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Posts from October 2008

More Benefits To iPhone Users in USA

AT&T is rolling out more benefits to Apple iPhone users all the time, as the war with T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless gets rolling with new devices (the Google Android G-1 and Blackberry Storm.)

What they are doing is offering all iPhone users free AT&T Hotspot access in their WiFi locations. This means for the most part Starbucks and McDonalds.

It's a tasty offer in my book.


Video Conferencing Effective or Not

A study by two university professors has raised some doubts about the effectiveness of video conferencing. I politely disagree.

The participation in a video conference, once you get the hang of it, is for me just like having a quick face to face chat with a colleague, and cuts down on driving, carbon emissions and more.

Video conferencing done well, is a very effective business tool and one tha we'll be seeing more of in the near future put into use by companies and families to cut down on travel and upgrade from plain old phone calls.


VON Folks Resurface with 4G Conference, Team Up With Rich Tehrani

If you thought this would never happen because it would take hell to freeze over, it must have. Well at least that's the rumor.

What I'm hearing is that long time VON business brain-trust, Scott Kargman, and VON Conference impresario, Carl Ford have teamed up with TMC's Rich Tehrani to produce the 4G Wireless Evolution Website and a conference in Miami next February.

The two websites are expected to go live tomorrow.

The premise of the conference and trade show are very simple. Be the eos of all things 4G. The 4G Wireless Evolution Conference becomes the first event dedicated solely to 4G technologies. It will take place February 2-4, 2009 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The website takes advantage of the traffic driving capabilities of TMC and will be led by Carl Ford who has spent the last few months delving into all things 4G. It will feature 4G related news, feature articles, blogs, product reviews, and other resources that will be an asset to all those living in the 4G world or planning to.

I see this as a win for everyone.


Fring Makes SIP Calling Easy With OnSIP from Junction Networks

Mike Oeth, the CEO and one of the founders of client Junction Networks shared some news with me recently. It was the kind of news that I liked to hear, because it showed that imagination was alive. With glee in his voice and a smile on his face he told me they had turned the iPhone into an extension of their award winning hosted IP-PBX platform, OnSip.

How did they do it? Did the build their own softphone? How could I get it? Those were my first questions. Since I’m already using OnSip when I travel this was something great to hear.

Then Mike shared the secret. It was FRING. Just like SIP based Gizmo Project being usable on the iPhone via Fring, so too it seemed was OnSip, so while this isn’t a full SIP endpoint device that gives you all the features of SIP, as a convenience to be connected to my OnSip account to place and receive calls, I was impressed.

Setting it up is easy. After downloading Fring, all you do is go in to the SIP settings and add your credentials. In a matter of seconds over WiFi you are instantly connected to the OnSip platform and I can make calls for free to others on the SIP platform anywhere as well as to my colleagues at Junction Networks.

What was really neat to me was the simplicity of it all and how it extends the reach of OnSip one more way.

Here’s a look at how easy it was to do.

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So think of this as an off premise extension to your office phone, not a full blown office phone and realize that the power of SIP keeps getting more and more user friendly.

Thanks Mike, John and Rob...I like it when my life gets simpler.


Consumer Guide For WiMax Now Out

Pal Paul Kapustka has his second WiMax report out and it's a goodie. It's a consumers' guide to WiMax.

From Paul:

– What the technology called “WiMax” is, and how it differs from home broadband services like DSL and cable modem, or cellular wireless data

– How its ability to keep users connected while mobile might empower new “local nomads” who want to take their Internet connectivity with them from home, to work and on their commutes

– How new pricing plans that include day passes and single bills for home and mobile service could help consumers lower their Internet access costs

The report also takes a look at the devices currently offered to connect to WiMax networks, and what the future might hold should WiMax connectivity find its way into consumer electronics or even automobiles. The new report is available for immediate download from www.sidecutreports.com for $149.95.


iSkoot For Skype On Android-A Difference In Experience

The Washington Post via TechCrunch drew attention to the new iSkoot's client for Skype on the Android G1.

My experience with the app was one that was not really what I expected it to be and I really wasn't going to write about it because I know from experience that the folks at iSkoot are capable of some really exceptional work, but since TC pushed it out and it made the Washington Post I wanted to provide some deeper insight to provide some balance to the story. As background the iSkoot client on the SkypePhone is nothing short of amazing, and others tell me the client on the BlackBerry works very well too. But on the G1, it's a non-starter until a lot of things that are very significant to the success of it get worked out, and unfortunately for iSkoot and the users, some of it may not only be technical. Having been using the iSkoot software on the SkypePhone and now SkypePhone2 in the UK, I can tell you it has been the one device and app that is a MUST carry and MUST use whenever I'm in the UK as it really does simplify my life when it comes to telephony.

Here are the issues I found over after a few days of trying the app at different times since last Wednesday:

1) It doesn't really work very well. My attempts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to connect by voice to others on my Skype buddy list failed each and every time.

2) The load and sync time takes minutes, not seconds. This may be a server issue, but since iSkoot isn't inside the T-Mobile network yet, like they are with Three (3) the problem likely won't go away too soon despite all of iSkoots world class engineers in Israel working to solve it.

3) Presence isn't working right. I never saw my entire Skype buddy list as the presence information seems to not be real time. As a matter of fact, sometimes you don't see your buddies on line that you may be chatting with on a Mac or PC using the real Skype client. I call it "pseudo presence," which brings me to my next point. Is this really Skype on the Android or not? I think not.

The above three factors are what makes Skype so useful. If you don't have them, you don't have Skype, and only have a pretender.

Reports also keep stirring that Skype is building their own client for a few devices beyond desktops and palmtops (the Nokia N810 is one great example) so things like Androids and iPhones have to come to mind, but when they get released is the question. I'd guess Q1 of next year, but I'm simply guessing. If so, it wouldn't surprise me if there was some degree of non-cooperative spirit between the two companies right now.

Having loved my experience with iSkoot on the SkypePhone and now SkypePhone2 I know that the team there can build a really good platform and an application that works fabulously, so I have to wonder if whether its the Android platform, T-Mobile's network or the Skype presence server interaction that makes all this so different. Given all of the above if I was iSkoot, I'd would pull the app, get it right or list it as Alpha and not put it in the Android Market so soon....and for the most important aspect of what iSkoot would bring to the Android and T-Mobile, call quality, unfortunately, given the errors there's no way I can report about that, as none of my calls ever got completed.

With 1.5 million Androids sold, including the 30 per T-Mobile stores that received them, getting grabbed up in hours on the first day, there was an immediate thirst for quality application that developers had a chance to capture ala the Apple iPhone. Clearly this was not as well done as the iPhone App Store launch which despite where the store had technical glitches, what was released inside to make calls worked from day one. And that may be the big difference between the Android and iPhone. The fact that Apple understands what a finished product is all about, versus something that is always beta. Think about it, when's the last time you saw Apple release a Beta of anything to the general public, let alone hype it via the blogosphere. Then again, even today, Google's Gmail remains Beta (including the paid for version.)

Unfortunately, the iSkoot app while not listed as Beta, really has to be viewed that way. And sadly, so does the entire Android Platform.


Broadsoft Makes Cuts

Earlier to day I wrote about job cuts at CounterPath. Now GigaOm is reporting cuts at BroadSoft.

This is going to happen, and is going to create a greater dependency on outsourced engineering teams and programmers around the globe. It is also going to mean that small and nimble companies like pal Thomas Howe are ideally positioned for lots of work.

I was with Thomas this week and he's getting all kinds of calls and new business. Other independents are reporting the same thing to me.