Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
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Android

ZANGI New Mobile VoIP & Video App Launching Soon

March 29, 2012


ZANGI is a new mobile app that supports free SMS, voice and video calls, multi-user conferences, instant messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, integration with other programs and more. ZANGI is still in "stealth mode", but I'm told their offering is coming out next month with support for multiple mobile platforms including OS, Android OS, Symbian, Windows PC, or Windows Mobile. It can also be used via web interface or through social networks like Facebook, Google+, etc. How integrated with these popular social networks remains to be seen.

Apple 7.85" Tablet Targeting Kindle Fire Will Fail

March 1, 2012


Apple is reportedly going to ship 7.85" iPads in the 3rd quarter, squarely targeting the 7" $199 Kindle Fire, which scorched up holiday sales. This new mini-iPad also targets the Barnes & Noble Nook, though the Kindle Fire is the more popular of the two. The Register is reporting that Steve Jobs' death cleared the way for this new 7.85" iPad, since Steve Jobs was opposed to a mini-iPad.

Regardless of the reason Apple has changed their minds and decided to attack the ~7" tablet market, this is one area where Apple will fail. First, the cost.


maaii Review - New VoIP App Similar to Viber

February 28, 2012


maaii pronounced as “mahy-ee” or “My-ee” is a free mobile VoIP application for iPhone and Android featuring Facebook integration and it comes bundled with 100 free minutes ($1.90). However, as part of their launch they're recharging each users balance back to $1.90 each day, thus giving each user 100 free VoIP calling minutes every day!

I decided to take the app for a test drive on my iPhone 4S. The maaii app will run in the background unless you force the app closed. Thus, you can receive inbound calls very quickly without waiting for the app to load.


Skype For Windows Phone Available With Group IMs But No Group Video

February 27, 2012


Today Skype announced their Skype for Windows Phone Beta app, which is the last major smartphone operating system to not have Skype. Ironic, considering Microsoft owns Skype, but obviously with the relatively new Windows Phone operating system Skype had to be redesigned by Microsoft's Skype team. The new Skype follows the elegant and clean Metro tiles design.

Check out this video to see how it works.

With Skype for Windows Phone Beta you can make free audio and video calls to your Skype contacts over 3G and 4G or WiFi, and of course make calls to landlines and mobiles using your Skype Credit. Also you can create and hold one-to-one and group chats, and update your profile and account information.






Text-to-Speech (TTS) on Kindle Fire!

February 22, 2012

Text-to-speech (TTS) for the Kindle Fire is a long sought after feature. Having TTS on your Kindle Fire enables you to listen to your e-books using text-to-speech without having to buy expensive audiobooks. Some people may be vision impaired and want TTS to supplement or replace their manual reading of the text. Sure TTS isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

Now if only the Kindle Fire supported TTS like other versions of the Kindle, then life would be grand.

Dell Voice Launches in Canada - Will it Fail As Badly As Dell Video Chat?

February 9, 2012



Dell has partnered with Ontario-based Fongo to offer Dell Voice, a VoIP app exclusively available exclusively in Canada that offers a Canadian phone number and free calls to most of Canada. Also, incoming calls and Dell Voice-to-Dell Voice calls are free of charge. This reminds me of how Dell partnered with Sightspeed, now a part of Logitech to offer a multi-party video conferencing service called Dell Video Chat. I reviewed the software and it works well, but with free alternatives like Skype, having the ability to do 9-way (3x3) Brady Bunch video is a very niche application. Practically nobody has ever heard of Dell Video Chat, so here let me share a couple screenshots of it...

Screenshot of me testing it:


2x2 (4-way video call)


I suspect Dell Voice will suffer the same ignominious fate as Dell Video Chat. There's just too much competition, including superior offerings from Google Voice, Skype, and most recently Vonage.









Google to Offer Free Tablets?

January 5, 2012



Several media reports are claiming that Google is going to be offering their own tablet soon, including DigiTimes which said, "As Google reportedly may launch an own-brand tablet PC to compete against Apple's iPad, sources from Google's upstream supply chain believe that Google, instead of Apple, may actually be targeting Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire as its major competitor."

The Amazon Kindle Fire had torrid sales for the Christmas holiday season, certainly earning its "Fire" moniker. You can't go wrong with a $199 tablet device that surfs the web, runs apps, and consumes entertainment content using Amazon Prime, which features a Netflix-like streaming service in addition to Amazon's other paid digital content - e-books, music, etc. Amazon gambled consumers would consume paid content to recoup their losses and it has paid off handsomely.

This purported Nexus tablet will come with a 7" display, run Android's latest Ice Cream Sandwich and will be priced under $199 to undercut even the mighty Amazon Kindle Fire. What is Google thinking? They're thinking the same thing Amazon is thinking - take a loss on the hardware and subsidize the cost of the tablet by selling digital content, such as movies, books, and music.





Winter Wake-up App Wakes You Up Earlier If It Snows

December 29, 2011

Yesterday, I reviewed Zeo Sleep Manager and now today I came across another interesting sleep app created by Boondoggle called "Winter Wake-up", which wakes you up early if it snows giving you time to shovel the snow off your car, de-ice it, and make the slower commute to work due to road conditions. Now you won't have to tell your boss, "Sorry I'm late. I didn't know it was going to snow".

Winter Wake-Up is a smartphone alarm app automatically checks the weather and wakes you up earlier if it snows. You set the number of minutes to be woken earlier for "frost" (a little dusting) and the number of minutes to be woken up earlier if it snows.

Lync for Android Launches!

December 14, 2011

Today, Microsoft released Lync for Android. In an interesting twist, it appears Microsoft released Lync for Android before Apple iOS. It seems more and more these days that Android is getting the app love before the popular iOS platform.

Skype 2.6 for Android Sports Image and Video Sharing

December 13, 2011


Skype just released Skype 2.6 for Android, with a new feature that lets you send photos and videos to your Skype buddies. I haven't tested this yet, but I'm going to assume there isn't a size limit and no compression being performed on your images or video. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, i.e. longer transmission times, but better image quality.
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