With a new 3G iPhone planned( Not confirmed, however there are enough indication of a New iPhone with 3G capability ) for this year, the question lingering in many minds are- what will be the killer application, given that the phone shall support 3G speed. Off course, 3G speed makes the iPhone sexier with respect to browsing and video streaming. Apart from this, Mobile VoIP over 3G network shouldn’t have the voice quality issues that we see on low bandwidth cellular network. Nonetheless, the excitement is short lived for Mobile VoIP; Apple has clearly stated that it support’s only VoIP over Wi-FI. This is no brainer; no vendor would burn the bridges with the operator by opening up their platform for making Mobile VoIP calls using the operator’s data network.
According to Christian Ziberg from tgdaily , Mobile VoIP and videoconferencing shall be the new killer application for iPhone. I would like to add messaging, location based applications, mobile widgets and mobile social networking apps to this killer app list. I don’t think plain vanilla Wi-FI based VoIP calling shall appeal to larger audience. What’s required is some kind of interface between mobile app and the existing clients like what fring does. In fact, today fring announced their iPhone VoIP app . Note, in order to install fring; you need an opened iPhone with the Installer and a Wi-Fi access. From a consumer standpoint, applications that support calling Skype or any other IM clients from iPhone using Wi-FI interface will have an edge compared to just plain free calling minutes through Wi-FI.
Regardless of whether we get the 3G iPhone this year, Apple has announced their iPhone 2.0 software due in June this year. Apple’s Senior Vice President Phil Schiller listed some of the top features like push e-mail; push calendar; push contacts; global address list; support for Cisco IPSec Virtual Private Network, certificates and identities; the WPA 2/802.1x security standard; enforced security policies; mass device configuration; and remote wipe
All that said VoIP on iPhone is not something new to the consumer world. There are quite a few vendors like Jajah , Truephone and IM+ skype that already support VoIP on iPhone. Jajah supports its web-activated call back solution on iPhone. Well, this is not really a VoIP calling. However, jajah is working on a native app for iPhone that shall support Free/Cheap calls from Wi-Fi network. Apparently, truephone was the first company to build native VoIP on iPhone. IM+ skype supports calling skype from iPhone. I looked at their service, not very impressed though. I didn’t like the concept of using SkypeOut or SkypeIn for voice calls. There are other vendors who do the Job quite well and free. (More about skype mobile clients in my next article). Another company worthy of mention is Sight Speed ; this is basically a video conference startup. These guys are working hard building a video conference application for iPhone
I still wonder what would happen to all these companies if Apple plans to bring in their own client iChat. IChat support voice, video and messaging. So this shall pretty much blow away all the third party apps that are in the voice and messaging game. This should be something that these companies should be wary about.
Another interesting angle to iChat is the Apple’s Unified communication play. This is something speculated by folks at tgcity. I guess it’s too early to talk about Unified communication play from Apple. I don’t think Apple has the entire infrastructure to support a full fledged Unified Communication.
So folks, if you come across interesting VoIP apps for iPhone, please let me know by leaving a comment. Thanks
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Posted by Ravi Shankar at 10:36 PM