Amazon's Alexa assistant is currently only talking to you, but you will soon be able to have Alexa reach out and touch someone else. Amazon is adding voice calling and messaging to its Alexa devices, which will most likely be available in time for the launch of the Echo Show on June 28th. This won't be connected to your phone number—it's a completely separate way of making and accepting voice calls. Read More
Viber has been around as a VoIP solution on mobile devices for ages, but it also has a service called Viber Out that lets you call landlines. It usually costs money to do that, but not in select scenarios right now. Viber has announced that calls between landline and mobile numbers in the US and the seven countries affected by Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban will be free. Read More
Here's the news that the thousands of you who have been hovering over every update on our previous WhatsApp Calls post have been waiting for. The service's calling functionality now seems to be open, no questions asked, no invites needed, no hacks required. The only "catch" is that you seem to need version 2.12.19, which you can find hosted on APK Mirror or on WhatsApp's website.
Once you download the apk file and install it (make sure you have Unknown Sources enabled in your phone's Security Settings to be able to do so), you'll open WhatsApp and the app's UI will have switched over to the new one with the Calls functionality enabled. Read More
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. With the release of version 2.5, that apparently changed. You can now listen to voicemail with the screen dark or while using another app entirely, leaving the message to play in the background. Read More
Placing a voice call over Google Hangouts is a nice way to save some money. If you and another user both rely on the service, you can start chatting with anyone regardless of where they live. But placing a call to a traditional phone number comes with a few more restrictions.
On the positive side, Google has announced that it's loosening a major one for users in India. Now residents there can place international voice calls using Hangouts.
While Indians can place calls to whichever countries they choose, only those placed to the US or Canada are free. Yet that alone makes the service a good option for the many people who need to stay in touch with family, friends, and co-workers in North America and the Indian subcontinent. Read More
After much wringing of hands, it looks like Google Glass is back on its update track, with a long-awaited bump to KitKat imminent. Announced in a post to Glass' Google+ page earlier, the update is a big one. Obviously the headlining feature of the update is a move to Android 4.4, but Glass will soon be able to bundle photos, videos, and vignettes from each day (to free up precious timeline space), reply with photos in Hangouts, and send feedback directly from Glass.
Additionally, Glass will sort its ever-growing list of commands by frequency and recent history, meaning launch phrases you use often will bubble up to the top of the list. Read More
When it comes right down to it, there’s a pretty short list of things everybody simply expects a cell phone to be able to do well: making and receiving calls and text messages. We must be able to trust that our phones aren’t failing at the most basic types of communication. Unfortunately, some people have found that the Nexus 5 can’t always be trusted to let them know when somebody is calling or texting them.
There aren’t a lot of variations in the complaints for this one. At seemingly random times, the Nexus 5 will simply cease to respond to incoming calls or text messages. Read More
Viber is what you get when you take a free VoIP service, create an app for it, and smother it with purple. Any two people with the app installed can communicate with one another via voice or text entirely for free. Now the team is adding in the ability to make low-cost calls to any dedicated phone number.
Users can buy credits for "Viber Out" via in-app purchases within either the mobile or desktop software. Prices start at 1.9 cents per minute and change depending on which country you're calling. In some places, prices will also vary depending on whether you're calling a landline or a mobile phone. Read More
For a smartphone operating system, Android hasn't always had the best features for, you know... calls. One of the especially annoying omissions has long been caller ID, but Android 4.4 takes a big step toward fixing that. If you get a call from a business that Google knows, it lets you know on KitKat's incoming call screen. Neat.
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. The irony, of course, being that the very act of having an Ashley Madison-branded app on your phone is more suspicious to a scorned lover than any of the dozens of other disposable phone number services would be. Read More