Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones, cell phones

Daring Fireball Gets It - Windows 8 Will Rival the iPad

September 15, 2011

Daring Fireball's John Gruber is as avid an Apple fan, enthusiast, zealot, freak, etc. as you will find on the Internet. Saying anything complimentary about Microsoft or Windows is akin to a Red Sox fan giving the Yankees a compliment. So it was a bit of a surprise when he amended his initial anti-Windows 8 operating system with the Metro touch UI and later stated he sees Metro / Windows 8 as a potential strong rival to the Apple iPad tablet.

Initially he wrote an article titled 'Windows 8 Fundamentally Flawed' where he wasn't too keen on Windows 8 competing with the iPad:
But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows.

HTC Unveils HTC TITAN 4.7" and 3.8" Radar Smartphones

September 6, 2011

HTC has unveiled HTC TITAN (image above), its largest screen smartphone featuring a 4.7 inch WVGA 480x800 pixel display and the smaller 3.8 inch HTC Radar, both of which run on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating system. The HTC TITAN sports a slim 9.9 mm (0.39 inch) aluminum shell and a whopping 8 megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture lens, dual LED flash, BSI sensor (for better low-light captures) and 720p video recording.

The HTC TITAN, previously codenamed HTC Eternity, is powered by a 1.5GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm MSM8255 chipset  with 512MB of RAM and integrated GPS. The internal storage memory of the device is only 16GB. I'm really surprised such a high-end smartphone sporting a large screen and a high-end 8MP camera doesn't sport 32GB of internal storage for storing lots of photos and other media (music, videos).

Steve Jobs the Man, the Myth, the Legend: How it began.

August 26, 2011

I grew up as a computer geek in the late 70s through the 80s into the 90s admiring Bill Gates much more than Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was just "that other computer guy" whose computers were used by less than 8% of the computing world. Microsoft was #1 and Apple was #2 and I liked a winner. Steve Jobs was an also ran to Bill Gates and Microsoft, especially after Windows 95, which arguably copied much of the Macintosh ideas. Microsoft took over the desktop PC world and Apple was relegated to Apple enthusiasts.

Then a funny thing happened.

Microsoft front-facing cameras, Skype & Lync Mobile client Coming Very Very Soon

August 25, 2011

Microsoft confirmed Mango Windows Phone 7 handsets would sport a front facing camera as well as Skype integration and a mobile Lync client. The confirmation came via the TechEd event in New Zealand, where two Microsoft employees mentioned that Microsoft's Lync VoIP client also be available on other mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Symbian. But the Lync client would be first available on the soon to be launched Mango Windows Mobile 7 software.

The employees stated that the mobile Lync client would support both voice and video on Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Mobile 7, explaining "it will dependent on the device, but it will be enabled at some point at time." They pointed out that some devices don't have a front-facing camera so having a videoconference via a mobile Lync client wouldn't necessarily make sense.

The Microsoft Lync client for mobile devices is a long time coming. I was actually told by Microsoft in NYC during a live demo of Microsoft Lync that mobile versions of the Lync client would be coming out "very soon".

Skype (Microsoft) Blows $85 Million on GroupMe

August 22, 2011

Skype was in talks with GroupMe to acquire them before Microsoft's (pending approval) bought Skype. With Microsoft purchasing Skype you would have thought Microsoft would have squashed any pending purchases by Skype or at least approve them. The fact that Microsoft didn't stop Skype means Microsoft must agree with the GroupMe acquisition. I'm honestly not sure why though.

GroupMe is simply a group SMS platform that enables you to create group messages leveraging SMS.

Vonage Time to Call iPhone App Makes Cheap International Calls

August 3, 2011

Vonage today launched Time to Call for the iPhone, a new mobile VoIP app that aims to deliver low-cost international calling. Vonage claims Time to Call is the first downloadable app that allows pay-per-call international dialing to more than 190 countries.  The app, designed for iPhones, lets consumers make 15-minute international calls and it features payment directly through iTunes, which will no doubt improve the adoption rate.

For a limited time, Vonage will provide a free international call, up to 15 minutes, to 100 countries. 

Twilio, the Cloud-based VoIP/Skype App Enabler

July 26, 2011

Today, Twillio is launching their cloud-based VoIP offering that enables developers to add VoIP capabilities to any website with just three lines of code. Twilio's VoIP developer toolkit called “Twilio Client” enables realtime two-ray audio to voice-enable browsers, iOS, and Android Apps. Twilio's product uses the Flash plugin to access the microphone. But since Apple's iOS doesn't support Flash I'm told for mobile they are integrating with iOS and Android through custom mobile SDKs. The mobile SDKs will allow the Android and iPhone mobile platforms to offer Twilio-powered VoIP to their applications.

Twillio explained that "with Twilio Client, web developers worldwide can now build Skype-like voice capabilities with Twilio’s scalable, reliable communications infrastructure-as-a-service. With just a few lines of code, web and mobile applications can host voice conversations, conference calls, and other forms of rich communication." Essentially, you can think of Twilio as a hosted Skype service that lets anyone into the VoIP game.

Viber for Android Available!

July 20, 2011

Viber, a popular mobile VoIP app which enables users to make free phone calls and text messaging to other Viber users over 3G and Wi-Fi, is announcing today the official launch of the Android version of the app. Previously, it was a limited beta. Viber also stated that it has over 12 million active users (last 30 days) and has achieved an important benchmark - call traffic volume of over one billion minutes of calls per quarter.

Here are some exclusive Android Features not seen on other mobile versions (i.e. iPhone):
  • Full call screen whenever a Viber call is received;
  • Popup text message notification, which lets users respond to text messages without having to open Viber;
  • Tighter integration with the phone, which allows users to see their regular call logs and messages within Viber;
  • A default dialer setting that enables users to use the Viber dialer for all their phone calls, not just for Viber calls.
Check out the video demo:

Facebook Launching HTML5 Skype App?

July 6, 2011

I've griped for awhile about the lack of VoIP or video calling within Facebook and even pointed out some 3rd party Facebook VoIP "kludges", but none truly gained much traction. Well, tomorrowtoday, Facebook will be making two huge announcements. The first is that according to various sources, Facebook will be announcing  browser-based Skype video calling. The second is that Facebook will be announcing the release of Project Spartan, which is the codename for a an entirely HTML5-based platform, with the specific goal of reaching mobile users and in particular mobile Safari on the iPhone and iPad platforms.

Social ENUM Platform Enables Facebook & Twitter Phone Calls

June 27, 2011

ENUM resolves phone numbers into a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) or IP addresses. It's basically "DNS" for phone numbers, mapping a person's phone number to the person's IP address on the network for routing the call over IP over a carrier's network. ENUM offered the promise of a single point of contact for all communication devices, that has largely been unfulfilled. Now, with the exponential rise of social media networks, people are starting to self-identify themselves with their Facebook username or Twitter account ID more than their phone number.
Featured Events