Friday, August 21, 2009

Android and VoIP applications



I wanted to briefly set the record straight about an inaccurate claim in Friday's USA Today. The article stated:

"Consumers who use Android, the Google-developed operating system for wireless devices, can't use Skype, a leading Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. A pioneer in free Internet calling, Skype allows you to talk as long as you want without draining cellphone minutes."

Here are the facts, clear and simple: While the first generation of our Android software did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations, we have worked through those limitations in subsequent versions of Android, and developers are now able to build and upload VoIP services.

While individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered if they violate their terms of service, USA Today is wrong to say that:

"Google's explanation would seem to suggest that T-Mobile requested the block on Skype, but the carrier says that's not the case. "T-Mobile has not asked Google to block that service," says spokesman Joe Farren, referring to original Skype."

As we told USA Today earlier in the week Google did not reject an application from Skype or from any other company that provides VoIP services. To suggest otherwise is false. At this point no software developer -- including Skype -- has implemented a complete VoIP application for Android. But we're excited to see -- and use -- these applications when they're submitted, because they often provide more choice and options for users. We also look forward to the day when consumers can access any application, including VoIP apps, from any device, on any network.

22 comments:

Cool Frood said...

Perhaps you should also point out that unlike Apple, Android users can install applications that aren't on the Market. It's not the only source for applications.

Nikolay said...

That's not true as SipDroid is already available on Android Market and provides a fully-functional SIP client. VoIP over 3G is limited purposely by the makers of the software, not by T-Mobile.

Stuart Harris said...

The SIPDroid app from the market is limited to only WIFI calls, however, the full version from the dev site allows for 3g/Edge calls. VOIP via mobile is working full throttle via android phones and to a smaller degree on Blackberry hardware now via googlevoice.

Charbax said...

Give us a VOIP version of Google Voice, would you please?

I want Google Voice on Data-only service, providing true free worldwide voice and IM services, where only data usage is paid but where European HSDPA data deals provide 10GB monthly data limits for $20 per month already, and just pre-paid not on contracts.

I want Google Voice to use SIP and hook into Skype for free or for a very reasonable price per minute ($0.001 per minute or so). Eventually hook into Skype really for free once the full skype client is available.

I want an $100 Android device, that has no voice/sms contracts, uses $20 monthly HSDPA pre-paid 10GB/month deals only, and provides full unlimited VOIP use on that.

VicMatson said...

"We also look forward to the day when consumers can access any application, including VoIP apps, from any device, on any network."

Then why can't a Google phone accept the Sense(hero) UI?

Charbax said...

"Then why can't a Google phone accept the Sense(hero) UI?"

Off topic, but the Sense Hero UI is a proprietary UI from HTC. Go ask them if they won't let you install it on your phone.

Nikolay said...

@Stuart Harris: Exactly my point - the people behind SipDroid don't allow 3G/EDGE calls as they want to charge for that feature.

Johan said...

There is also 'ChitChat' an IAX based voip solution, available on the 'Belgian' market tailored to WeePee, a Belgian provider.

Johan said...

Not to forget 2Bots that allows you to do 'voip' calls to your Rovio webcam.

Clipped Wings said...

Could Mr Rubin confirm that the *Android Market* - and not just the Android SDK - supports full VoIP apps which run over 3G? (We all know the Apple SDK supports full VOIP apps which run over 3G, but the iTunes Store won't let you actually distribute them).

And if he is so looking forward to a full VoIP app on Android phones, then why don't Google just use their own (i.e. Gtalk)? After all, Google have already done full VoIP on Nokia devices. Puzzling to me that they wouldn't put their own VoIP service on their own phones when they do it on those of competitors.

Nir Pengas said...

exactly what i love to hear from a company as aware as google. they are not afraid from competition but rather see the potential for the customers. putting us up front is just a wonderful thing to have from a big company as google. to contrast that look at the cable companies, the freaking music labels and last but not least apple. all tightly controlled and manipulated for best profits. not always, but that is the agenda and it is clear.

google's vision is clear to me: to have a handheld smart device that will allow maximum option at a low cost, meaning one flat rate for unlimited calling worldwide, email access and all the goodies that we came to expect from the new generation of smart phones.

keep it up google, here is one techie that supports your efforts.

Sam Johnston said...

"While individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered" <- therein lies the problem.

So which country will be host to the first data-only carrier and how long do you reckon the others will last?

Sam

Tsugawa.Tv said...

Need much more time to develop apps?

But open is better than closed..

PeterW said...

"While individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered if they violate their terms of service"

This actually makes more sense because carriers, not Google, are the ones that eat the cost of Skype-via-phone. So expect blocking from their end.

As a long-time champion of net neutrality, will Google actively oppose this preferential treatment?

Jew Mark said...

This is a good reaction from Google and I hope that everything will be better.

Android is a good open source phone for today.

ZoomGadget

cece said...

@nikolay :
SipDroid full version working with 3G / EDGE is free, just have to download form their site.
Market version is limited to WIFI because carriers would not (do not) allow it otherwise.

http://code.google.com/p/sipdroid/wiki/FAQ#How_can_I_prepare_for_mobile_VoIP?

Nikolay said...

@cece: I think those are just speculations as Android Market is way more liberal than App Store, which in contrast is ruled by AT&T and Apple monopolistic ambitions. Plus, Google are saying that they will welcome a true VoIP app and I believe they mean it!

Jeff said...

Charbax, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

peter james said...

It is right no individual voip provider has been able to provide the perfect solution for android. Now there are 40 companies that are collaborating with google for android. Let us see see how it plays with the already available internet phone service providers in the market.

Amit said...

Why does gtalk not have voice chat available on android?

Thomas said...

Looks like Sprint is going to be the first US cell-provider to offer "data-only" plans:

http://www.phonenews.com/sprint-embraces-android-on-srdo-data-only-plans-9245/

Jew Mark said...

Google is dealing with every issues in a very respectful way!

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