VoIP on iPad - Yes!

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Tom Keating
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VoIP on iPad - Yes!

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Yes, it's true - you can do VoIP on the new Apple iPad. The iPad sports WiFi, 3G, speaker, and a microphone - all you need to do VoIP. But the real kicker is that Apple just modified their iPhone/iPad SDK to ALLOW VoIP over 3G. Yes, my friends, now you too can hold a massive 9.7" screen to your head - bulkiness and radiation be damned!

The pertinent part of the SDK is as follows:

3.3. 23 Because some mobile network operators may prohibit or restrict the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality over their network, such as the use of VoIP telephony over a cellular network, and may also impose additional fees, or other charges in connection with VoIP, You agree to inform end-users, prior to purchase, to check the terms of agreement with their operator, for example, by providing such notice in the marketing text that You provide accompanying Your Application on the App Store.

9. Third Party Terms of Agreement: You must state in the EULA that the end-user must comply with applicable third party terms of agreement when using Your Application, e.g., if You have a VoIP application, then the end-user must not be in violation of their wireless data service agreement when using Your Application.

So Apple is basically saying to developers "feel free to create VoIP over 3G apps, just make sure you state in the EULA that the end user must not violate any third party agreement, i.e. a carrier saying you can't do VoIP over 3G". But most users ignore EULAs anyway, so even if the carriers "ask you not to do VoIP over 3G" the carriers would be hard pressed to punish their users for using VoIP over 3G. Why? Because at least in the U.S. the FCC would be all over them.

Holding the iPad to your ear for phone calls will be mighty tough unless you use your Bluetooth headset. I'm hoping they put better echo cancellation and larger speakers so you can just use speakerphone mode. I grade the iPhone's speakerphone mode a solid B- which is not good enough. I'm also still waiting for Skype to release an 'official' version that supports VoIP over 3G. Granted my jailbroken iPhone supports Skype over 3G, but not everyone likes to be "breaking the law... breaking the law..."

Also check this out via PR Newswire:
Apple Lifts 3G VoIP Restrictions, iCall with 3G Support Available Immediately
 
iCall VoIP services for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch are now available for use over 3G networks such as AT&T wireless.

GREENWICH, Conn., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Apple Computer, Inc. has updated the iPhone developer SDK to allow VoIP over cellular networks. iCall is the first and only VoIP application that functions on the iPhone and iPod Touch over cellular 3G networks.

iCall is a market leader in desktop and mobile-based desktop calling platforms, including its highly popular version for the Apple iPhone.  Until today, restrictions imposed on developers prohibited VoIP functionality on any 3G network.

VoIP on the iPhone has been the source of many debates with companies such as Google being denied access to the platform and the FCC inquiring as to the restrictions in the Apple App Store; iCall is one of the few VoIP applications that has been permitted by Apple to operate on the iPhone platform.

With the latest revisions Apple has made to the iPhone developer agreement and Software Development Kit, iCall for the iPhone and iPod Touch now enabled unrestricted free local and long distance calling over 3G data networks.  iCall with support for VoIP over 3G networks is now available in the App Store for download.  iCall is the first and only VoIP application available for the iPhone platform that allows use over 3G networks.  iCall for the iPhone and iPod Touch may now be downloaded from the App Store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icall-free-voip/id293837001?mt=8&uo=6

iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert is quoted as saying, "I applaud Apple's decision to allow iCall to extend its functionality beyond Wi-Fi and onto the 3G networks. This heralds a new era for VoIP applications on mobile platforms, especially for iCall and our free calling model. I hope that now more developers will begin using our VoIP as a platform to integrate VoIP into their applications."

About iCall, Inc.:
iCall is a privately held company providing a free and low-cost VoIP calling platform that is currently available for your desktop PC, iPhone and iPod Touch. iCall saves consumers money on phone calling through ad-supported calling.

iCall was founded in 2005 by Arlo Gilbert and Andy Muldowney with the goal of providing low and no-cost calling services to consumers. In January 2006, iCall first released its iCall Free Calling desktop application. iCall's free calling network now boasts over more than 4 million unique downloads.

In addition to consumer products, iCall offers wholesale VoIP solutions and a developer platform through iCall Carrier Services. iCall's private network carries over 350 million minutes of voice traffic per month to destinations around the globe.


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