Tag: phone

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Facebook Messenger for iOS Adds VoIP Calling for U.S. Users

It was less than two weeks ago that Facebook rolled out free VoIP calling to Facebook Messenger for iOS users in Canada. The trial run must have gone well, as the company has now updated its Messenger app for U.S. users to include the Internet calling functionality. While there’s no word yet if or when an Android update with the feature will drop, it’s safe to assume that it’ll happen at some point, as fragmenting a feature set for an app available on both platforms would confuse users who can’t figure out why they can’t call certain friends.

The voice calling feature can be accessed by tapping the “i” icon in a conversation, followed by the “Free Call” button.

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Windows Phone Adds 75,000 Apps in 2012, More than Doubles its Library

In a blog post published today, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Windows Phone Apps, Todd Brix, reflected on how 2012 treated Microsoft’s fledgling smartphone platform. Microsoft and third-party developers added over 75,000 apps to the Windows Phone catalog this year, “more than doubling the catalog size,” according to Brix. That 75,000 number may seem like a small one when placed next to Apple’s 1 million and Google’s 700,000, but Windows Phone seems to be making slow but steady progress. I’m a firm believer that what truly matters is that a platform has the apps people are looking for, and, to Windows Phone’s credit, the platform does have many of the must-have apps that are available on other platforms — save for those that are exclusive to either iOS or Android.

Brix also shared another tidbit. On average, each Windows Phone user has around 54 apps on their device. To contrast: earlier this year, market research firm Velositor found that iPhone users had 44 apps on their devices, while Android users had 32 apps.

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Sony PSP Receives Price Cut – May Foreshadow Sony’s Mobile Future

In the world of video games, Sony has done quite a good job in making a name for themselves.  The PlayStation line has been insanely successful, and has earned the reputation for having high-quality and great gameplay.  However, Sony’s involvement in the gaming industry has always been most prominent in the arena of console-based gaming.  About six years ago, however, Sony opted to change this and branched out into a relatively new venture for the company;  building on the success of the PlayStation family with the release of the PlayStation Portable (PSP).

At the time, the PSP was a huge game-changer (no pun intended) in the sense that it truly revolutionized mobile gaming and brought it up to par with the type of technology seen in the console-based systems.  With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the PSP debut was very successful in initial sales.  And this success was anything but short-lived.  Tim Bender, VP of sales at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has even been quoted as saying that the “demand for the PSP remains strong” six years after the initial release.

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FaceTime-Like Technology Heading to Android?

One of the most attractive features about the Apple iPhone 4 (and now the iPod Touch as well) is the FaceTime video conferencing technology. For those that are unfamiliar with this feature, it essentially allows parties to use built-in cameras on the handsets to place real-time video calls over WiFi. However, many people argue that being limited to WiFi is a major setback of the application. But I for one believe that WiFi communications technology is truly a step in the right direction for mobile communications.

Today, T-Mobile – one of the largest mobile carriers in the country – announced that they will be introducing WiFi-based audio calling on many equipped Android handsets. In short, this feature would allow end-users to place and receive phone calls and SMS message on their handsets, using WiFi connections when a cellular signal was unavailable. These calls (both foreign and international) would be priced lower than if they were carried out on the cellular network. For people in corporate environments or locations where cellular signals are less than sufficient, this new feature could be an amazing convenience.

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Google Prepares For Google Voice

Last month, Google grabbed 1 million phone numbers; a move that implies we may soon see the availability of Google Voice.  The service from the internet giant “lets users unify their phone numbers, allowing them to have a single number through Google Voice that rings a call through to all their phones.”  There has been much speculation that the service will be open to the public very soon.

In 2007, Google acquired GrandCentral for $45 Million.  The result was the still-anticipated Google Voice service.  The Google Voice homepage lists the following features:

  • Call screening – Announce and screen callers
  • Listen in – Listen before taking a call
  • Block calls – Keep unwanted callers at bay
  • SMS – Send, receive, and store SMS
  • Place calls – Call US numbers for free
  • Taking calls – Answer on any of your phones
  • Phone routing – Phones ring based on who calls
  • Forwarding phones – Add phones and decide which ring
  • Voicemail transcripts – Read what your voicemail says
  • Listen to voicemail – Check online or from your phone
  • Notifications – Receive voicemails via email or SMS
  • Personalize greeting – Vary greetings by caller
  • Share voicemail – Forward or download voicemails
  • Conference calling – Join people into a single call
  • Call record – Record calls and store them online
  • Call switch – Switch phones during a call
  • Mobile site – View your inbox from your mobile
  • GOOG-411 – Check directory assistance
  • Manage groups – Set preferences by group

The best thing of all, though, is that the service is completely free.  As of now, it is only open to GrandCentral users, but that is soon to change.

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