Ever since Google integrated Voice with Hangouts, listening to voicemail has been a highly-focused affair. Unlike traditional voicemail, which we're conditioned to hold up to our ear like a phone call, voicemail in Hangouts comes with a play button that encourages us to treat it more like the audio file that it is. This is the same way Google Voice has treated it on the web for forever.
The downside is that turning off the screen or backing out of Hangouts has, until recently, caused the message to immediately stop playing.
Google Voice is a great service for replacing your carrier's voicemail and texting options. If you need something that's a bit more robust, however, SendHub has launched on Android and allows business-class users to set up a phone number (or set of numbers) and get texting and calling for free or cheap, depending on what class of service you need.
Free users can get 60 voice minutes, 500 messages, and 3 groups of 50 contacts for their first line.
Well, it's a start. While the Skype app for Android still has a bizarre and uncomfortable habit of forcing landscape mode, today's update at least allows users to use the portrait orientation if they're making a call. That's nice. Especially since the positioning of front-facing cameras on devices like the Nexus 7 make landscape video chats extremely awkward. Now if only we could get this for the rest of the interface, that would be great.
Alright, Google. It's time to stop leaving your VoIP service to languish on the vine. Facebook has released a double-whammy of big news bits. For starters, today the social network is rolling out an update to its Messenger app that will allow users to send each other short, recorded audio clips. It's voicemail for the 21st century, if such a thing can even exist without being horrible. And, really, this sounds like it's not.
If you use Google Voice, or simply make the occasional outgoing call via Gmail, Google's got some great news for you. The service is going to continue to be free throughout 2013 for users in the U.S. and Canada! International callers will still have the same rates applied. In short, nothing is really changing, and that's a good thing.
ÜberConference, simply put, is a service that makes conference calls better. It adds not only a visual element to the call, but an extra dimension of functionality, allowing users to record, mute, have private conversations with, and even research call participants, all while keeping track of various in-call statistics. After taking a look at the service, it isn't hard to see why it won TechCrunch Disrupt NYC in 2012.
Until now, the service was limited to desktop users.
Bobsled users can now connect with friends from their Android-powered tablets, thanks to Vivox and T-Mobile. For the uninitiate, Bobsled is a service developed by T-Mobile (in collaboration with Vivox) which aims to let users connect to their friends via internet calling or messaging for free.
Bobsled's app allows users to log into Facebook and connect with anyone from their friends list at the touch of a button, allowing for chat, voice messaging, and calls to land lines or mobile phones in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
Skype, a hugely practical video (and internet) calling solution, got an update today, bringing the app to version 22.214.171.1247 and bringing a few key improvements to the table. The most noticeable improvement in this release is an updated (and enhanced) call interface, adding functionality and panache to the screen every user sees when placing or receiving a call.
Besides an updated call screen, the latest release also adds much-needed video call compatibility with Samsung's Epic 4G Touch (Sprint's version of the Galaxy SII), as well as enhanced call quality.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a new wireless brand Republic Wireless, a division of Bandwidth.com, announced earlier this month that it would revolutionize and shake up the mobile industry by introducing a Hybrid Calling plan that costs only $19 a month. This plan has indeed gone live today over at RepublicWireless.com, together with the first and only mobile device the company is offering (for now) - the LG Optimus.
The low-cost offering is made possible thanks to heavy reliance on Wi-Fi data - Republic Wireless devices are designed to prioritize Wi-Fi networks, and certain measures have been put in place to make sure you don't hog an unfair share of the mobile network (powered by Sprint).
Skysoft... errr, I mean Skype updated its previously measly Android device support from 5 devices to more than 20 today with the introduction of version 2.1 of its Android app. There are no new features outside of expanded device support, which was badly needed in order for the app to climb out of the sea of 1-star reviews (although stability and quality improvements would have made today's release even sweeter).