VoIP on the iPhone: Will it be Huge?
Gizmodo reported live from Apple’s event yesterday that the new iPhone 2.0 software will support calls over a Wi-Fi connection. Unlike T-Mobile’s HotSpot @Home service, third-party developers can create VoIP programs that allow for free calling over Wi-Fi. I am going to have to go with Russell Shaw, ZDNet’s VoIP expert, in thinking this might not be such a big deal. He says:
Mobile VoIP is making some inroads in the enterprise and SMB sectors, but less so for the consumer. Not enough demand, and reports of less-than-stellar tech quality. Before I offer more a more conclusive assessment about the longer-term prospects VoIP over iPhone, let me see what the 3P devs come up with.
I am of the same mind Shaw. If a company like Skype or iSkoot can provide a compelling third-party application, iVoIP has the potential to take off. I put out feelers to a few consumer VoIP companies yesterday asking about their plans for third-party applications on the iPhone. Skype hasn’t made an official comment yet. Raketu’s CEO Greg Parker shot me an e-mail saying they have definite plans to create an application:
Now that the iPhone SDK has been released we are looking to port the Raketu Client to the iPhone, so that Raketu users will have the ability to use our iPhone Web services with no download, or the Raketu iPhone Client that will provide VoIP, instant messaging, real-time presence, SMS-texting, and more.
Question is, what will make the iPhone’s applications any different from mobile VoIP offerings currently available for other platforms?