Every time I become aware of a new technology development that seems useful, I have to try it myself and experience it. When I read that Apple had opened up Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP or calls over the data connection) I had to try it out since this is a capability I use frequently (Skype is my favorite and I’ve used it for years).
Shortly after this Apple 3G support information was released, iCall sent out a release stating that their software could make calls over 3G, Fring said they had an update coming so their users could make calls, and Skype has indicated they’ll update “…as soon as Apple makes that capability available.” Since Fring was the only app I had on my iPhone that might potentially work immediately, I fired it up.
If you haven’t used Fring, it has “add-ons” that allow you to essentially aggregate your other services in to one application. You can add chat accounts like MSN Live, ICQ, Google Talk, Twitter, Yahoo, AIM and more. Since Skype has chat I added it and then tried to make a call.
It worked over 3G! All of my Skype buddies came up and I launched a call to one of them. During the first few minutes of the call, I asked if he knew what I was calling him on (we usually talk either on our iPhones or over Skype and the latter quality is 5x as good as the mobile phone quality). He said, “Ahh…it sounds better than your iPhone but not as good as Skype. What ARE you using?” Yep, the quality is outstanding.
The moment Skype has an update I’ll download it as that remains my VoIP software of choice though iCall has an excellent business model too. Fring is marginally useful since I just don’t use chat that much anymore and few people reach out to me on chat.