Line2: A Fresh, Flexible Take on iPhone VoIP

By  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

As I mentioned in my story on Skype’s new version for Android and BlackBerry handsets on Verizon, I have this dream of using Google Voice or a Google Voice-like service to make calls on a smartphone over the data connection, thereby avoiding using up my precious supply of voice minutes. It turns out that Skype Mobile can’t help. But Line2, a new iPhone VoIP service from Toktumi, might be just what I’ve been looking for.

David Pogue reviews Line2 for the New York Times today, and he mostly likes it; I got a demo from Toktumi founder Peter Sisson yesterday at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas. The service gives you a phone number that you can use via your AT&T line, over 3G data , or Wi-Fi. If you use the latter two options, you don’t use up your voice minutes. And it seems to do a remarkably good job of dealing with the fact that third-party apps can’t run in the background on the iPhone. (If Line2 isn’t running when someone calls you, you’ll get the call anyhow–it just comes in via your standard AT&T number.)

Unlike Google Voice or Skype, Line2 isn’t free–but the $15 a month sounds reasonable, and might pay for itself if you can downsize your AT&T plan to a level of service with fewer voice minutes. Sisson told me that Toktumi is working on an Android version of the app, which will make Line2′s benefits available on carriers other than AT&T.

As Pogue says, Line2 looks and feels very much like the iPhone’s standard phone dialer, only with more features; maybe you have a theory as to why Apple thought that the Google Voice app would “confuse” iPhone owners but is okay with Line2.

I’m signing up for a trial account and will let you know what I think…

 
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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > maybe you have a theory as to why Apple thought that the
    > Google Voice app would “confuse” iPhone owners but is okay
    > with Line2.

    Skype and Truphone have their own dialers and operate independently from Phone. Google Voice uses a phone’s built-in dialer, doesn’t it?

  2. Damen Says:

    The site is currently down due to a denial of service attack. I wonder if this is actually due to the sudden burst of publicity this app is receiving. :D

  3. bernardlunn Says:

    Harry,”I have this dream of using Google Voice or a Google Voice-like service to make calls on a smartphone over the data connection, thereby avoiding using up my precious supply of voice minutes.”
    TMobile has this and I have used it for ages. It gets no press ‘cos it is not cool but it just works. I wrote about it here:
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/t-mobiles_effective_quietly_disruptive_wi-fi_phone.php
    Bernard

  4. sfmitch Says:

    I have been testing some options to find the right phone options for me.

    I am a happy iPhone user and after seeing the 1000s of rollover minutes I had accumulated with AT&T I decided to switch to a cheaper monthly plan. Was on 900 anytime minutes plan (free nights & weekends & calls to AT&T mobile phones) and I downgraded to 450 minutes plan for a $20/month savings.

    I then had a need for making a few calls that would bust my monthly anytime minutes. I started with Skype – good on the computer and iPhone with no monthly commitment, just pre-loaded the account with $10 and could make calls (800 numbers and known-in-advance to be lengthy calls) for a few cents a minute. Called ID was weird (for the other person), I couldn’t accept calls (without spending $$$s for a Skype # and call quality was sometimes sub-par) so I was open to a better solution.

    I bought a MagicJack and so far, it is a great solution. First, you have to get over (at least I did) the cheesy factor of the MagicJack (the name, the infomercial taint, etc.). The price is great ($20 year for unlimited calling), it comes with a real phone number, it works with either a real phone or through the computer speakers/mic and the call quality is really good.

    I will be saving $200 this year ($240 less to AT&T – $40 cost of MagicJack and 1st year of service) and $220 / year thereafter.

  5. Mike Says:

    OK, can someone please explain what is the difference between skype iphone app and Line 2 iphone app.

    I think skype already doing everything Line 2 offering, so what is the fuss about? Thanks

    Mike

  6. sfmitch Says:

    @Mike

    LIne2 can work over wi-fi and 3G. It will also hand-off calls between the two.

    Pogue does a pretty good job of explaining the product –

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/technology/personaltech/25pogue.html

  7. Imran Says:

    As being a recent owner of iPhone, I must say iPhone is winner amongst Nokia, Blackberry and others. There are so many VoIP applications available which lets me communicate with my loved ones by using inclusive internet data.

    I have recently installed a SIP VoIP client on my iPhone which lets me make and receive free calls.

    To cut my story short, I have had Blackberry, Samsung, Nokia and iPhone and other phones. But I have just fell in love with this phone.

    Thank you.

  8. Harrison Ward Says:

    my sister is very good in installing VOIP equipments and i really admire her for that.,;:

  9. get back at my ex Says:

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I find It truly helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to present one thing again and help others such as you aided me.

  10. Sam Michael Says:

    Well, VOIP depends really on your internet speed and your modem type
    for example, Net talk Reviews devices they have good quality if you bring the right modem which is compatible with them but in terms of its price

    I have never seen such good price 69.95 one time fees and 29/year for the renewal fees

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