Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple approved 3G VoIP on iPhone

With the iPad launch today, apple had a change of heart towards VoIP apps, they approved 3G VoIP. Earlier there VoIP apps were restricted to use only WI-FI instead of AT&T wireless data network (aka 3G network). According to the press release , Apple has updated the iPhone developer SDK to allow VoIP over cellular networks. So with the latest update, iCall app, a VoIP app that runs on IPhone and iTouch was approved by Apple to use 3G network for voice. This is the first and only VoIP application that functions on the iPhone and iPod Touch over cellular 3G networks.

I just made a call using iCall app and the call was successful without any glitch. The call quality was good. No Complains.

I guess the timing of this announcement coincides well with the iPad launch. The iPad supports Wi-Fi with an inbuilt speaker and microphone. So it makes perfect sense to allow users to make and receive VoIP calls from iPad.

I know many folks(Here and Here ) in the industry have complained about the voice quality and the issue with Voice over 3G network. . Here is my take on this- VoIP over 3G network should be perfectly ok with respect to voice quality. The voice quality depends on the bandwidth and the type of Codec used by the applications. So depending on the bandwidth available, there are codec’s that require less that 5 Kbit/s,which is way too low compared to the bandwidth available on 3G network. In short, I don’t see this has a big issue. (I will write a detailed technical article on why Voice over 3G is possible with good QOS. Off course it depends on the coverage.).

So this is definitely good news to all the VoIP applications like Skype, Truphone, and Numbuzz etc.

Digg this

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google Voice on iPhone, Voice call Trick revealed

Yes, Google voice team found a way to provide Google Voice feature to all iPhone and Palm WebOS users via HTML5 interface. All you need to do is open your browser and type the mobile URL “” , enter your Google Voice Credentials and you are all set to use Google Voice features. Sorry Apple you can’t block Google Voice this time. From an UI standpoint, the browser client looks pretty darn good with some limitations.

Using the browser client, you can:
• Initiate Voice Calls
• Send SMS
• Listen to Voicemail
• Update your Google Voice settings

Some details about the Telco trick:

For initiating Voice call, Google does a Telco trick here. Here is how the calling works
• You enter the number using the dial pad
• When u enter dial, the UI shows two pop up window
• Dialed number and a message “ Please press Call below to connect to Google Voice
• There is another popup windows, which has two buttons “Cancel” and “Call” with a temporary number allocated by Google
• Once you press Call button, the native iPhone call window will show up and your call will get connected to the number you entered.

Google allocates a temporary telephone number( Here's my temp number allocated for the call - +1(512) 850-4666 ), which you need to dial to connect to the number that you entered using the dial pad. I did a reverse lookup on the temporary number and found out that the number belongs to Level 3 Communications. The mapping of dialed number to the temporary number is done every time you make a call. I tried calling different numbers and for all the numbers same temporary number was allocated. So I guess Google is sending a data message to the server with the dialed number information every time you make a call. The mapping is temporary. When I tried calling the number from my iPhone’s recent dialed list, the call failed. So this proves that the number is temporary. However, if I leave the browser immediately after I see the “Call” popup button, and dial the temporary number manually then the call gets connected to the number I entered in the dial screen. I guess Google server is probably running a timer within which the user should press the “Call” button. If the timer expires, the temporary number to dialed number mapping is deleted.

Here is a video on how it works on the Mobile :

Digg this

Apple tablet launch confirmed on CNBC

Oh Boy, McGraw-Hill’s CEO just made a mockery of the tablet surprise. He confirmed in the below video (check out at 2.50 sec) that Apple will announce tablet tomorrow (Jan 27). Looks like he just screwed up the surprise Steve jobs was planning for so many years. Nevertheless, now that the cat is out the bag, we just need to wait for the technical details. This video is definitely gone make Steve Jobs MAD!

"Yeah, Very exciting. Yes, they'll make their announcement tomorrow on this one. We have worked with Apple for quite a while. And the Tablet is going to be based on the iPhone operating system and so it will be transferable. So what you are going to be able to do now -- we have a consortium of e-books. And we have 95% of all our materials that are in e-book format on that one. So now with the tablet you're going to open up the higher education market, the professional market. The tablet is going to be just really terrific."

I love my iPhone! Tomorrow its gone be Tablet! Tablet! Tablet!

Digg this

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Truphone ambition, one world, one SIM is happening!

Truphone’s ambition to provide one world, one SIM is happening. It’s launching a new service called truphone local anywhere. The new service requires a multi-country SIM card that eliminates roaming charges and provides local voice, data and text rates. This should be a boon to all those frequent international travelers. The good thing about the new service is that it provides a local number of the country where you are travelling. However, not so good news is that they only support 2 countries (USA and UK). Truphone is promising to add more international countries this year. The service is possible because of the partnership agreement with Vodafone UK network. The agreement will give Truphone access to Vodafone UK's network to deliver voice and data services to its Truphone Local Anywhere™ customers. It’s a matter of time before they can forge partnership with other operators.

Truphone Local Anywhere offers customers four main benefits:
• Local calling rates in Truphone countries: With Truphone Local Anywhere, international travelers enjoy rates that are a fraction of standard roaming fees. For example, AT&T subscribers roaming in the U.K. pay between 99 cents and $1.29 per minute[i], depending on their calling plans, but from only 12 cents per minute with Truphone Local Rates
• Local contact numbers in Truphone countries: Local numbers mean people can call you on your mobile at local rates for them – at no cost to you.
• Low-cost international calling: Great rates to make international calls at home or abroad, offering savings of up to 90 percent over standard mobile operator charges.
• Low-cost roaming: Great rates when roaming in non-Truphone countries offering savings of up to 40 percent over standard mobile operator charges.

Other benefits of Truphone Local Anywhere include:
• The ability to manage Caller ID the world over, displaying a local number wherever you are
• Savings of up to 80 percent on roaming charges when visiting other countries
• An option, coming soon, to keep your existing phone number by moving it over to the Truphone network

Looks like this year is going to be great for truphone. We are seeing lot of consolidation in the VoIP space. Last year we saw bunch of companies being acquired including Jajah getting acquired by telefonica. Startups like truphone have very good chances to get acquired by bigger player. It seems to me that truphone is moving in the right direction. I had written earlier about truphone on how they want to become a global MVNO . To me truphone is definitely one of hot startup to watch for this year.

Digg this

Monday, January 18, 2010

Apple Tablet, iPhone 4 confirmed!

So folks Apple Tablet and iPhone 4 are confirmed to be launched this Jan 27th. The event is going to be invite only, and selected folks from media have already got invitation for the event. The event would most likely focus on three projects; the Apple Tablet, iPhone 4 and iLife 2010 software. The invitation below looks very creative and colorful, maybe there is a message in this picture.

So stay tuned and watch out for the live coverage of Apple Event. It will be worth your time. Hope we get to see Steve Jobs at his best again.

Digg this