Many users have been anticipating WhatsApp to finally bring voice calling to its application sometime in 2015, and it looks like the feature is beginning to roll out to some users. The calling, like WhatsApp messaging, uses an internet connection to place a phone call instead of relying exclusively on a carrier’s network to handle the call.
It has been a slow haul for Google, but rumors suggest they are getting close to finally merging all of their communication apps into a single platform. Over the past couple years Google merged their Messenger platform into Hangouts and then added support for SMS text messaging, killing off the Messaging app in the process. The final piece is Google’s Voice and sources believe the company is close to merging that into Hangouts.
Bolt is another VoIP app that allows smartphone users to call other Bolt users free of charge. Bolt also hopes to eventually bring full number porting, messaging, and possibly a monthly subscription fee that would give unlimited calling and texting to any number. Links after the break!
Early last month Facebook rolled out free VOIP calls for iOS and Android users via their Messaging app. Sadly, the feature was only available in Canada. While done quietly, Facebook has rolled out a new update to the app that expands the availability of this feature to the US and to the rest of the world.
To access this, make sure you have the app installed or have it updated. In a chat window, simply tap the “i” button and the option should be readily available for you. Links for download will be available after the break!
Ever since Facebook added voice messages as part of their Messenger service, we knew that the next eventual step would be voice calling or VoIP. They already start VoIP through Messenger for iOS users in the U.S., but nothing was available for Android users until now. The latest Android update added it, but only for our friends up north in Canada. Canadian users can now make calls over WiFi or their mobile data connection to other Facebook friends in Canada or even those in the U.S. provided they are on iOS. They can also start and name group conversations.
At some point in the future we will probably only need a data plan from our mobile providers and Facebook is making it that much closer. Utilizing VoIP on our mobile phones makes sense, but it probably won’t take off until the major carriers stop forcing us to have calling plans.
So-called free text and voice alternatives have long dominated the Play Store, each with their own unique set of limitations and caveats. Pinger, however, is a new application, and while it’s mostly more of the same, it also manages to squeeze in a few additional features that direct competitors have been missing.
Similarly to Google Voice, Pinger will provide you with a personal phone number which can be given to friends and family. The same number can be used regardless if the person on the other end is using Pinger or not, meaning mobile to mobile, mobile to landline and vice-versa are all supported. You’ll also get a personal voicemail inbox, so contacts can leave voice messages in the event that you are unreachable. Incoming calls are free, though you’ll need to pony up some extra cash to buy minutes for outgoing calls (new users receive 20 minutes free). Currently the full service is limited solely to the United States and Canada, though free text messages can be sent in an additional 35 countries.
As with these types of applications, there are several limitations. For starters, Pinger SMS works only between two Pinger users, meaning you won’t be able to exchange photos or videos friends who aren’t using the service. Also, because Pinger is a VoIP application, you’ll need an established data connection to utilize any of the service’s functionality. And, with data fees becoming increasingly more expensive, the idea doesn’t seem too tempting. Catch the official PR after the break.
XDA member bongostl has posted a step-by-step guide for modifying your Nexus 7, or any tablet for that matter, to enable outgoing and incoming calls through Google Voice. This requires the editing of system files, so your tablet needs to be rooted. What this method does is make the tablet think it’s voice capable, which allows dialer app voice+ to connect through Google Voice and place a call.
Incoming calls will be handled by any SIP app, such as CSipSimple, which requires you to also set up a call number and routing using other online services such as callcentric and ipkall. Couple all that with Google Voice, an edited and recompiled framework-res.apk file, and the flashing of an update.zip, and you’ve got yourself a really large tablet-phone in 16 quick and easy steps.
Or you can download GrooVe IP from the Play Store and skip all the rest.
Ok, that was snarky. To be fair, bongostl’s method has the advantage that you can still receive calls in your Gmail on your computer, whereas with GrooVe IP, it’s one or the other. But seriously, to me this all seems like way too much of a hassle with too many potential points of failure to really be worth it for most people.
Bottom line: Hackers and tweakers only. Everyone else just get GrooVe IP.
As VoIP services grow, so does the number of apps that appear on Android devices. Rebtel is an example of this: it was first available on smartphones only, but thanks to its latest software update, the app has now expanded its availability to tablets as well. In case you’re not familiar with the app and it’s features, here’s a quick rundown of what it has to offer:
- Optimized Tablet Experience - Inspired by Rebtel 2.0 for Android smartphones, the new Android tablet app features optimized high-resolution graphics and takes full advantage of the larger tablet screen real estate to give the user an immersive Rebtel experience.
- Free Rebtel to Rebtel Calls - Rebtel 2.0 for Android tablets incorporates free calling between users running any one of Rebtel’s apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android smartphones, PC, or starting today, Android tablets. Calls are seamlessly connected using Wi-Fi or 3G (applicable to 3G-enabled Android tablets only).
- Low-Cost Calls to Any Phone - Users of the Rebtel Android tablet app are not limited to our free Rebtel to Rebtel calls. Browse through your native tablet address book, select any contact with a number and get talking at rates up to 98 percent lower than an average carrier, and up to 60 percent lower than current Skype Out rates.
- Native Address Book Integration - No more syncing issues that mess up your address book. Rebtel for Android tablets seamlessly integrates with the regular native Android address book, providing a clear view of which contacts are available to call for free, and which contacts can be reached at very affordable rates.
- Low-Cost SMS - Prefer texting over talking? Send low-cost international text messages to friends in more than 196 countries with an average cost savings of up to 60 percent when compared to your regular carrier. If you want to ensure your friend can reply without being charged, tick the Collect Reply box and include a link in your message that lets your friend reply via a mobile web page while you pick up the tab.
Yes friends, you have yet another reason to throw away those outdated phone cards if you happen to make a ton of international calls or just want to make cheap calls. We know this strikes your interest and fancy, so make sure you hit the break to get both the Play Store and QR code links.
GrooVe IP is an app that connects to your Google Voice account through Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) and allows you to make calls on your device using only a Wi-Fi connection. This saves you from using your carrier minutes, and also provides a great alternative when in an area that has Wi-Fi but no carrier signal.
Up until now, you had to shell out $4.99 in the Play Store for GrooVe IP. But developer snrb Labs has just released a “Lite” version of the app that is ad-supported and has most of the main features as the paid version, minus the following:
- Calls over a mobile data connection not just WiFi
- Native dialer integration
- Proximity sensor support
- Change sign in status or sign in invisible
Not too shabby. Screenshots and download link after the break.
With the release of a new version of the Vonage Mobile app today, the company made a large advancement in the long standing war with Skype. While Vonage has struggled in recent years, they are upping the ante by promising rates around 70 percent cheaper than mobile carriers, and 30 percent cheaper than Skype. Those percentages are based on per-minute rates to the top 50 countries called. In addition, Vonage is offering a limited time offer of free calls to any landline or mobile phone is the US, Canada or Puerto Rico for up to 3,000 minutes per month, according to the description in the Android market.
The app is free and you do not have to be a Vonage customer to use the app. Adding calling credit is simple through the Android market, using increments of $4.99 and $9.99.
The app works on Wi-Fi and 3G/4G worldwide, making it a true mobile VoIP provider. It will allow you to call or text current Vonage users for free. The app will use your existing contacts and will display a separate list of those current Vonage users who you can call or text for free. Vonage assures good international rates when calling anyone who has not yet downloaded the app. When you call someone, they will see your mobile number on their caller ID.
If you’d like to give the new and improved Vonage app a try, hit up the link below.