Fring comes to Windows Mobile phones

FringFring has further expanded its mobile VoIP (mVoIP) community by adding Windows Mobile 5.0 and 6.0 series devices to its list of supported handsets. The software is going to work on around 300 Windows Mobile series 5.0 & 6.0 handsets and PDAs!

Fring is a VoIP-IM aggregation client, that allows fringsters to communicate for free with fring, Skype, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, hundreds of SIP providers, and even twitter. In addition to the 300 Windows Mobile phones and pocket PCs, Fring is currently available for 20+ Nokia/Symbian-based phones over 3G, GPRS or Wi-Fi. Fring is a free, downloadable mobile phone application. Fring also support calls to the PSTN via SkyOut and is enhanced with real-time presence.

While Fring is london-based (hence, the primary support for Nokia/Symbian based phones which is the primary phone type in Europe), adding Windows Mobile support will help Fring grow its user base in the US.

Coming soon: a wave of touch-screen devices

Remember when the iPod was introduced. The click wheel was surprisingly easy to use, and mobile phone manufacturers quickly caught on, introducing mobile phones such as the LG Chocolate VX8500, Samsung X838, and the Nokia 7380Now Apple with the iPhone and Microsoft with the Surface will spark a new wave of user interface technology, primarily for mobile phones and consumer electronics such as portable game consoles, personal digital assistants, and portable navigation devices.

The iPhone is not the first cell phone to have touch screens. 38 million or 4 percent of mobile phones shipped in 2006 had touch-screens. iSuppli projects this number to grow to 90 million units by 2012. But these touch screens are single-touch. Palm Treo and Motorola ROKR E6, use “resistive touch” technology. The iPhone, LG Prada, LG Chocolate, and the HTC Touch smart phone use an advanced touch screen, featuring “projected capacitive” technology. This technology doesn’t even need actual physical contact: such touch screens already detect the proximity of a finger from 2 millimeters away. Capacitive touch screens can work with feather-like gestures, while resistive touch screens requires the harder poke of a stylus or a fingernail, making capacitive touch screens easier to work with. Capacitive touch screens are also generally brighter.

What differentiates the iPhone and Microsoft Surface from others is the Multi-touch screen that can respond to multiple simultaneous touches and can be integrated with optical imaging technologies. For example, this can be used to resize a window by pinching or expanding two fingers on the touch screen. The multi-touch screen market is expected to grow at 30.8% from $112.9 million (2007) to $433.1 million (2012).

Find iPhone Apps easily with AddFone

Just over a month ago, the iPhone didn’t have much 3rd party application support:

Other issues that may limit uptake: iPhone is on a new operating system and has yet to form a developer community that can optimize the vast store of games, content and apps for the iPhone.

Well, things have changed quickly. So much so that there’s even an iPhone Application Directory developed by AddFone.

AddFone is an application that searches and catalogs iPhone applications. AddFone is accessible from an Internet Browser (including from the iPhone, which has the safari browser).

Anyone can add an application by providing the associated title, URL, description, and tags. A user can retrieve a list of applications by entering a search term.

Overall, this is a relatively straightforward and simple application that is easy to use. Expect many similar Directory apps to mushroom overnight.
Addfone iPhone Apps Directory

AT&T Video Share is calling! Will Users Answer?

AT&T Video Share AT&T debuted the first wireless videophone service in the United States. Don’t get too excited because this is not a full-blown video calling – the live streaming video feed is just one-way, and callers have to manually switch feed directions. Both users can see the Video Share while participating in a two-way voice conversation.

Currently, Video Share is only available in Atlanta, Dallas, and San Antonio. Starting late July, the service will expand to 160+ U.S. markets. At $4.99 a month for 25 minutes, $9.99 for 60 minutes, or 35 cents per minute, pricing is a bit hefty. Ultimately, Video Share will be accessible on all three of AT&T’s “screens” — the wireless device, the PC (CallVantage) and the TV.

The biggest drawbacks of Video Share are:

  1. Both users in a call have to have a phone that supports Video Share (currently only the Samsung A717, the Samsung Sync, and the LG CU500v).
  2. The Video Share feature has to be activated in order to use Video Share in a call.
  3. For Video Share calling, both users have to be within AT&T’s 3G network coverage.
  4. Questionable User Interface of having the camera on the front side, the backside, or available on both sides via a rotating camera, on the phones.
  5. Users are generally concerned about their privacy and don’t want the other side to know where they are at, especially on the go.

To top it off, video calling in other countries have not been successful. While some of these drawbacks will be rectified over time, concerns over privacy of users will limit Video Share to a few scenarios.

4 Reasons you wont have Skype on Cell phones anytime soon

Skype has been an amazing success in the wireline domain, with over 171 million registered users, availability in 28 languages, and a large eco-system of WiFi handsets and Cordless Phones (Netgear WiFi Phone), Telecom gateways (iSkoot), and ATA/Gateways (VoSky). However, Skype has a very limited presence on cellular networks.

Its not for lacking of trying – Skype probably has engaged cellular service providers, but with very limited success. For example, Skype has a partnership with the cellular provider ‘3’ to offer Skype on cellphones, but using a gateway from iSkoot rather than installing a Skype client on the mobile phone. This allows ‘3’ to utilize its voice network capacity and measure minutes of use. More importantly, it appears to be a great ploy to use Skype buzz to promote ‘3’s services on the X-series handsets. Likewise, even Skype’s short lived promotion with German cellular operator E-Plus was to promote its 3G service via Skype. Similarly, a partnership with Motorola to develop a Skype client has gone nowhere.

The primary reason wireless operators baulk at Skype is the fear of cannibalizing voice ARPU and over-utilizing its data network. Skype’s wireless ambitions haven’t succeeded, so Skype has resorted to complaining and petitioning the FCC. I’m sure wireless operators will welcome Skype into their backyard now!

For the following reasons, Skype will not be a mainstream cellular application anytime soon:

  1. Most mobile phones are closed. It is virtually impossible for a user to install a Skype client without the cellular operators support. These are the run-of-the-mill phones that comprise about 90% of mobile phones in the US (PDA’s, Smartphones, or Blackberrys are not in this category).
  2. Most users couldn’t install applications in mobile phones. Even if the users could install applications on a phone, many users don’t know how to do it. In theory, users could install applications in Java phones, but difficult in practice for ordinary users. It is much easier to install an application on a PDA, Smartphone, or a Blackberry, but still few people do it.
  3. Cellular networks are not geared for Peer-to-Peer (P2P). Skype uses P2P, and if a Skype application on a mobile phone acts as a ‘supernode’, it can be sending and receiving transmissions even when the user is not on a Skype call. This can clog up todays wireless networks quickly (even 3G), reducing the service experience for other wireless users as well.
  4. No quality guarantees. Skype is a VoIP technology, and in packet data networks, transmissions have to compete with other transmissions. In most cases, voice communication requires constant transmission in both directions, but this cannot be guarateed without Qualty of Service (QoS) guarantees.

Without cooperation from cellular providers, Skype may be limited to either complaining and petitioning the FCC and working with gateway providers such as iSkoot

IPdrum has a clugy way to use Skype from a cell phone.

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my RSS feed for more cool stuff

iPhone launch on June 29 is Smart Strategy

Everyone knows that the Apple iPhone is launching on June 29th right? If you didn’t, check iPhone fanatics day and thousands of other blogs, so you know when to camp the night outside an apple store.

Debuting the iPhone is another great strategy from Apple.

First, by launching on a Friday, Apple will maximize the number of people crowding at a store or going online to purchase an iPhone. For those looking to camp out outside a store, friday is the easy day to get off work or to skip school (not that many students can afford an iPhone). Many people go out on Thursdays anyway, so why not enjoy a couple of drinks prior to joining the line outside an Apple store (pre-store-opening conversations and fights are usually more interesting after a few drinks anyways). Friday is also easier for those purchasing online, whether waking up early or surreptitiously purchasing online at work.

Continue reading iPhone launch on June 29 is Smart Strategy

Will HTC Touch be the iPhone Killer?

HTC recently announced the HTC Touch, a smartphone running Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Professional (the version for touch-screen devices). The timing seems clearly aimed at garnering some of the wide publicity that the iPhone is receiving.

HTC Touch

So, what are the similarities to iPhone?

The focus on a touch screen as a defining feature in the HTC Touch is similar to the emphasis Apple has put in the iPhone. Apple highlighted touch screen as a key feature of the iPhone, including scrolling through songs and movies on the wide display.

The 2.8-inch screen (larger than iPhone) utilizes TouchFLO technology, where users need only sweep their fingers across the screen to activate an animated, three-screen, three-dimensional interface. With the one-touch features, users can instantly access to e-mails, contacts, and appointments. The screen also works with a slide-out stylus for text input and navigation. The customized home screen is also more finger-friendly, with software buttons that bring up the application launcher, a weather report, or the traditional home screen. Finger swipes can also be used to lock and unlock the device (for security and to prevent accidental launching of apps).

There are several important differences as well.

Unlike the iPhone, the Touch has a single navigational pad and button below the display.

There also no iPod-like software keyboard, other than the standard Windows Mobile soft keyboard.

The Touch comes with a 1GB Micro-SD card, presumably for music and movie storage, but this is no match for iPhones’s 4GB or 8GB. Nonetheless this is useful for storing music or for making good use of the built-in 2-megapixel CMOS camera.

The HTC Touch includes multiple wireless technologies, including triband GSM for voice and EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for data.

As Dan Nystedt points out, the iPhone focuses on entertainment, so its primarily geared towards consumers who value music, videos, and ease-of-use (of course, great show-off value as well).

The HTC Touch focuses on e-mail, network connectivity, applications, and other more business-like uses. I would say the HTC Touch is geared towards business customers, but also looking to have the latest and greatest in ease-of-use and hipness. Nonetheless, I highly doubt that HTC Touch will be an iPhone killer.

Then again, wudda know!!!

Get ready for the iPhone launch on June 29

For the fanatics looking to be one of the first to have the iPhone, June 29th is the much awaited day when the iPhone hits the stores (only available at Apple and AT&T stores and on Apple and AT&T web sites). Lines are expected to be long, so better hurry and get there early (may be a couple of days early).

Neither AT&T nor Apple is accepting pre-orders for the phone, so it will be first-come, first served at more than 1,800 AT&T and nearly 200 Apple stores, plus the Apple website.

Continue reading Get ready for the iPhone launch on June 29

Will Apple sell 10 million iPhones in 2008?

The iPhone will be launched in the US in June, according to Steve Jobs, and given his bold prediction of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008, its now time to think whether this is achievable.

There’s plenty of opinion on whether Apple will sell 10 million iPhones in 2008. Alex Zaharov-Reutt in Why Apple will sell 10 million iPhones in 2008 thinks so, while Eric Zeman in Can Apple Really Sell 10 Million iPhones?, the Gizmodo article by Matt Buchanan Forbes Analyst: 10 Million iPhones? Good Luck, and Lance Davis in Why Apple won’t sell 10 million iPhones in 2008 doubt it.

The question is, what will it take to sell 10 million iPhones in 2008?

Continue reading Will Apple sell 10 million iPhones in 2008?