Facebook adds VoIP calling to Android app in US.
Facebook has enabled its free voice calling feature in Facebook Messenger to Android users in the United States and around the world, months after the iOS version. After an initial roll-out in Canada and the UK, the Android version of Facebook Messenger allows users to tap the 'i' button on a contact, and then offers the Free Call option. The sudden release of the feature in the US follows the launch of the Facebook Home launcher, which introduces an Android overlay that allows for greater use of the social network.
Formerly a Messenger-only feature, still no Android version
Facebook users in the US and Canada who are online with the service can now call each other for free on the main Facebook iOS app, a feature formerly restricted to the Facebook Messenger program. The feature, which works over both Wi-Fi and 3G/LTE connections, allows friends to start a chat session and then change it into a voice call. Currently the feature works with the iPhone or iPod Touch version of the Facebook app only, but should arrive to the iPad version through an update expected soon.
DCAC in Quantico will allow FBI to increase Internet monitoring
The FBI is reportedly forming a unit to develop new technologies for electronic surveillance, enabling the agency to expand monitoring capabilities for VoIP, wireless signals, and the Internet. According to Cnet, the Domestic Communications Assistance Center, located in Quantico, VA, will serve to intercept Skype conversations and analyze data received from a social network or carrier.
All functions on one screen, keeps history in the cloud
Telefonica, the Spanish parent company of Britain's O2 cell network, has launched its first iPhone app as a direct competitor to programs like Skype. The new app, TuMe (free), combines free text chat, voice calls and picture and location sharing between users of the TuMe app, all in one program rather than having to switch between the Phone and iMessage applications. An Android version is planned for later in the year.
Bureau seeking support for mandatory backdoors
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reportedly meeting with Internet companies to promote upcoming legislation that will require surveillance backdoors for web-based services such as social networks, e-mail, messaging and VoIP. The agency has yet to formally announce the push, however unnamed sources have told Cnet that senior FBI officials are quietly meeting with US senators, Obama administration officials and industry executives in an attempt to muster support.
Unsuccessful buyers will be first, e-mail signups
Republic Wireless, a new cell carrier that will be offering at least Android model phones and a $19 unlimited voice, text and 3G data plan, will be adding models and resuming a beta rollout in June, the company announced via a blog post. The carrier will get in touch with customers who were unable to buy phones during the previous beta and those who signed up for e-mail news and assign them in alphabetical "waves" for a potential signup.
Automatic updates, full screen mode, more
The Skype Group at Microsoft has updated Skype, its VOIP calling, chatting and video-conferencing application for the Mac, to version 184.108.40.206. The new release primarily adds automatic updating to the program, along with an improved user interface for group video calls, the ability to delete conversations, a new full-screen mode for Lion and the ability to disable Audio Gain Control. The new release also fixes several minor bugs and issues.
Quality sound for music, gaming and chat
CompuExpert has introduced a lightweight, foldable, rechargeable wireless headset called the Airhead 1000 that positions itself as a top-quality music headphone system that also happens to handle chat and gaming experiences. The headset provides up to 12 hours of wireless use at a stretch and features both a USB charging port and a 3.5mm line-out jack for a second headset or speakers. It works with all major chat, VoIP and gaming networks up to 30 feet from the computer.
Phone displays caller's Facebook profile photo
VoIP provider Ooma has detailed a new cordless handset with smartphone elements to enhance its Internet-based voice calling. The Ooma HD2 gets a still-small but improved two-inch color screen and picture caller ID. With it, users see caller's Facebook profile picture, giving a much better ability to gauge if it's a friend or not.
Claims infringement on 12 VoIP patents
Sprint has filed lawsuits Monday against Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, and Cable One. The complaints against the four were filed separately in a Kansas City federal court. The US' third largest wireless carrier alleges that each cable provider infringed on 12 patents that it holds for digital voice calls sent over landlines.
New update "fixes" bundled Google software "issue"
Yesterday, Microsoft officially
finalized its $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype. Although the VoIP service provider is now a unique division within Microsoft, and the company reiterated it would stay
platform agnostic, subtle changes are already taking place. Skype today released version 5.6 for Windows users (free, Skype), and it includes a noteworthy functional change. Google apps are no longer bundled in the installation package.
Works with 3G or Wi-Fi, requires Line2 account
Popular VOIP and telephony app Line2 has released a Line2 HD version for the iPad that lets users make or receive calls as well as text-message using Wi-Fi or 3G. The app requires an existing Line2 account (due to App Store restrictions, users must get the account from the website rather than within the app) and allows users to port over existing phone numbers, supports Visual Voicemail and generally turns the iPad into a full-fledged mobile phone.
Bluetooth accessory sold outside of subscription
Ooma has introduced a wireless accessory for its Telo home phone system. The Air adapter attaches directly to the back of the Telo box, enabling connection to a home network via Wi-Fi rather than requiring users to route an Ethernet cable. The wireless option is claimed to support the same level of quality as a direct connection.
Real-time profiles of callers via social networks
Built for the iPad, the new software and service HookFlash aims to challenge Skype and other VOIP rivals with corporate features such as group video conferencing, easy audio conference calling, group messaging and real-time participant profiles generated from social and business networks, among other features. Exiting and re-entering conference calls can be done with a swipe of a finger, and conversations can be recorded and shared if desired.
Turns any landline into a Skype phone
Skype customers in the U.S. and Canada can now buy a home phone adapter called the FreeTalk Connect-Me that gives them the option of using their existing landline or just a traditional phone handset as a Skype phone, either using an unlimited plan or Skype credit to call cell phones, landlines, other Skype users and even make international calls. Once the device is initially set up (using a computer), the computer connection is no longer needed and only a broadband modem is needed.
Aimed at gamers, VOIP users, voice dicatation
Utilizing a separate microphone built into each headphone house and a dedicated, in-line USB sound card, Andrea Electronics says its new SuperBeam headsets offer "boom-free" audio recording and better bass, midrange and treble than most computers' built-in sound systems. The dual-mic array cancels background noise, making the headsets ideal for VOIP calls, video and game chatting and speech-recognition software. It can also be used to make binaural "3D audio" recordings.
Service allows VOIP calls between users
Exactly a month after taking down the service in April, T-Mobile's Bobsled VOIP Facebook calling will return with a new look this week to distinguish it more clearly from any Facebook communications option, the company announced. Facebook had originally requested that the company change the look of the application, fearing it would confuse users by resembling too closely an official Facebook service. The service, which will also work on T-Mobile Android phones, allows Facebook users to call each other by their contact names, even if the recipient does not have the app.
Details corroborate earlier leak
Kineto Wireless, a company that provides Wi-Fi calling technology, has reportedly confirmed that T-Mobile plans to offer free Wi-Fi calling to many of its subscribers. The information corroborates a recent leak suggesting that T-Mobile will no longer deduct Wi-Fi calling from the voice minutes included in the company's wireless plans.
Document leaks outline several plans
Several leaked documents suggest T-Mobile is preparing to offer unlimited Wi-Fi calling and expanded information for caller ID, while the Gingerbread update for G2 handsets is listed as "coming soon." The internal memos, which were posted by TmoNews, note that subscribers who have signed up with an Even More, Even More Plus or 4G Do More plan will be able to make calls over Wi-Fi connections without using voice minutes.
Also resolves video freezing issue, other bugs
VOIP telephony company Skype has released an official update correcting a serious security issue in their most current version of Skype for Mac, a problem that could have been exploited by an attacker to remotely take control of the computer. New version 220.127.116.117, available directly from the company or through the program's own update mechanism, closed the security hole and also resolves other minor bugs, including an issue of video "freezing" in high packet-loss situations.
New service available for $55/month
Vonage has expanded its range of VoIP services with a new plan that allows users to take advantage of unlimited international calling to mobile phones. The plan, which carries the label World Premium Unlimited, currently extends to 42 different countries such as China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the UK, among others.
Company starts contest to redesign chat window
VoIP provider Skype has announced a fresh update to its Mac client, v5.1. While minor in some respects, the update does add the ability to dial recent numbers from the dialpad, speeding up some calls. During conference calls, the software now makes it easier to identify the active speaker.
Utility lacks Skype's landline calling abilities
Developer Crisp App has released a new iOS app, Facebook Messenger, that pairs social networking with VoIP functionality. The utility allows users to place free VoIP calls to other Facebook users via an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or web-based client.
Former VoIP partner seeking damages
Technology company VoIP Inc filed a lawsuit against Google in New York Supreme Court on Monday that claims the Internet giant had unjustly broken its contract and stolen proprietary Internet calling technology. The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, trade secret theft, and unjust enrichment. VoIP is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, disgorgement of illegal gains, an injunction and attorney's fees.
Skype involvement remains unknown
Facebook may be working on a new feature that will allow users to place voice calls. A leaked screenshot posted on The Daily What shows a 'Call' button alongside existing options for text-based chat and messaging. The function allegedly appeared for a brief moment, but quickly disappeared from the menu.
VoX members can use Nimbuzz with iPhone
The iPhone version of Nimbuzz, a popular IM and VOIP calling app, has added VoX Communications as a SIP/VOIP partner for outgoing calls. Existing VoX customers can download and use Nimbuzz for iPhone as a mobile version of their home account, allowing them to make calls to any phone. VoX will now occupy the second spot on the SIP providers list that users can choose from within the app, behind Nimbuzz's own NimbuzzOut service.
Android phone for T-Mobile with unusual keyboard
Motorola's upcoming Cliq 2 handset for T-Mobile has been spotted today in a leak that suggests it will be a major upgrade. A source for Cellphone Signal said the Cliq 2, sometimes called "Begonia," will be a high-end Android phone with a five-megapixel camera and possible calling over its 802.11n Wi-Fi. It may also permit WiFi VoIP calling. Like the original Cliq, the Cliq 2 will use a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but here in a staggered honeycomb layout.
Problem may be fundamental to iOS
iOS is allowing webpages to dial Skype calls without confirmation, a report says. Typically, when the mobile version of Safari encounters a "tel://" extension prompting it to start a conventional phone call, a pop-up window allows people to confirm or cancel. HTML using the "skype://" extension, however, can force a device to load Skype and dial without any extra prompting.
Tweaks speed up interface access
VoIP provider Skype today launched a beta 5.0 version of its Mac client software. The code marks an important leap, as the Windows client is already at v5.0, whereas the latest stable Mac release is v2.8, although features are not so far separated. The main addition in the Mac beta is support for group video calling, which requires a v5.0-level client for all parties.
Works with Wi-Fi, 3G, even EDGE
NetTalk.com, a low-cost VOIP competitor to services such as Skype, Vonage and MagicJack, is offering a free app through iTunes that enables iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users the chance to call phone numbers throughout the US and Canada at no cost -- even using a conference call function. The service can make the calls using Wi-Fi, 3G or even EDGE networks without using cellular plan minutes.
Hack enables functionality missing from US app
In just a few days following Skype's Android app launch, hackers have reportedly managed to enable VoIP calling over 3G networks. Although international users could take advantage of 3G VoIP calling without using modified software, the US release restricted users to placing calls over Wi-Fi networks.
ISDN adapter available, preference panes added
Sunrise Telephone Systems has announced its 2010 version of Asterisk for Mac OS X. The software is a port of the Linux version, and allows a Mac to host a private branch exchange -- PBX -- telephone system and VoIP server. An optional ISDN adapter brings compatibility with ISDN telephone lines. It offers features like auto-attendant, call forwarding, call screening and call transfers. It also has interactive voice response menus, music-on-hold, call conferencing, voicemail, voicemail-by-email and IP phone support.
MagicJack femtocell due at wireless provider
The promised MagicJack femtocell is due to arrive later this year, but it has now been revealed that it will be sold at an unnamed wireless provider. The device will allow users to tie it into compatible cellphones to route calls over the Internet and therefore save callers from using up their cellphone minutes.
Update expands 2nd-line service app's abilities
Toktumi has launched an iOS 4 update to its VoIP and cellular app, Line2 v2.4. The app allows users to operate a second phone number on an iPhone, supporting VoIP calling when possible and reverting to cellular when necessary, functioning over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks. It can provide voice-calling service via Wi-Fi when AT&T service is unavailable, for users who can't afford to miss a call, or for users who are often in an AT&T dead spot. Line2 can also save cellular minutes on A&T's network, with unlimited US and Canada calling and low cost international calling.
Company cites need for 'additional tests'
It will still be a while before a properly iOS 4-ready Skype app is launched for the iPhone and iPod touch, the company now says. "With every update to the iPhone OS (now called iOS), Apple introduces a number of changes to the software," a statement reads. "In order to make sure we give you the best experience possible, we need to carry out some additional tests with the final version of iOS 4."
People dissatisfied with carrier reception
diglloyd has updated its series of Mac Performance Guides with a new article covering the performance of several eSATA cards available for the MacBook Pro. The guide looks at three different models, including the OWC Slim ExpressCard to eSATA Adapter ($28), Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro ($198), and Sonnet Tempo SATA Edge ($50). Testing is said to show that in all cases eSATA cards outperform FireWire 800, but due to the MacBook Pro's low-bandwidth ExpressCard/34 slot, top performance is only between 45 and 70 percent of the fastest peripherals for the Mac Pro. Out of the three eSATA cards the review says that the Sonnet Tempo SATA Pro offers the absolute best performance, though for a fraction of the cost, the OWC card is only 10 percent slower. Also in favor of OWC is plug-and-play compatibility, and an ability to boot a computer from an eSATA drive.
iPhone version likely to allow video calls
Skype will release the first iPad-native version of its VoIP app this summer, or according to the company's Asia-Pacific VP, Dan Neary. While the current iPhone app works on the iPad, it is not designed for the platform, which entails using more screen space and/or expanding features. Coming at roughly the same time should be a new iPhone app, at a minimum supporting v4.0 firmware features such as multitasking.
Famous VoIP app continues to be crippled
In spite of a demonstration of Skype running with new features on iPhone 4.0 firmware, 3G support for the VoIP app may not be coming for a while, a Wired article suggests. The app was recently updated for v3.x devices but continues to lack 3G, a potentially cost-saving option given AT&T's unlimited data plans and reversal of stance on VoIP technology. Several other apps already support 3G VoIP, such as Fring.
VoIP app offers first two minutes free
Goober Networks has launched two new apps for the iPhone: an IM app, Goober, and a VoIP app, Goober VoIP. The basic Goober app allows users to send and receive messages, and manage Goober Galleries. It also provides access to a virtual hard disk, called a Webfolder.
Vlingo gains contact selection, auto-listen
Vlingo has released a major update of its self-named iPhone app, now at v2.0.0. The title allows voice recognition for tasks like dialing, maps, web searches and Facebook and Twitter updates. E-mail and text messaging are also features, although these cost $7 as separate in-app downloads or $10 when bought together. Vlingo itself is free.
Developer claims support on iPhone app
Apple has allegedly lifted the VoIP restrictions with the latest iPhone 3.2 SDK, according to the developer iCall. The new SDK features several utilities geared for development on the new iPad platform, however it also appears to have quietly enabled VoIP communication across 3G networks. Developers had previously been limited to running VoIP apps only on Wi-Fi Internet connections.
Yelp 4.0.0 adds several major features
Developers Yelp and Skype have updated their flagship iPhone apps, introducing significant changes. The free Yelp app is now at v4.0.0, and adds a check-in option, which tells friends that a person is visiting a particular business. Frequent visiting marks a person as a regular, and the system can also be used to locate a user via map or Monocle views.
Box connected directly to home Internet
Ooma has announced that its Telo VoIP device is set to get several additional features. The company's Pure Voice technology is claimed to maintain landline-quality audio even with consistent packet loss of up to 50 percent. The system complements built-in QoS methods and reduces bandwidth requirements, helping the Telo work effectively when using Internet connections heavily used by other services such as streaming video, gaming, or downloads.
Enables Mac-based corporate telephony
FacetCorp has unveiled a new version of FacetPhone, designed for Snow Leopard Server. The technology is a PBX VoIP telephone system, meant to carry between 25 and 1,000 phones. Businesses can implement features such as auto attendants, visual voicemail, call recording and various call center-related options.
Deal estimated to be worth $50 to $60 million
Apple may be ready to buy VoIP business iCall, claims a source in contact with Silicon Alley Insider. In addition to featuring a Windows client, iCall also provides VoIP services through an iPhone app and a limited web client. Apple and iCall are allegedly already in talks, working on a deal estimated to be worth $50 to $60 million.
Buy could help company compete with Skype
Google on Thursday officially confirmed its acquisition of the VoIP company Gizmo5. Unnamed sources leaked the information earlier this week, including the alleged $30 million price tag. The startup initially had been eyed by Skype, however the deal never materialized.
Buyout could make Google Voice a Skype competitor
Google has allegedly moved to acquire the VoIP startup Gizmo5, according to a TechCrunch report. Neither company has announced the sale, although the unnamed sources claim it has been finalized for a sum of $30 million in cash. The purchase follows recent reports that Skype was eying the startup, a deal that never came to fruition.
Reneging on promises?
Apple is still preventing the use of 3G VoIP on iPhones, according to observers. While Wi-Fi has always been an option for Skype and other iPhone VoIP apps, 3G calling has typically been blocked out of bandwidth concerns, and the potential for depriving cellphone carriers -- namely AT&T -- of voice revenue. In regions with unlimited data, 3G VoIP could effectively circumvent minute limitations.
iPhone app ties into AT&T plans
Vonage plans to release iPhone and BlackBerry applications on Monday afternoon Eastern time, Reuters says. The apps should make Vonage's VoIP service portable on any American BlackBerry or iPhone. Unlike most VoIP offerings however, the apps do not attempt to provide free calling. They instead provide cheaper rates, in some cases more than 50 percent below normal carrier fees, according to Vonage.
Insists app has not been rejected
Apple has already issued a response to today's release of an uncensored Google submission to the FCC, according to Silicon Alley Insider. "We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter," reads a statement from an Apple representative. Reiterating an earlier point of view, the representative adds that "Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google."