companies. But even those used a standard phone number, so international calling still cost something. Skype, however, enabled people around... Read more...
Here's some interesting news. Skype, which has grown to become the go-to VOIP application for mobile and desktop use, is no stranger to Verizon Wireless. Various Android handsets have been able to use Skype for awhile now, with the Droid and Droid Incredible being two in particular. But frankly, smartphone use of Skype isn't a shocker. Skype has been available for Android and iPhone, but non-smartphones have generally been left out of the Skype party. That could soon be changing on VZW. The largest carrier in America has indicated that they will soon offer phones that offer Skype...which aren't smartphones. Called "3D multimedia phones," these lesser "feature phones" will soon bring Skype access... Read more...
A good bit of time has passed since Skype launched a dedicated application for Apple's iPhone OS. Last March, diehard VOIP users were elated to finally have their favorite calling program available with just a single finger tap, but one huge problem remained: you still needed a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to make or receive a call. Since that time, Skype on mobile calling was updated to support 3G calling, and while phones on Verizon Wireless supported it, the iPhone app mysteriously never did. Even last week, making a Skype for iPhone call required Wi-Fi, despite that limitation being removed elsewhere. Now, that's different. A weekend 2.0 update has enabled the Skype for iPhone program to support... Read more...
1 2 Next