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BDFL
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Topic # 97191 13-Feb-2012 14:21 Send private message

Cross posted here and in my blog:

Vonage is again moving into the mobile voice space with a new  app that makes it easy to talk and exchange text messages with contacts - either free or for a very low cost. Vonage Mobile is available now as an iPhone calling app or Android calling app. Sadly, no Windows Phone version is available yet.

I was invited to try the mobile app for myself, so I fired my test Android device and installed the Vonage Mobile app from the Android Market.

Vonage Mobile scanned my contacts list, identifying anyone who is already using the mobile app. Those were automatically added to a tab "Free Calls". This means any call I place to these contacts through Vonage Mobile will not be charged by Vonage (mobile data charges apply of course if your mobile is connected to the mobile data network). Since I have my smartphone connected through WiFi, they were virtually free.

 

You can place calls to standard phones as well, and call costs are very low. For example a call to a New Zealand landline costs US$0.022 per minute, a lot less than the NZ$0.49 per minute I would pay if using my mobile plan.

Calls between Vonage Mobile app users are encoded using a HD (High Definition) codec. This means the voice sound is much clearer. So much so that when I tested a call to another Vonage Mobile user I was surprised how different it sounded from those highly compressed low definition standard mobile voice calls.

Text messages are sent between Vonage Mobile users, and the interface is pretty similar to what you'd expect from an instant message app.

 

Some people on Twitter asked me what makes Vonage Mobile better or different from Skype for example. With Skype you have to add people to your contact list, and you have to remember what's the username/alias someone is using before you call. With Vonage Mobile you can search your contact list from within the app and place the call. 

Another difference is that Vonage Mobile allows you to topup your account (for standard phone calls) directly from the app, charging your Google Android Market or Apple iTunes accounts - this is without leaving the app.

For a limited time Vonage Mobile calls to numbers in the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico are free from anywhere in the world.

Users do not need to be a Vonage customer to use the app. All topups are done through the Android Market or iTunes.

When you install the app you will receive a SMS with a code to authenticate your mobile number. This means your mobile number will be used as the Caller ID when calling a landline or mobile.

Download Vonage Mobile now (iPhone calling app or Android calling app) and check it out. Invite your family and friends so you have someone to text or call, then let us know what you think.

This is a sponsored blog post, but I have used the Vonage Mobile app.




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  Reply # 582308 16-Feb-2012 12:37 Send private message

Downloaded the app and so far it seems quite good. The free minutes to the US is handy given my daughter is now over there but what I will probably do is have her sign up also so we can do intra Vonage calls for free. She is on an unlimited T-Mobile data plan and I either am on wifi or have a 1G data plan so neither of us are going to have data cap issues.

When calls are no longer free I will just stick to my current practice of using Google Voice callback to my SIP phone which has a US number and so US calls are free. Also the callback is now nicely integrated into the app so it's quite seamless.




System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR running on Gigabyte Brix, Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Logitech Revue, Pioneer AVR, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player, Roku XS media player

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  Reply # 582323 16-Feb-2012 12:58 Send private message

How does it compare to Viber?

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  Reply # 582354 16-Feb-2012 13:41 Send private message

Don't use Viber but from reading I don't think you can call landlines with it. You can with Vonage and Skype but it seems easier to buy credit for Vonage since it's directly paid for via the Market (or iTunes if you must do that).




System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR running on Gigabyte Brix, Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Logitech Revue, Pioneer AVR, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player, Roku XS media player

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  Reply # 582358 16-Feb-2012 13:47 Send private message

Exactly what he said ^^^^^.





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  Reply # 582373 16-Feb-2012 14:02 Send private message

Thanks

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  Reply # 582451 16-Feb-2012 16:46 Send private message

I just noticed that Vonage does not allow you to send SMS to regular phones, even if you pay for it whereas Skype does. Wonder why?




System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR running on Gigabyte Brix, Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Logitech Revue, Pioneer AVR, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player, Roku XS media player

Check out my blog at lchiu.blogspot.com



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  Reply # 582454 16-Feb-2012 16:51 Send private message

Not sure. But it wouldn't work well in New Zealand, because they use your mobile number is the Caller ID and Telecom is now blocking incoming SMS from overseas that present a New Zealand number...





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  Reply # 583212 18-Feb-2012 15:38 Send private message

I registered with a US number (my GV one), not that makes any difference except I didn't get the SMS confirmation (which I should have got since SMS to my GV number should appear in the GV app in my phone). Anyway I chose get a call which went to my phone via Sipdroid and I got the confirmation code read out to me.

That having been done I tried a call today to a landline in the US over 3G. The call quality was good, no silent moments and "what did you say?" etc and this was 2D 3G. The only caveat - the phone (a HTC Sensation) got quite hot. Not sure if that was the 3G radio or something else since the call lasted 30 minutes.

That being said it's interestig to read in their FAQ's that you should not use a BT headset since it might cause the app to freeze up!  That I would have thought is key functionality and pretty easy to implement using the Android SDK. Looks like a work in progress.




System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR running on Gigabyte Brix, Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Logitech Revue, Pioneer AVR, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen. Harman Kardon HK AVR 254 7.1 receiver, Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player, Roku XS media player

Check out my blog at lchiu.blogspot.com

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  Reply # 583214 18-Feb-2012 15:45 Send private message

I've used this on my 4S to call a Canadian mobile (free atm) and found the connection and clarity -very- good. However, apparently on the other end it wasn't as clear. I have yet to try an app-to-app call

I find Skype app-to-app slightly better than Viber, but Skype doesn't use push notifications so always has to be running

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