Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones, cell phones

Sears Wants Your Old Gadgets

October 27, 2008

Sears is offering VenJuvo's Trade4Credit program to shoppers that will allow you to earn Sears store credit in exchange for trading in pre-owned gadgets that have been determined to still hold value.

The program, which offers free recycling and shipping, will accept a variety of gadgets, including iPhones, digital cameras and camcorders, MP3 players, GPS systems and gaming systems.

To use the service, simply have to log onto, select your gadget and then enter the specifics about it so the system can calculate an estimated trade-in value. Once the value is established, the user can print out the prepaid mailing label and send the device to VenJuvo.

After the device is received, VenJuvo will validate the value and within three days you will be able to collect a Sears gift card for that value. 

A quick look at the site tells me the product categories are narrow and the prices low.  Now, wouldn't eBay be a better choice in some cases?

More at TWICE.

iSkoot for Skype on Google Android

October 23, 2008

iSkoot announced that its mobile application, iSkoot for Skype, is launching in the Android Market, Google's new mobile application store. iSkoot for Skype is the first VoIP solution available in Google's Android Market and of course making it the first VoIP app for the Google Android phone.

I should point out that iSkoot for Skype isn't VoIP over the data 3G connection. It actually uses the GSM voice connection for the voice and uses the 3G data stream for chat, presence, etc.

Here Comes the BlackBerry Apps Store ...

October 22, 2008

Apple's rivals are making moves to match the runaway success of its iPhone platform with their own versions of its store for applications and games from outside developers.

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced that it would launch an "application storefront" in March next year. 

TIme to fill up that screen with lots of icons! 

Google is also revamping its Android Market and adding new applications this week to coincide with availability of the first phone built on the new operating system, the HTC G1.

Both are trailing Apple's App Store, which launched on July 10 for the second-generation iPhone. 

The increasing sophistication of smartphones and the growth in size of their screen interfaces is turning them into PC-like platforms. Following the Apple example, handset makers are exploring how consumers can be drawn to phones by the number and variety of applications available on them.

RIM said that developers could set their own prices for applications but, at 20%, it is taking a smaller piece from them than the 30% Apple bites off. 

More from The Financial Times.

Sprint Announces End of Wired Intenet

October 20, 2008

A rapidly growing phenomenon in the telecommunications world is the growth of "cord cutters," people who give up their hardwired landline phones and use only cell phones.

Now one of the leading proponents of that shift, Sprint Nextel, hopes to do for the Internet what it's doing for telephones.

At a recent ceremony in Baltimore, officials from Sprint Nextel celebrated the official launch of the company's XOHM WiMAX service by literally cutting a cord -- they sliced through some Cat-5 wire with pruning shears to mark the end of the wired Internet.

4G has rapidly gone from a mobility vision to service reality with the launch of XOHM service in Baltimore, the company said.

Although XOHM, Sprint's 4G business unit, has aggressive plans for nationwide WiMAX, the actual implementation may take some time. 

Approximately 70 percent of the city has coverage, with 180 base stations operating and the target at end of build out is 300.

Long-term, XOHM hopes to roll out enough of its national network to make WiMAX available to as many as 140 million people by the end of 2010. 

More at NewsFactor Network.

Mobile VoIP Challenges

October 20, 2008

Today, Global IP Solutions (GIPS) announced the public availability of a whitepaper that highlights the challenges and opportunities critical for high quality when implementing mobile VoIP, called "Implementing VoIP for iPhones and Smartphones."

The paper can be found at, and addresses how developers can overcome problems inherent in mobile IP communications, such as packet loss and delay, jitter, acoustic echo and OS tuning.

Forget these challenges. You want to know the #1 challenge facing mobile VoIP? It's the wireless carriers or the operating system companies themselves (Apple, Microsoft) forcing cellphone manufacturers to offer "crippled" VoIP. What do I mean by crippled VoIP?

Aastra 57i and 57i CT Review

October 17, 2008

The Aastra 57i is one of my favorite VoIP phones. The 57i and its sister, the 57i CT (cordless telephone adjunct), offers some unique features and is undoubtedly one of the most flexible IP phones you will find. The 57i and 57i CT sport a large 144 x 128 pixel graphical backlit LCD display and 6 dynamic context-sensitive softkeys. Although the resolution isn't designed for photos, it's a very large LCD, one of the largest I've seen making it very easy to read the number of voicemail messages, the CallerID of an inbound call, and the one touch feature keys you've programmed.

Android G1: What's the Story?

October 16, 2008

HP Says Touch Me Now!

October 16, 2008

Hewlett-Packard (HP), aiming to boost its personal computer sales against arch rival Dell (and Lenovo and Apple, too), is increasingly turning to touch-screen technology.

HP is now developing a consumer notebook with a touch screen that will debut before year end. It will include special software that supports the touch screen, but other details, such as pricing, remains unclear.

The new laptop is the latest in a series of touch-oriented devices, including an upcoming line of cellphones, that will become a priority of HP.

HP began promoting touch screens last year with a big-screen desktop computer called the TouchSmart (see photo above). A revamped TouchSmart debuted this year, with new software and a new external design. The touch-sensitive screen allow PC users to move items around, surf the Web or open files with their fingertips, replacing functions normally performed by a mouse and keyboard.

But tablet PCs, or touch-screen laptops, haven't done that well in the past.

Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) Leads to Workforce Productivity and Customer Service Improvements

October 16, 2008

Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) enables users to use a single phone handset that connects to both cellular and corporate wireless networks thus enabling users to carry a single phone device to communicate with business associates, family, and friends, no matter where they are. The obvious benefit besides the cost savings of using a single phone device is employee productivity. A new study by OnRelay's own live deployment data reveals when FMC technology works, user penetration and hardware cost savings follow along with increased customer responsiveness since the employee is able to take inbound business calls anywhere. FMC also enables advanced PBX functionality such as call transfer, call conferencing, on-hold, etc.

Here's the interesting report info put out by OnRelay:

OctroTalk adds Video Conferencing and Live Streaming to Windows Mobile

October 15, 2008

A major new version of OctroTalk (see previous write-up), an IM/VoIP/video P2P app just came out. The new version is called OctroTalk 2.0 for Windows Mobile and it now has real time video conferencing with VoIP, File Transfer, Instant Messaging and avatar support. You can even have video calls if you have OctroTalk running at both ends. The OctroTalk desktop version also supports video conferencing.

OctroTalk supports IM/VoIP and can communicate with Jabber, Google Talk, AOL/AIM, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, and ICQ.

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