Tag Archives | VoIP
The ability to place free calls to (and receive calls from) landlines via Google Voice from within Gmail is one of Google’s least flashy but most useful offerings. (The quality is spectacular–I never bother with a headphone, and nobody’s ever asked me “Hey, am I on speaker?”). And now Google says this service will remain free through the end of next year.
I do have a request, though–one I suspect Google will eventually address: I’d like to be able to place and make calls from within Google Voice itself, not just Gmail.
A couple of months ago, Laura Locke told us about a new smartphone video-calling app called Tango. Now it’s available in a version for the current, camera-equipped version of the iPod Touch. And the Android version uses the OS’s new background notifications to dramatically reduce the impact on battery life.
Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Ooma Telo
Ooma may be a VoIP system, but it’s got a spin that doesn’t bear much resemblance to something like MagicJack. It’s built around a classy-looking box which you plug into a telephone and your home network. Calls are in what the Ooma folks call “high definition” quality. Once you’ve paid for the device, US calling is free (a $9.99/month upgrade, Ooma Premier, adds features such as call forwarding, simultaneous ringing, and a second line). And options let you use your cell phone with the Ooma box or use your iPhone with an Ooma number over any 3G or Wi-Fi network.
Other VoIP options such as Vonage don’t involve a big-ticket piece of hardware, but do require monthly charges–Vonage is $25.99 a month. The Ooma folks are hoping that you’ll do the math and decide it makes sense to pay up front for the hardware. Is anyone reading this an Ooma customer?
It’s become a bizarre rite of passage: Interesting apps for the iPhone and iPad keep appearing, getting attention, and then being literally overwhelmed by consumer response.
The latest example: Skyfire, the smartphone browser that lets you watch some Flash videos on an iPhone. It hit the App Store on Wednesday. Then throngs of people read about it and downloaded it. The app, which is as much a service as a piece of software–it relies servers which translate Flash video into an iPhone-friendly format on the fly–stopped working in any sort of satisfactory way, and its creators yanked it from the App Store.
Now it’s back, sort of –they’re letting in new users in drips and drabs by putting Skyfire on the App Store and then taking it down and then putting it up again. (It seems to be up at the moment.)
Back in April, networking kingpin Cisco and Aliph, maker of the stylish and sophisticated Jawbone headset, announced they were working together. The first result of their partnership is being announced today, and it’s a pretty obvious one: a version of Aliph’s Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset that supports Cisco VoIP business phones.
TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid reports on some potential great news: Apple’s new App Store acceptance guide may help Google Voice (or at least third-party Google Voice apps) get into the store.
I’ve been using Gmail’s new free voice calling feature over the past couple of days. For a while, I thought that the Google Buzz blowup proved it was a bad idea to introduce non-e-mail features into Gmail, period. Now I now that if it’s the right feature done the right way, it can make perfect sense.
I try to restrain myself from calling any new tech product or service a killer. But Google just announced that it’s integrating Google Voice into Gmail, turning its e-mail service into a fully Web-based Voice-over-IP system that lets you talk to people with landlines and cell phones all over the world. And…well, it looks like it could be an awfully compelling Skype alternative. Especially since calls to cell phones and landlines in the U.S. and Canada that you’d pay for with Skype are free.
The integration adds a cool new feature to Gmail, but as a long-time Google Voice addict, I’m even more excited about what it does for that service. Now those of us with Google Voice numbers can use it in a new way, and without burning through mobile phone minutes.