With the mobile operators leaning on Apple to not let VoIP calls be received easily on the iPhone, one has to wonder really if it's the operators or Apple. Dean Bubley of Disruptive Wireless got me thinking today about that as he mused about the pending Dell UMPC with an embedded 3G data chip on board.
Here's how I look at it.
On the UMPC's I have all I need to do is add a 3G dongle and run an IM app like Skype, Gizmo or Yahoo Messenger or a Softphone client like Eyebeam or Bria from Counterpath. The laptop behaves just like it should always on wired or WiFi broadband, making and receiving calls ala the mobile phone.
So, if Apple can't sell an iPhone that can make 3G calls, or receive calls over WiFi on the iPhone, yet I can do just that on the Nokia N and E series devices, what's to stop the carriers in general from allowing the Dell's to do the same thing?
The difference is Dell doesn't control the OS (Windows or Linux) that is on the UMPC, and what's more, I don't think the carriers will block VoIP on the UMPCs like those from Dell which come with embedded 3G. Then again, carriers are never predictable, or are they?
Garrett Smith has some additional thoughts on this topic as well.