Tag Archives | VoIP

Skype for iPad is Here (For Real This Time)

After accidentally being released a day early (and subsequently pulled), Skype’s iPad app is now available in the App Store for real. The release ends a long wait for those looking to Skype on their tablets: Skype with video on the iPhone has been available since the beginning of the year, and the iOS app itself for much longer than that.

Skype is playing up the benefits of video chatting on the big screen of the iPad, and I have to agree. While it’s nice to video chat from your phone, I’ve always thought video conferencing does better on bigger screened devices.

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Skype Video Chat Now Works on Android Phones (But Probably Not Yours)

At last, Skype’s Android app supports video calling, but it’s only available on four phones for now.

Video calling works over Wi-Fi and 3G, and is supported on the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro and Google Nexus S. The common thread among these phones is that they all run Android 2.3, but a Skype representative told me that the company’s working to make video chat available on a wider range of devices shortly after launch.

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Google’s (Unpleasant, Heavy-Handed) Father’s Day Surprise

To celebrate Father’s Day, Google inserted a line underneath the Google Voice calling feature in Gmail’s Chat feature: “Reminder: Call dad.” Sounds innocuous, huh?

Well, no. Some people who don’t have dads were understandably upset by the note. Eventually, most of us won’t have a dad to call; I’m surprised that nobody at Google figured out that the message would be at best irrelevant and at worst an unhappy little moment for a meaningful percentage of Gmail users.

Companies like Hallmark and 1-800-Flowers presumably don’t worry much about Father’s Day and Mother’s Day advertising hurting anyone’s feelings. But Google’s “reminder,” while promotional in nature, was presented as a task-like item within a piece of Web-based productivity software. That made it feel more personal. It also involved Google futzing around with an application used by millions of people. Microsoft wouldn’t insert a Father’s Day requirement reminder into Outlook–and even though Outlook is a paid product and Gmail isn’t, Google crossed a boundary which it apparently didn’t realize existed.

It’s a safe bet that Google won’t commemorate Father’s Day or Mother’s Day in this particular way again. But I hope it comes away from this with another lesson: it needs to tread gingerly when it comes to messing around with Gmail and other apps for any reason except making them better. And sometimes even then.


Plantronics’ New Savi: One Headset to Rule Them All

The more phones you have in your life, the more you might be interested in Plantronics’ Savi 700 series of wireless headsets, which the company announced today. Unlike most headsets, the new Savis are designed to be used with mobile phones (via Bluetooth), work landlines, and PC-based VoIP services–and to let you roam between them, with a range of up to 350 feet.

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T-Mobile Brings VoIP to Facebook

Wireless carrier T-Mobile is no stranger to VoIP, having experimented with it for a time through its now defunct Hotspot@Home service, which ended last year. Well, it’s trying again, but this time bringing the technology to social networking site Facebook.

Called Bobsled by T-Mobile (don’t ask, I have no clue why they settled on this name), the application for both PC and Mac gives users the capability to place free VoIP calls between Facebook friends, including integration with the Facebook chat system. The application is free to all Facebook users and is not exclusive to subscriber’s of T-Mobile’s wireless services.

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Ooma: A Nifty Way to Make Free Internet Calls

Ooma is a sure-fire winner for letting home users make free calls within the United States and pennies per call overseas.

Pick up the phone and you’ll hear a familiar dial tone (not that anyone dials anymore; heck, few people under 30 even get what that means). And once you’re connected, the voice quality is remarkable — as good as your landline — and better if you call another Ooma user.

Costco sells the Ooma for $179; Amazon‘s price is closer to $200. You can connect your existing landline to Ooma — corded or cordless — or buy Ooma’s $49 cordless handset.

I have lots of disclaimers, though, things for you to consider before sending your landline to the landfill.

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Video Calling Hits Skype for iPhone

Well, looky here–the iPhone version of Skype we wanted all along is finally here: one that does video calls. It works on the iPhone 4, current iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS, and iPad (although you really want the front-facing camera which the 3GS and iPad lack) and permits calls over both 3G and Wi-Fi. And judging from my very brief time with it so far, the quality seems quite good.

Apple’s own FaceTime set the standard for simple video calling from a phone, and other options such as Tango are already thriving. but if you’re a Skype user calling another Skype user, the new iPhone app couldn’t be much simpler–and you can make calls to Windows users, something that’s still not possible with FaceTime. (You can’t, however, make video calls to Android users–but you gotta think that a video-capable version for Android will come along before too long.)

If you give the new app a try, let us know what you think. Me, I think I’ll use it calling my three-year-old nephew and two-year-0ld niece–neither of who own an iPhone 4, oddly enough…