I downloaded Fring for the iPhone this past weekend and have been testing it over the last few days. My take is when it works, it works very well. When it doesn’t — well, it just plain doesn’t.
As you may recall, Tom Keating calls Fring the Swiss Army Knife of VoIP/IM communications.
In my tests I chatted and called a few different people. Sound quality in my home was excellent. Sound quality at TMC was another story. In calls to Tom Keating, about half of them were of acceptable sound quality. The other half seemed like there was a simultaneous fax call on the line. If you are a Star Trek fan, it sounded like I was speaking to a Binar.
In terms of presence, when it works — again, it works well. I noticed it took a minute or so for presence information to come through. I also noticed when I wasn’t in the Fring client and someone sent me an IM, it usually did not go to the Fring client on the iPhone.
In all cases, tests were performed with Skype and as always, I had Skype simultaneously logged in on my laptop and PC.
So for calling, Fring works well. And it should be noted you cannot make VoIP calls over the 3G connection — a severe iPhone limitation. This is intentional BTW and you can send your complaints about this intentional device crippling directly to Apple/AT&T.
But to make quick and easy VoIP calls over WiFi to Skype and users of other communications software clients, Fring on the iPhone is a great solution. In order for the solution to be better, Apple would have to let the iPhone support multitasking so when you get an IM or call in the background, you could know about it immediately.
See also:Skype on iPhone