Some time ago I was a Vonage customer. We had a Vonage line for my home office to compliment the POTS line that service the house. Our only internet access was via DSL over that POTS line.
We haven’t had a POTS line here since 2004.
While Vonage was a pioneer in what we now call-over-the-top internet telephony, for most of its existence the companies primary means of delivering service was by way of an “analog telephony adapter” or ATA. An ATA provides the RJ-11 connection required to connect to a traditional telephone.
Service providers using ATAs are essentially emulating the PSTN. It makes perfect sense since they want to offer an easy, drop-in replacement for traditional phone service. The advantage that they sell is simply that they’re cheaper. Most care little for esoterica like HDVoice.
This past week I spent a few days in Milwaukee WI. If Boston is Bean-town then Milwaukee is quite likely Beer-town. I actually drove past the Pabst Brewery. I didn’t know that they still made Pabst, or that anyone would actually drink the stuff. I took it to be like Lone Star in Texas, just something to offer the tourists.
Initial impression of the suds aside, I saw something in Milwaukee that gave me pause. I saw the signs, and they were worrying.
To be more specific I saw a few of the newer T-Mobile billboards. I still mostly like T-Mobile. And heck, Carly-of-the-patterned-magenta-dresses is certainly easy on the eyes, so billboards should be a good thing…but these were cause for concern.
Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn testifies on the AT&T-T-Mobile merger before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee on May 11, 2011. I caught a portion of the testimony via the web stream. You can find that C-SPAN coverage here.
I found that AT&T’s arguments for the merger were hollow at best, and deceptive at worst. I hope that the Congress will act via the DOJ where it seems unlikely that the FCC will see fit.
The more interesting thing is the fact that this new release of Skype For Android now supports calling over 3G/4G wireless service. Until this release Android devices were only allowed to do voice calling when on Wifi networks. The exception being Android devices offered by Verizon Wireless.
In truth I’ve made little use of Skype on my phone, at least to this point. Limiting the voice aspect to wifi really constrains its utility. While in NYC this week I allowed my G2 to update its Skype installation and did a few cursory experiments with the new release.
I was happy to hear that the new Skype client seems to support the latest SILK codec. Calling the Skype call testing service I heard both their outgoing message and my own voice back in very clear wideband audio. I may yet run some test signals across a Skype call to get some measurement of what I was hearing.
I was also happy to find that the Skype client supports the use of the Bluetooth headset with wideband capability. This is in marked contrast to the release of Counterpath’s Bria Android Edition, the SIP client that I currently run. It simply does not access the Bluetooth capability of the handset. I must admit that I am at least one release back in Bria Android Edition.
As this weekend I am working to complete a review of the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC Bluetooth headset I tried also it with Skype. The call was obviously wideband, very bright and cheerful sounding. I tried making calls both on my local wifi and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. In both modes that calls sounded great. It will be interesting to see what happens when the phone falls back to its EDGE mode, outside of HSPA range.
It’s great that voice calling using Skype over 3G/4G is now more broadly available. I’m betting that causes a considerable uptick in the use of Skype on mobile devices.
I’ve been a loyal Blackberry user for about four years. RIM not long ago released the Blackberry Torch to modest fanfare in the US. While Jim Courtney tells me that it’s worth a look, it’s only offered by AT&T, which makes it a non-starter for me.
In contrast, today marks the official launch of the G2 on T-Mobile. With it’s landscape mode keyboard the G2 just might be the handset that entices me to make the leap to Android. I’m going to try and lay hands on one this evening. Further, my wife wants a new handset as well. We might be in the market for a pair of handsets.
I’ve said many times that I would never buy and iPhone. Well, true to my word…I didn’t….yet one graces my desk anyway. A co-worker gave me his older 3G after he upgraded his family to a set of shiny new iPhone 4s. Call it an effort at recycling.
In truth I have no interest in the iPhone as a cell phone, but I look forward to having an iOS platform on which to try some of the more interesting apps that have been offered. With its built-in microphone the iPhone 3G is, for me, a better option than an iPod touch.