Sunday, June 20, 2010

VoIP and Video Calling on the EVO

Several weeks ago, I was settling down for bed when my phone rang.  It was a number I didn't recognize.


"Hey, there!"

"Who is this?"

"Cullen" ... a former employee of mine.  "I got my Incredible today."

"Oh?  You didn't keep your old number?"

"You noticed that?!  Yeah, that's why I'm calling.  I'm trying out my Google Voice number on VoIP."

My ears perked up.  You mean I can make calls without using my minutes?  You see, with Verizon I had friends and family. I could add any 10 numbers and call them anytime without using my minutes. With Sprint, I can call any mobile without using minutes, but I can't get free land line minutes. Unfortunately, I spend most of my minutes on work conference calls and these are all land line numbers.  Ten minutes later I was ready to setup Google Voice with VoIP on my EVO when it came.  Did I really need it?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Even if I didn't, the idea was cool enough that I knew I'd spend a several hours trying to get it to work.

After about 5 hours of setting up a Google Voice number, registering with various services, and testing, I now have VoIP on my PC using the X-Lite SIP phone and Fring on my EVO.  I can now send and receive VoIP calls on my EVO over Wi-Fi and 3g.  And the voice quality sounds very good to me, although there is a bit of lag.  I've found that I can run Fring in the background without a huge impact to my battery.  This needs a bit more testing, but so far I'm pleased with the results.  Now, if I run low on minutes, I have an alternative to get me through the remainder of the month.

I also setup Fring with Skype.  I can use it to make Skype calls including video calls.  I like this option much better than Qik, the default video calling application that comes with the EVO.  With Qik, you really only have the option to place a video call with another EVO owner.  With Skype, you can video call to any Skype user, whether they're on a mobile phone or PC.  I placed a Skype video call to my daughter on her PC.  It was extremely easy and the quality was more than acceptable.  I can really see video calling catching on in the next 2-3 years.  I know I'll be using it with my daughter starting now.

If you're interested in VoIP on your EVO, check out this document.  It's a great step-by-step process to get you started.

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