Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Skype P2P VoIP

Google Talk Just a "Me too" product - for now

August 24, 2005

In yesterday's blog post, I wrote about Google Talk's impending launch today. I tried to test Google Talk as quickly as I could and blog my testing experiences here. Further, yesterday I pondered, "...the ability for Google Talk to do P2P calling competes directly with Skype - so how does this affect Skype's recent "shopping around" for buyers? I wonder if Skype approached Google with such a high pricetag that Google said 'screw it, we'll build it ourselves' ".

Well, after playing around with Google's home-grown VoIP application for awhile, I have to say I'm not that impressed and here's why.

While I theorized in my Google Test Drive that Google was trying to model Google Talk after their very simplistic, ad-free, virtually graphic-free home page, on further reflection, this doesn't make a lot of sense.

Google Talk

August 23, 2005

After all the talk about Google VoIP, all the theories about what Google's purchase of tons of dark fiber means, all my prognostications on Google VoIP, it finally appears that Google is going to have a VoIP offering called Google Talk to be launched tomorrow. First, hat tip to Om, for covering this story on Monday where he discusses Google using Jabber technology within Google Talk. Jabber is known as "the Linux of instant messaging" -- an open, secure, ad-free alternative to consumer IM services like AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo.

Google always tried to utilize open standards, so it is no surprise to me that they chose the Jabber technology. There is no word on whether or not Google Talk will simply be an instant messaging client with simple P2P "voice chat" features or if it will incorporate PSTN dialing as well to compete directly with Skype and their SkypeOut service. Also, since Google is renowned for adopting open standards, I would have to assume that if they are doing VoIP that they are utilizing the SIP protocol.

VoIP Tradeshow

August 15, 2005

The next VoIP tradeshow is the Internet Telephony tradeshow at the L.A. Convention Center. The tradeshow runs from October 24-27th and highlights some "big hitters" including Carly Fiorina, Michael Powell, and more. If the immensely successful & recent VoIP Developer tradeshow is any indication of the success that the Internet Telephony tradeshow will experience, then hang onto your seats - this tradeshow is going to be a doozie!

Actually, if you plan on attenting this tradeshow you should book your hotel soon.

Skype Blocking

August 15, 2005

"Skype blocking" may become a more prevalent issue in the near future, especially in developing countries or in countries with government-run telecom companies such as China that have much more to lose. Blocking Skype isn't just about government control and protecting government-run carrier monopolies - it's fear of what Skype represents - "free speech" both in an economic sense (very low cost and in some cases "free") as well as in a socio-political sense - granting for example Chinese citizens anonymous, encrypted "free speech"- away from governement monitors and censors. This is true of other totalitarian regimes as well, but China in particular is unique due to its large population of technologically savvy and Internet connected people.

In many developing countries, free market economics are not their forte' especially in socialist or communist states. China for example has very stringent censorship controls on Internet access.

Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telephony Kit

August 10, 2005

I saw the Linksys CIT200 Cordless Internet Telephony Kit on Tom's Networking site, which is an interesting cordless phone solution designed to be used with Skype. As seen in the photo, the Linksys box has a USB cable attached - no doubt to power the wireless signal and to communicate with the CIT200 handset.

Unfortunately, Tom's Networking information which he pulled from the FCC's site indicates that it uses 1.9Ghz, therefore it's not WiFi. According to Tom, "Unlike the Dualphone, however, the CIT200 appears to be Skype only".

Damn, that's too bad. I wonder why they didn't add SIP support? I find this a little bit hard to believe that this device only supports Skype.

Orb your Skype Voicemails

August 8, 2005

Orb Networks emailed me to point to their new add-on to their free TV/photo/video/music streaming service. I actually have Orb installed on my home PC, and it worked great during testing - I was able to stream CNN, Fox News, a Yankees game to a remote PC. Unfortuanetely, my damn broadband provider caps my upstream to around 128Kbps so it affects my home Vonage service - or even worse when streaming it can actually cause my cable modem to recycle! (this knocks my voice and data connection offline for a bit)

Anyway, Orb told me that they have a Skype plug-in called V4S.

Global IP Sound on popular Symbian OS

August 8, 2005

Some interesting news to report from Global IP Sound (their VoIP codecs are used in Skype, Teleo, and more):

Global IP Sound (GIPS), a leading provider of embedded voice-processing solutions for the Voice-over-IP (VoIP) market, today announced that it has joined the Symbian Platinum Program to support the growing market for smartphones based on Symbian OS.

As a Platinum Partner, GIPS is extending its VoiceEngine Mobile platform to the Symbian ecosystem. Symbian develops and licenses Symbian OS, the operating system that powers today's most popular smartphones. Symbian OS is licensed by the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers.

Skype from Mobile Cell Phone

August 5, 2005

Skype as we already know is one of the most popular VoIP applications -- if not the most, which has helped build a loyal community looking to develop third-party solutions that improve upon Skype's default features. One feature request of many Skype fans is the ability to make Skype calls from a mobile phone. Imagine if you could dial internationally using Skype - but using your cellphone? After all, carriers charge an arm and a leg to make international calls using your cellular network/cellphone.

Skype the new Paypal?

August 2, 2005

A new Paypal payment method using Skype has been proposed by Marcus Williamson from Connectotel over on the Skype forums. Marcus proposes a means by which one Skype user could send Skype credits to another Skype user, similar to the Paypal model. Although of course with Paypal it's real money not "credits". Though the way Skype is going, it won't be long before we'll be exchanging in Skype currency or perhaps even Google currency.

On the thread he writes, "We are aware that a lot of companies are not able to generate revenue from Skype because of the absence of a payment API.

IPFones IP-700m Skype Phone Review

July 28, 2005

Ratings Score Installation Documentation Features Usability Performance Overall Thomas Bui over at IPFones sent me a couple IPFones IP-700m USB World Phones to try out.While there are many USB audio/phone devices on the market, what's unique about the IP-700m is its cool LCD display and its tight integration with Skype.

The product which very similar to a cellphone (though wired not wireless) features CallerID display on the LCD as well as multiple ring tones. One of the first things I noticed right off the bat is that it's small and light. You can fit it in your pants pocket even with the long cord.

Installing the IP-700m was a snap. Simply install the software from the CD and then plug in the device into an available USB port.

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