When Google bought Gizmo, they shut down the apps aspect of the business. Last week Viber came alive, and for those who know Zipring is also in the App store, as is Truphone and a revitalized Fring that has video, as does Tango.
When it came to battling Skype, only Gizmo and to some extent client Truphone had/have the kind of reach and traction to put a hurt on Skype. They each offered reliable, low cost calling, and had the imagination that was necessary to introduce new services based on VoIP that met the Voice 2.0 manifesto standard. Now, with Google pursuing a browser based approach to voice, and a mobile strategy with Android, the gap that Gizmo left means all the rest can fill the void.
So, are any of the companies doing much different with their iPhone apps? Not really. In essence each is offering a spin on staying connected for free, or offering lower cost long distance, with better rates than anyone else for international long distance. But what each are doing is counterpunching Skype and forcing the issue that the incumbent carriers are not really going forward, and are almost willing to abandon the low hanging minutes fruit to capture the newer and fresher pie. Data.
With data pipes going mobile, Viber, ZipRing, Truphone, Fring, Line2, Tango and yes, Skype will all be your next phone company.