Users of Google Voice have long called for the company to pay more attention to the seemingly forgotten service for quite some time. Unfortunately, they may be getting more than they were hoping for. While many people are thrilled to hear Voice will finally support MMS and become a part of Hangouts in early 2014, Google is also planning to close up shop for all 3rd-party apps that relied on the service for free texting and VoIP calling.
Update: Vic Gundotra, Google's SVP of Engineering, had this to say after posting on Google+ about the new Voice update:
Guys, don't worry. We have massive investment in Android. I promise you will be happy soon. Don't get upset because we show some love to Google users who use iOS. There are a lot of them. And they are good people :-)
So chill out: it looks like VOIP for Voice is coming to Android sooner or later.
There are many VoIP clients out there for Android, such as Skype and Viber. They save users from having to place calls over their cell network, potentially using up minutes that they may not have. This behavior eats into carriers' profits, so it's no surprise that they'd prefer if we avoided putting these apps on our phones. It's more surprising, though, to hear that one carrier has chosen to make one of these apps themselves.
So here's the thing, Skype just received a major 4.0 redesign introducing a whole new look and feel that would feel at home on any Metro device. It just so happens that Metro's UI is pretty Holo-friendly. Windows Phone influence or no, the new version of Skype should still feel right at home on your Android phone of choice.
The new release doesn't usher in a wave of new features along with the new coat of paint, but Skype does boast that it is much faster and reliable, with emphasis placed on improving performance and load times.
For the unfamiliar, Ashley Madison is a dating site that enables couples in monogamous relationships to find partners for illicit affairs. That's the baseline we're starting from. The company's new app, however, takes this concept one step further by providing users with disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling and texting without your spouse finding out.
The BlackBook app doesn't include access to the social network itself, so it's purely used for correspondence.
It's a pretty big day for Viber, the popular VoIP application that brings "free messages and calls" to your mobile. Seems that the guys behind the app (appropriately named Viber Media) have been hard at work preparing not only major updates to the Android and iOS applications, but also on an all-new desktop client for Windows and Mac.
The update to the Android version of the app brings many new features, including a new Holo'd-out look.
Facebook has been slowly rolling out VoIP calling to its Messenger app in an effort to make it the single, unified source for all your communication needs (before Google can). Today, it apparently took another baby step forward by granting UK users of the mobile app the ability to connect for free (minus data charges where applicable) to anyone they're friends with.
At the moment the service doesn't seem to have rolled out to all users yet, and it may even still be a bit buggy (the slow expansion is partially to conduct tests, after all).
It seems like the Android world is getting a ton of extra tablet love in the past few months. Today, Skype joined the party by finally introducing an optimized UI for those of you with a little more screen to love. While the new look is nice, it bizarrely forces your slate into landscape mode. Even on the Nexus 7, you have no choice but to use the wider layout. This probably isn't a bad thing, since it looks great in this mode, and might seem cramped otherwise.
If you've thought about using GrooVe IP to give this whole VoIP (voice-over-IP) thing a try but were reluctant to drop a five-spot for an app that may or may not ever use again, we have good news. GrooVe IP Lite just landed in the Play Store, and it offers nearly all of the same features as its $5 brother for, well, nothing.
There are only a few minor things that are not available in the Lite version of the app:
- Calls over a mobile data connection not just Wi-Fi
- Native dialer integration
- Proximity sensor support
- Change sign in status or sign in invisible
If none of those sound like features you'd want out of a VoIP app, then GrooVe IP Lite should fit the bill perfectly.