T-Mobile is really pushing their HotSpot @Home service, which is good for everyone. Who wouldn't want a phone that makes calls for free when you're at home, or at some of your most frequented places? According to a new FCC approval, they may be teaming up with Linksys for a new router. This time they're not just looking at your cell phone.
According to reports the service basically pulled the plug on the whole operation. So for those of you who thought you were getting a deal that was too good to be true (phone service for a whole year for $99), turns out you were right.
Sony's PSP seems to have been losing out in column inches to Nintendo's arguably more "pick up and play" DS handheld, and so the company is looking to leverage its strong multimedia and internet capabilities to pick up those all-important headlines. In a deal with UK telco BT the PSP will at first gain VOIP - in voice and video flavours - followed by upgrades allowing calls and messages to PCs, landlines and mobiles.
If you're going to give up valuable lounge space to a gadget then you want it to deliver, and SysMaster's Tornado M10 Digital Media Center looks like it offers a fair range of features for a box only six inches long. The spec list is a veritable pic'n'mix of acronyms: IPTV, VoIP, IM, PVR... and then you add in things like voicemail, a webcam for video conferencing, email and media streaming.
In my round-up of Nokia N95 vox-pops I mentioned the depressing news that certain UK carriers had stripped out the handset's VOIP support, obviously seeing that as a threat to their own stranglehold on voice calls. Well, if you needed any further evidence take a look at this video of an operator-modified N95:
When I'm put in charge of gadgets I think I'll draw up a "Golden Rules of Ergonomics" that all manufacturers must adhere to. Number one on that list would be "don't make your tech look like poop", closely followed by number two, "if you're going to have a keyboard, I don't want my thumbs to ache after using it two minutes". Sadly MIU's M*free 'Hybrid Dual Portable Computer' would fall foul of both of these rules, and probably a few as-yet-unwritten more - while the idea of a multi-function VOIP/wireless-IP handheld is great, their industrial design appears to be "make a shoebox out of plastic, and then put all the gubbins in".
Perhaps I'm being unduly harsh. I mean, there are very few dual-OS VOIP handsets with fold-out screens, interchangeable function cartridges and full QWERTY keyboards out there, so MIU have been forced to innovate on their own as opposed to just tweak someone else's design. But really, who thought it was a great idea to sink a keyboard deep inside a hard-edged plastic gully, where your poor thumbs will jam up against the sides?
If VOIP is your thing and you're looking for a handset then Wired News might just have the review round-up for you. They take a look at a variety of handsets from the DECT wireless through to the cheap'n'cheerful USB attached, with ratings to help you decide whether they're worth your cash or worth throwing to the dog.
If you're looking for more information, a quick glance at the SlashGear archives shows a whole lot of VOIP coverage; you're spoilt for choice!
It's been a week of VOIP, with reviews of cordless DECT phones for Skype and Windows Live Messenger as well as the Tovo WiFi/GSM phone to be sold by UK supermarket Tesco, and now UberGizmo have a review of a PC-phone bridge. Designed to allow you to use a normal phone to access Skype on your PC, UberGizmo explain it all:
"In a few words, connect VoSky to a PC running the Skype client and connect a regular phone to the VoSky device. Now you can get Skype calls directly routed to your phone along with your normal phone calls. The same process works for outgoing calls. However, here is where things get interesting. You can also place a call (or get a call) even if you are nowhere near your home phone"
The market for VOIP phones is growing steadily, as more and more people learn to say "no, I don't want you to touch me there" to their local telco when the big greedy reaches for their wallet. Philips has a few on the market already, and Geekzone took it upon themselves to try out two of them - the 433, which works with Windows Live Messenger, and the 321, which works with Skype. Despite the shared manufacturer, the handsets look pretty different and have some different features; for instance, the 433 has a colour screen, albeit a crap one. My own view is that these just aren't as useful as proper WiFi phones - they both require your PC to be on whenever you want to use VOIP.
Finally a VoIP phone that will match the sleekness of your stylish Macbook. The Digital IT-N501 i-Talk Nano from Hong-Kong manufacturer, AMEX, comes in white and black, with caller ID and speaker phone. Powered by USB 2.0 and works for both Macs and PCs. Priced at $25. So don’t just talk cheap with VoIP, now do it in style.