Friday, July 27, 2007

My answer to Jeff Pulver's "Call for More Innovation in Voice Services"

Jeff Pulver and Ken Camp are bored from what they've seen in VoIP lately. That's why Jeff startet a "challenge for innovative disruptors with regards to the voice applications industry":
Think about presence and voice and instant messaging, take a look at the APIs of twitter and Facebook and pitch me on the service that you want to create. Those who get my attention might end up with the early-early seed capital needed to turn their dream into a reality.
So what could that be? Jeff doesn’t want to hear about a service that's simply a variation on Call Forwarding and/or Voicemail. It has to be something really different. Something cool. Something that truly helps to redefine communications.

I am really courious to see the winner of this competition. I don't know why Jeff is so excited about Twitter and Facebook. To me these applications are mostly a waste of time. But what I would love to have is a "Hosted Fring with Grandcentral's filter rules and international mobile callforward over GSM".

What does that mean?

I like Fring because it connects me with just one program to my contacts at Skype, MSN messenger and Google Talk. Lately it also works as a VoIP client. But only on my Nokia mobile phone!

Why isn't there a website that does the same like Fring? Why isn't Fring a hosted service? I would love to leave my login data for all these services on their website and connect to it over SIP from my ATA. A kind of Voxalot, but extended with Skype, MSN messenger and Google Talk.

Whenever somebody contacts me, my phone should ring. Outgoing calls to Skype, MSN, Google or phone numbers should also be made with my normal phone. The server would decide automatically how to connect the call, because it has call rules for that - like Voxalot has.

Incoming calls would be filtered like at Grandcentral. Annoying people could only leave a voicemail and good friends could ring my phone day and night.

This service should of course not only work over an ATA but also over the mobile phone network. Internationally! There are more and more international MVNOs slashing roaming charges and giving local fixed line numbers to mobile phones. This means they already have an own SIP infrastructure and GSM gateways in every country. If they can give me a local fixed line number in a country, they can also deliver cheaply the described calls from Skype, MSN, Google and my home VoIP providers over GSM.

Outgoing calls should be done the Nimbuzz way:
Call your IM buddies on their mobile or on their PC. At the cost of a local call, worldwide. No credits needed.
A small application on my mobile phone would always know which cheap number to call in every country to connect to the described network.

I am sure, that the despicted layout is possible. The guys at Fring, Grandcentral, Gtalk2VoIP, Skip2PBX and Roam4Free have already pieces of it in their hands.

More coverage about the challenge:

Andy Abramson, Jon Arnold, Pat Phelan, Aswath Rao, Alec Saunders, Russell Shaw and TIA Communities.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Interesting interview with OpenMoko

PC World has a very interesting text and interview with the makers of OpenMoko, the open source "anti iPhone". Most interesting: After GPRS, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth they will add 3G next year.
We plan on going 3G next year. This first device uses existing Gerber designs from our feature phones to lower the costs. Remember that this is an unlocked, nonsubsidized phone. So $300 is actually incredibly cheap. We thought this was super-important, to help with early adoption.
There is a nice list of yet available applications, but there is more to come since the entire open source world is invited to develop and to port their applications.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Google is the real telco disruptor

Now that Google goes "All In" and really takes up the fight for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum in the US we all wonder what are the plans of the search engine company. I found two pieces of well founded speculations that I like most. Both get to the point that Google is planning the total disruption of mobile and fixed line telephony by offering free calls, sponsored by advertising.

"GoogleTel" is arising out of the search engine's last moves and acquisitions. Thomas F. Anglero, one of my favourite VoIP bloggers but not the most frequent writer, puts it in the form of a equation:

GoogleTel = Ubiquisys (Femtocells)+ Bandwidth (Dark Fiber and 700MHz Spectrum) + Grand Central (One Number ID)
Sunday, July 22, 2007
It seems very obvious at this moment what Google is doing. They are building a US nationwide Telecom operator but without the Telecom legacy.
And Don Reisinger at CNet asks:

Could Google kill the cell phone industry?
July 20, 2007 11:08 AM PDT
Once the company announces the wireless broadband to the nation, it will immediately announce that Google Phone everyone has been talking about. The Google Phone will work specifically with the Google system (kind of like Skype) and will be free of charge. The only fee to the consumer is the cost of buying the phone [...] As soon as the phone is released, people will be tossing their iPhones, Razrs and every other cell phone into the nearest river. Why pay all that money for a phone when you can have the same kind of service for free?
Maybe Reisinger should have omitted the interrogation mark in his title? The two articles are highly convincing and should make traditional telcos shiver. Have fun reading and think twice before you sign your next long term contract!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Ooma is a security risk

Now finally it's out what Ooma is:
With one fell swoop, it hopes to let people share their phone lines with each other in order to disrupt the business of major telecommunications companies.

Here’s how it works: You install an Ooma “hub” device, costing a $399 one-time fee, in your home that routes phone calls through your computer or your land-line. Ooma’s device also sends and receives calls for other people in your geographic area (local land lines that Ooma takes advantage of).
A P2P calling application? That's pretty dangerous and has failed before! I think it will not work, especially in the USA where people are so afraid of terrorists. Would you borrow your phone to Al Qaeda for their next announcement? No? But you might be doing it with Ooma, without even notice.

Out of the same reason Jeff Pulver's "fwdOUT™ Phone Sharing Network" (former Bellster) never made it big: People cannot control who is talking under their number. When someone uses Ooma or fwdOUT, his call will appear on someone else's phone bill or call record. This poor person would then have to prove that it was an unknown criminal who made the latest phone call. Quite difficult.

Jeff Pulvers fwdOUT idea sounds quite similar:
The fwdOUT™ Network is a system that matches callers with other users that can complete the call for them at no charge. The only catch is that to make some calls, you have to let others use your phone. fwdOUT™is free and not to be used for commercial purposes.

For Instance, Erik lives in New York City, and he gets free local phone service, his family is in Holland. Joe is an expatriate from New York living in Holland that calls New York on a regular basis. Using the Free World Dialup Phone Sharing Service, Erik shares his number. Joe also shares his number. When Joe calls New York, he uses Erik’s line and Erik uses Joe’s Line. The sharing is not done on a one-on-one basis, members share with the entire community and accumulate credits when their line is used. These credits can be used to place calls through other member’s phones. Free World Dialup maintains the tallies so that no line is used more than the owner has permitted.
Only that fwdOUT doesn't connect slick Ooma boxes over the internet but private Asterisk PBXes worldwide. It doesn't work too good because there are to few people providing their phone lines and the project has to face legal problems. Some Russians use it, but that's not enough. Boingboing wrote already two years ago about Bellster/fwdOUT:
The Bellster challenge for 2005 is to find out whether or not there are still people in the world who would let total strangers place non-commercial phone calls for free in exchange for the ability to do the same thing themselves. At the moment we have a handful of active nodes around the world, and as the word of Bellster spreads, my hope is that our network will be able to deliver calls to the PSTN all around the world.
Now Ooma wants to do the same. Good luck! As far as I know Jeff Pulver's project did not fail from technical difficulties, but from lack of acceptance. Jeff downsized his support when he realized what a difficult issue it is. Here you can read the fwdOUT risks, collected by Many of them apply to Ooma as well:

Possible Risks:
  • Potentially a criminal offence in some countries to provide this service, and you could face jail time, while there you would end up meeting a big guy named bubba who wants to be really good friends.

  • Your phone line could be used for credit card fraud or to report bomb threats or death threats, and you will have a lot of explaining to do when the police come and confiscate your equipment and take you down to the station for a little chat. Unlike carriers who are explictly exempt from being responsible for facilitating these kinds of things occuring, home users aren't and you could end up being the one facing court over it. Even if you get off, there will be no doubt a great inconvience for some from having their machines confiscated for any arbitary length of time. Although if you decided to give smart answers to the police you could end up being the next rodney king.

  • Contractually, the phone company could cut you off, or could introduce clauses in your contract to cut you off in future if they feel you are participating in this kind of service. Phone companies can and do monitor call patterns in different countries and people have reportedly been cut off when their call patterns changed legimately, they were still required to sign documents that it was their calls, the calls were valid and even had to pay a reconnection fee.

  • Security, any route your call takes could easily be monitored, recorded or altered, all without your knowledge or consent, even if this is against bellsters terms and conditions you may not know it is happening until it's too late.

  • You could end up with large phone bills, it's one thing to setup asterisk for home use for your own toll by pass but securing asterisk to prevent unwanted calls is a whole other thing and it's your phone bill on the line if someone works out a way round your filtering. Some 1800 numbers in the US offer to bill your phone line like a 1900 number, so this could also increase your phone bill. Some people apparently are listing themselves as +1 area code, what they don't realise is that there is 20+ countries other then just the US listed under +1 which could also give them a nasty surprise if the bellster route filtering is breached. These calls are not blocked by the fwdOUT network (but instructions for blocking them are available). There are other locations that aren't being listed that could cause similar damage to your phone bill/wallet.

Minor points:
  • Only likely to benefit those in cheap call areas, in which case you can use VoIP providers which in general have MUCH better call quality and are bound by privacy regulations regarding your privacy.

  • Call quality, you are relying on the fact that someone else won't suddenly flood their home line with a massive download causing your phone call to be lagged or jittered severely.

  • You could end up receiving calls from people in foreign languages if you don't setup asterisk properly to block out bound caller ID (also you can't always block Caller ID apparently)

  • Bellster has the potential to make it easier for telemarketers to push their sales pitches by leveraging the bellster network.
  • Time to establish a phone call could dramatically increase if you hit a bunch of hosts that only allow calls out of hours, so while the network hunts and trys different routes you either hear local ring back or dead air depending on your local configuration of asterisk, which could potentially miss inform people about the true state of the call.

  • non-geek house hold members, is it likely that most people will want to queue to use their own phone line? try explaining it to non-geeks and see how they react to it.

  • high barrier to entry, as you not only need a linux box running asterisk but also hardware that's capable of interfacing with the PSTN network.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why did Roam4Free meet with Google's GrandCentral?

What's going on between the international MVNO Roam4Free and Google's new acquisition Grandcentral?

Roam4Free's CEO Pat Phelan tells in his blog that he and Chief Commercial Officer Sean O’Mahony, recently hired from Jajah, met with Grandcentral's Craig Walker and the Google voice team at Google headquarters London.

Pat isn't allow to tell more because he is "under electronic NDA". Just two fotos and the sentence "What were we doing at the Googleplex, oh thats a secret".

This gives pretty much room for speculation. I guess they are planning to bring GrandCentral to other countries than the US and make it mobile. This is very necessary for GrandCentral and would match well with Roam4Free's latest strategy to give fixed line numbers from 28 countries to their users.

I like GrandCentral’s services but it sucks to have only a US number. So I have to make a call forward from a German number to my GrandCentral number. Therefore I loose GrandCentral’s call screening options and get a bad delay, since the call forward goes twice around the world.

That problem could be solved easily with some SIP configurations. If Roam4Free connected its SIP servers, Grand Central could directly offer local fixed line numbers from 28 countries. Also Roam4Free could help Grand Central users to make their cell phones ring at low cost in 115 countries, without high roaming charges.

Maybe Roam4Free is Google’s next acquisition. I don’t have any facts to sustain that, but wouldn't be surprised.

GrandCentral gives you "one inbox" for life, where all voice messages can be stored for ever. With Google's voice search capabilities these messages can soon be searchable in seconds, like the millions of emails that people have in their GMail accounts. It's even possible to merge GMail and GrandCentral into "one inbox for life for voice and emails". Given the fact that Google is a large international company with worldwide dark fiber capacities you would just have to add Roam4Free to make that work as a great international phone service in over 115 countries.

But they are not alone. Remember the last news "Skype Founding Investor invests in United Mobile to "deliver a combination of Truphone, Jajah and Skype". This can result in something quite similar, based on another international MVNO, United Mobile, and Skype's founding investor Morten Lund.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A new number range for worldwide mobile telephony is missing

Many of us travel a lot. This means high roaming charges and no local phone number in the country where you are. Some people yet decided to buy local SIM cards and put them in their cell phone whenever they arrive at the airport. For them Truphone has just presented their new Multi-SIM capability, which supports travellers who take international SIM cards with them abroad. Calls to their Truphone number will reach them whichever SIM they're using at the time.

That's nice, but even cooler is Roam4Free's "Get a local fixed line number for any one of 28 countries on your SIM". Instead of exotic numbers from Estonia, Liechtenstein or the Isle of Man they will point local fixed line numbers for any one of 28 countries to their SIM cards when the new version of Roam4Free comes out. The customers can then be called on mobile phones with a local fixed line number.

Local numbers for global SIMs seem to be the new trend. The German company GlobalSIM has also started recently to give local fixed line numbers from 43 countries to their SIM card customers. That's even better than Truphone's Multi-SIM capability. But I see the disadvantage that this call forward will surely cost extra and the owner of the mobile phone has to remember many local numbers.

So I think that an entire new number range is missing for worldwide mobile telephony. The best thing would be a cheap interconnect to the ++882 or ++858 number range, or something similar. These are international codes that don't belong to any particular country, but to ENUM services. It would be great if people could call them from every country for local prices. So you would never have to change SIM card or number for travel. You just had a virtual number, similar to German 032 numbers which don't belong to a particular city but to VoIP.

Google's GrandCentral now also in Germany

Google's GrandCentral ("One Number...for LifeTM - a number that's not tied to a phone or a location - but tied to you") now works also in Germany, with German numbers - if you can accept some shortcomings. I just checked it out.

Two days ago I got this email:
Good news! We are excited to announce that we are opening the GrandCentral private beta to some additional users and would like to extend you an invitation to sign up. To get started, just click on the invitation link below and register for your free GrandCentral phone number. Once you create an account, you will be able to invite up to 10 friends to also join our private beta and they will be able to sign up immediately.

Since the GrandCentral beta is still closed to the general public, you will need to click on this link to sign up. If you already have a GrandCentral account or you no longer wish to sign up, you can forward the link to a friend.

Thanks again for your interest in GrandCentral and enjoy the service!

Craig Walker & Vincent Paque
Maybe that's because I applied some weeks ago. When first I entered my data on GrandCentral's website they wouldn't let me sign up. The process always sent me back to the first screen. But after some tweaking with proxies I finally got my own GrandCentral account as you can see here:

Just type in your US number an let my phone ring! You are welcome.

The next thing to do was to forward a local German VoIP number to my US GrandCentral number, which is located in Albany, NY. With this call forward I can do nearly everything that US GrandCentral users can do. And of course this call forward is free, because I use Voipcheap which provides free calls to the US.

When someone calls me, a computer voice asks me to choose from four options:
  • "1" to accept the call,
  • "2" to send it to voice mail
  • "3" to send it to voice mail and ListenIn. That's great to filter callers. If the message is intesting then I still pick up the phone and start a conversation.
  • "4" to accept the call and record it directly in GrandCentral. That's a great feature for me as a journalist who sometimes likes to have recordings of his interviews.
There are far more features, as you can see here, but I did not try them out yet.

The one thing that's obviously missing is to screen the callers and to filter spam calls by caller ID. Normally GrandCentral asks every caller to tell his name before it connects the call. But my forwarded calls have all the same caller ID from the number in Berlin. To GrandCentral it always seems to be the same caller and the computer voice always tells me that "Markus" is calling. That's a little bit annoying since I am the "Markus" who is alledgedly calling. Only people who call directly to my US GrandCentral number can be callscreened correctly.

One feature I really love is the free call forward from GrandCentral to Gizmo Project numbers, although I have critized it some months ago. It's a great and necessary feature since GrandCentral doesn't give SIP login data to its customers. Now I just forward for free from GrandCentral to a Gizmo number that's installed in my Fritz!Box ATA.

I even managed to forward GrandCentral calls for free over a GSM gateway to my cell phone. But that's crap. The computer voice asks me to type 1,2,3 or 4. But whatever I do it doesn't accept it. I suppose that GrandCentral relies only on DTMF touch tones and cannot understand my cell phones instructions. But why does it work with mobile phones in the US? Do they have touch tones?

I hope to learn more about GrandCentral in the next days and let it work like a virtual secretary who manages my phone calls. On Asterisk it would be possible to transmit the original caller ID over the call forward to GrandCentral, so that I could use also the call screening.

But then: Who needs GrandCentral if he or she has an own Asterisk server?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Skype Founding Investor invests in United Mobile to "deliver a combination of Truphone, Jajah and Skype"

Skype's founding investor Morten Lund is investing in the international mobile network operator United Mobile. That's an international cell phone company, comparable to Roam4Free, GoSIM, BlueSIM, Che Mobil, GlobalSIM, SunSIM, TouristMobile or others, which allows outgoing calls at low rates in over 80 countries and to receive free incoming calls without roaming charges.

Morten Lund seems to brim over with enthusiasm for United Mobile’s business strategy of combining its services with so called Web 2.0 functionality and says:
“The business rationale behind United Mobile’s decision to integrate Web 2.0 features into its service offering is compelling. The organisation’s key objective is to transfer the Skype model to the mobile phone for average Joe who is travelling. United Mobile will deliver a combination of Truphone, Jajah and Skype on a “One SIM card Service”. The company will be a leader in delivering free mobile telephony worldwide. This pioneering new business model will be widely adopted in the world’s leading mobile markets in the near future.”

Free mobile telephony worldwide? That's what we want! At least me and all the VoIP telephony tweakers out there who are always looking for the cheapest way to call.

But what about "Truphone, Jajah and Skype on one SIM card"? Is there something going on between these companies? As far as I know from my professional life, United Mobile would need an authorization to mention the other companies' names in a press release. So where Truphone, Jajah and Skype involved in the press release? Or is United Mobile just name dropping them?

Is there something going on behind the courtain? A dark power forging a new VoIP empire out of these four companies?

As far as I see, United Mobile should have the best rates to terminate international cell phone calls. Truphone, Jajah and Skype could envy them. Also United Mobile has its own SIM cards. It would be very convenient for Truphone, Jajah and Skype if they could start their services from a SIM card, instead from their rather slowly phone client or mobile web page. Also it's obvious that these three minute stealers cannot expect support from mobile incumbents. So it would make sense to cooperate with a worldwide mobile MVNO.

Truphone has just presented their new Multi-SIM capability, which supports travellers who take international SIM cards with them abroad. Calls to their Truphone number will reach them whichever SIM they're using at the time. That's nice, but could be even more convenient. Who wants to always change his SIM card whenever he or she arrives at the Airport? Maybe soon it's not necessary anymore to change the SIM card? When will we see a real TruSIM? When a JajahSIM or a SkypeSIM?

Get out of the closet!

Fellow blogger Moshe Maeir already explained here and here how Jajah's access to Intel's patent portfolio helps them to embed Jajah's telephony functions at the chip level of mobile phones. All these developments explain how VoIP companies drool over more speed on mobile phones. Their applications start pretty slow on often feeble and battery sucking cell phones. It takes a minute until you are connected to Wifi and have established a call with one of their softwares.

I guess: Either the four companies are developing secretly something together, to make their mobile VoIP applications start faster from a SIM card. Or United Mobile is developing an application to blow them all away. In this case they have just used the brand names of Truphone, Jajah and Skype for press release name dropping.

At least I'm sure that United Mobile's next press release can be even more interesting. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Cellity gets funding from Skype's seed investor

In February Tim von Törne, VP Business Development of Cellity and former Germany head of Skype, told me that they were hoping for venture capital for an international rollout.

Cellity's business is a least cost router for mobile phones which allows mobile phone users to reduce their local call costs by 60 per cent and international call costs by up to 90 per cent. Before every mobile phone call a Java client checks in the background whether the call can be connected for a cheaper price trough Cellity's 0800 or local numbers. A good idea for low techies. I personally don't need it since I have a calltrough installed on my own ATA.

Now Cellity finally got their money, says the lates press release: Skype's seed investort Mangrove Capital Partners has invested in a funding round. Mangrove, which is based in Luxembourg, has participated alongside German VC Neuhaus Partners in the company.

Unfortunately Cellity seems to work quite crappy, tells Germany's savviest mobile phone nerd Henning Gajek in his latest blog post at Xonio.

Vyke fights back against mobile incumbents' agreement to lock down alternative VoIP providers

Vyke plans to release an upgrade to its mobile VoIP software that will "restore full mobile VoIP functionality on mobile handsets that have been intentionally crippled by mobile operators", says their latest press release. The forthcoming version of Vyke Mobile IP will provide users with a "fully functional, stand alone mobile VoIP application that circumvents the mobile operator orchestrated removal of built-in handset VoIP capabilities".

Vyke wants to prevent problems caused by the new guidelines from the Open Mobile Terminal Alliance (OMTP), an organisation of big mobile operators like Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and 3. The guidance recommends to disable mobile VoIP features from new handsets sold under contract subsidy.

Tommy Jensen, Executive Chairman for Vyke Communications plc speaks in strong words:
The user should be able to do whatever they want with the phone as they have already signed a contract that guarantees the mobile operator sufficient revenues to justify them giving him or her the device in the first place.

There is an elephant in the room that no mobile operator or regulatory agency seems to be acknowledging - network neutrality. When Vodafone decides, as of June 1st, to prohibit their users from using third party applications for services like instant messaging, VoIP or text messaging, they are effectively censoring their user’s ability to choose what services they want to access from a network that they are paying for. Imagine if a home DSL provider blocked access to Google because they wanted to force you to use their own search engine, on which incidentally you had to pay a charge for each search. As wild as it sounds, this is a direct parallel to what is happening right now in the mobile arena.

It's puzzling to read these words, after an article by The Register had declared that the OMTP guidelines would do no harm to Vyke, but only to Truphone. If so, why is Vyke's latest announcement refering so much to the OMTP?

In every case a stand alone mobile VoIP application frees Vyke from the Truphone trap on Nokia N95 in the UK.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Great VoIP overview in InformationWeek

I found another good article about the potential of VoIP. It deals with "numbers that ring where you are", "free calls . . . to the right people" and "anonymous calling for social networkers".
Review: 6 Skype Alternatives Offer New Services
In an effort to compete with the market leader, these VoIP services have come up with some interesting and useful features that may inspire you to switch.
By David DeJean
Jul 3, 2007 12:00 AM
The featured companies are GrandCentral, TalkPlus, Jajah, Talkster, Jangl and Jaxtr. A good summary of what's possible today.

Voxalot not free for me anymore

Voxalot is one of my favourite web based PBXes. I like it very much for its ease of use and because it was free. But not anymore for the services I need.

From 16th of July, 2007, they charge US$25 for an annual subscription to the VoxPremium account which offers Web Callback, Call Forwarding and enables to set up to five providers for in-bound connections and DID registrations. You can read it here.

"We will, of course, continue to offer a free service called VoxBasic to those members who want to use the basic functions", says Voxalot's information.

Too sad that these basic functions don't cover the ones I need!

Actually I have about 20 providers registered at Voxalot for in-bound connections. In-bound is much more important to me than out-bound. A small relief for heavy users, like me, could be this:
For those users who need more than 5 SIP registrations you can opt for VoxPremium(+5), which will cost US$40, and provides an additional 5 SIP registrations for a total of 10 SIP registrations.
So I would still have to pay US$80 per year for Voxalot. That's too much for me, who uses Voxalot mainly for testing purposes.

I guess it's time to install my own Asterisk server.

Save lots of money with these VoIP freebies!

The VoIP world is full of pleasant surprises which let you save lots of money with your phone:

Free calls, free incoming DID numbers from many countries to receive calls, free VoIP access numbers that let you call the entire world for local prices and PBX services which filter your calls, forward them to other phones or send them to voice mail.

I found a great overview about the best services in Voxalot's user forum.

Free Call Forward from VoIP number to mobile phone

Vinay presents a sophisticated solution which makes use of Voxalot as PBX and PhoneGnome as VoIP provider.

Its purpose is to let your mobile or PSTN phone ring whenever somebody calls your VoIP number. It also makes use of Sipbroker's access numbers so that friends from wherever in the world can call you for the price of a local call.

Although you can tell from the comments to Vinay's blog post that his solution is a quite difficult to understand, it's definitely worth reading. I would like to add that Vinay's solution rocks even more when you extend it with more inbound numbers from Tpad and Gizmo Call.

Another elegant solution for the same purpose could be the GSM gateway from 4S newcom:
Redirection of fixed office numbers to mobile phones works by routing an incoming call to an employee's desk phone to the employee's mobile phone, using the appropriate GSM channel on the above-mentioned GSM module. The call will then be completed at no cost.
The PBX from 4S newcom receives the phone call and forwards it to the cell phone over a built in GSM device which holds a SIM card with flat rate tariff, as you can read here.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The iPhone is a crippled device,

... says the Rebtel blog and criticizes the decision to disable VOIP on the iPhone.
iPhone buyers get a beautiful machine that’s horribly crippled by the stranglehold AT&T now seems to have on Apple.

It’s also a good demonstration of how the telephony market works: handset manufacturers and operators are in the same bed, and that means that we, their customers, are being deprived of functionality that could be ours if only….

Once VOIP handsets become available, users of mobile services will be able to band together and circumvent mobile protocols altogether. It’s only a matter of time before the first VOIP enabler hacks appear for the iPhone.

I am already waiting for that inevitable development. And as I said already in April: The standardization of VoIP in SIP has opened a Pandora's box for all telecommunication companies. With SIP you can tie every phone system together. More and more bridges are being built to make free phone calls and circumvent paid networks. Voice will become "just another application" like email, as techies use to say.

Jajah + iPhone = no news

Now it's finally out what Jajah invented in the latest six months for the iPhone. And what is it?


As I guessed already three months ago they only brought their website to the iPhone screen. That's like if every internet company would publish a press release that their website also works on the iPhone.

It's a no news. But still media like ZDNet or TechCrunch are presenting it as a breakthrough.

Jajah deserves an award as "Master of Misleading Public Relations". Yet on april, 6, 2007, I said in my posting "Jajah misleads the media with news on iPhone, LG Prada and Sony PSP":

Jajah is doing nothing for the iPhone, the LG Prada or the Playstation Portable (PSP). They design no extra software and have no exclusive contracts to preinstall Jajah on these devices. At least they don't say so in their press releases. The company is just announcing that their mobile website can be opened on these devices.

That's like if I would announce that the website of Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments is compatible with the iPhone, LG Prada or the Sony PSP. Of course it is. It's a website, stupid! Every device with a browser can open it. is nothing else, but I wouldn't write a press release for every gear that can show my blog.

But still, three months later, there are people buying it as a news. At least GigaOM has already put a ban on Jajah until real news come out.

I wonder how this latest Jajah message will affect the stock price of their investor Qino Flagship, which until now is the only stock trading possibility to participate in Jajah's success. The carpetbaggers are sucking up every Jajah news, no matter how goofy it is. Read their speculations below the latest interview with Jajah's co founder Daniel Mattes!