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Communications Iphone Social Networks

Vonage Makes Free Facebook Phone Call App 115

Posted by timothy
from the interestinger-and-interestinger dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "Vonage has developed a new application for the iPhone and Android that provides free phone calls between Facebook users. Vonage's CEO says 'Essentially, we've given Facebook a voice.' Users sign in, see a list of Facebook friends who also have the app, and if they tap on a name a call is placed ... and it will go through even if the app isn't running on the friend's phone. The calling, which works over cellular broadband and Wi-Fi, doesn't use calling minutes but will use up data."
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Vonage Makes Free Facebook Phone Call App

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  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Vonage awesome! Facebook - not so!

    • Vonage awesome! Facebook - not so!

      I thought people used Facebook because they did NOT want to talk in person, but rather receive information in an asynchronous way. Same reason why some people prefer chat/SMS/IM over phone calls. Neat gimmick though.

      • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @03:54PM (#33142576)

        I thought people used Facebook because they did NOT want to talk in person, but rather receive information in an asynchronous....

        That's an odd assumption to make about millions of people on a service with a popular chat service and mobile phone apps.

        • by spamking (967666)

          I thought people used Facebook because they did NOT want to talk in person, but rather receive information in an asynchronous....

          That's an odd assumption to make about millions of people on a service with a popular chat service and mobile phone apps.

          Online chat = talking to a person?

          • by Nimloth (704789)
            Online chat != asyncronous.
          • Online chat = talking to a person?

            Online chat == I don't want to hear your voice?

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            who said facebook = online chat?

            facebook is a ton of things, another of which is a blatant privacy risk, among others.

            however, they're not just about chat, or lack of some form of social contact for sure.

            • by socsoc (1116769)
              nobody did, the assumption was made that facebook = asyncronous, which is incorrect.
  • another Android app to install. Sigh.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      What is the issue with that?
      They make 32GB microsd cards these days.

      • by von_rick (944421)
        Its a good practice to install the applications on the device's internal memory instead of installing it on a removable memory. The advantage of having portable memory cards is that you can plug the card into different devices if you want to share what's on them. However if you have some device specific applications on them, you won't be able to use those apps if your card is being used in a different device.
        • I'd much rather use up my 32GB microSD card on my Nexus One than the 200MB of internal storage for apps. I never take the SD card out, because, what's the point? Any data I want to move around I can move on/off the card using 3G or 802.11/g/n

        • by Avuserow (1527203)
          In my Droid (the keyboarded variety), the microSD card is not removable without removing the battery. If I'm sharing data via microSD, it'd require my phone to be powered off. At that point, I don't care about my apps being unavailable.
  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @03:35PM (#33142222) Homepage

    'Essentially, we've given Facebook a voice.'

    He then added, 'But it creeps us out how the only thing it says is "kill me... kill me... kill me..." all day long.'

  • So, now, if I get all the people I want to call on Facebook and get them to use this app, then we can call each other be buying the $10-15/mo unlimited data plan and buying 0 min/mo. Heck, it's a lot cheaper.
    • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @03:37PM (#33142274)

      sure, if you can actually FIND an unlimited "unlimited" data plan.

      • by AnonGCB (1398517)

        So far my verizon plan is unlimited

        • Well for now its unlimited. I remember when AT&T stopped offering their unlimited plans back in June there was talk of Verizon possibly following suit. Hopefully they don't drop their unlimited plan but you never know.
      • My T-Mobile plan is unlimited, and it's $30/month. Also, I can get a CLEAR "Apple device" wifi hotspot for $25/month to month. They say it only works with Apple devices, but I'm fairly certain they're not using the MAC address to determine if the device can connect or not.

        • Also, I can get a CLEAR "Apple device" wifi hotspot for $25/month to month. They say it only works with Apple devices, but I'm fairly certain they're not using the MAC address to determine if the device can connect or not.

          Could you elaborate on this a bit?

          • Elaborate? Hell, I'll bring a link!

            http://www.clear.com/spot/ispot?intcmp=1DaySp:HomePage:Carousel [clear.com]

            Check it out now though. It might be a one day only special.

            • Thanks, very helpful.

              To summarize: WiMAX in very limited areas, or 5GB capp'ed 3G elsewhere.

              'Unlimited' is unlimited unless they decide otherwise, then they might unilaterally cancel your account. There's no way to predict what kind of traffic may lead to such cancellation.

              It's a shame, most of their terms are quite reasonable up to the point where they cancel you instead of just traffic shaping you - that's the "less profitable customers will be eliminated" clause.

              And, yeah, the Apple thing looks like to

        • by socsoc (1116769)
          Clear would work with anything, you just bought into their marketing.
          • You misunderstand. They specifically market the device in that link (the only hotspot device they sell that supports $25/month to month unlimited data) as an Apple product only device. On their website, they specifically say it can only be used with Apple devices. While it *may* work on any other devices, and not be checking the manufacturer side of a MAC address, I don't want to spend $30 to buy it and find out.

            The other Clear hotspot devices that are $40+ month are marketed as supporting any device.

            • The link I thought was in my original post:
              http://www.clear.com/spot/ispot?intcmp=1DaySp:HomePage:Carousel [clear.com]

              What devices can I connect with my iSpot?
              It’s easy to use the iPadTM, iPod Touch®, and iPhone® with iSpot. Right now, you’re probably saying “I want it.”

              What if I want to connect my laptop?
              iSpot was built and optimized by CLEAR for Apple mobile devices (although Apple isn’t likely to tell you that) . If you want to experience the same kind of tummy-twisting speed on your laptops, cameras or other smartphones, there are some sweet Spot products that will make you very happy.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by socsoc (1116769)
              If you don't know how to spoof the MAC on a laptop, don't be reading news for nerds.
      • sure, if you can actually FIND an unlimited "unlimited" data plan.

        My Evo has 100% truly unlimited data on Sprint. Yes, Sprint normally caps at 5 GB (like most companies do), but they actually have in the fine print for the Evo that your $10 premium data fee no only lets you access 4G but also gives you 100% unlimited data.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      So, now, if I get all the people I want to call on Facebook and get them to use this app, then we can call each other be buying the $10-15/mo unlimited data plan and buying 0 min/mo. Heck, it's a lot cheaper.

      Which is precisely why you can't buy a plan that has no voice and only data. The ultra-cheap $15 data plan is in addition to the clusterf**k that is your monthly base price, plus the tons of fees added. Sure, you can get a broadband card, but try sticking one of those things in your shiny new iphone. Every phone operator, pretty much the world over, is a thieving a-hole.

  • But not for the Pre? Meh. Sometimes... just sometimes it sucks having the best smartphone OS. Most other times it's quite teh awesome. *sigh*
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe you and the Amiga users can go have some pity sex.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        What on earth? The Amiga hasn't been around for years, and when it was, plenty of people used it, especially as a home computer. What next, are you going to make jokes on the lack of users today of classic MacOS or DOS? It's 2010, not 1990.

        Maybe you and the Iphone users can have some "pity sex", you mean - Apple are the company with about 3% market share in phones, and even in the ill-defined smartphone category, they're fourth. And that's with the Iphones still available to buy, unlike the Amiga.

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      I also note they completely ignore the two largest smartphone platforms - Symbian and RIM. It sucks having the most popular smartphone OS.

      I suppose we should be lucky they even considered Android. It's depressing how many companies (and even public funded organisations like the BBC and UK Government) are only writing applications for the Iphone, which is fourth in terms of sales, and also fourth in terms of how fast those sales are growing ( http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1741954&cid=33130584 [slashdot.org] ). Sy

      • by schon (31600)

        I also note they completely ignore the two largest smartphone platforms - Symbian and RIM

        Wrong. That would be Android [conceivablytech.com] and RIM in the US (where Vonage is based), or Symbian and Android [canalys.com] worldwide.

  • Naturally, Nokia and Blackberry get left out in the cold. Whether that is a good thing remains to be seen.

    • Aren't Android apps essentially Java apps? Would this be that hard to port, in theory?

      (Probably the answer is yes, but I'm interested in the why.)

      • Android doesn't include the entire set of Java class libraries, in particular the user interface libraries. It instead includes its own user interface libraries along with other utility libraries. It is possible that the Vonage app includes a lot of code that can run on either platform, but the UI and other parts will need to be rewritten.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Hear hear. I wonder what goes through the head of these app writers. It's a choice of:

      * Write for J2ME, and have a market of two billion Java phones, capturing near 100% of the market (basically everything except those phones that can't handle it, like dumb phones and Iphones).
      * Write for Symbian and get the largest "smartphone" market share - the largest platform after J2ME.
      * Write for Blackberry, and get the largest "smartphone" market share in the US.
      * Or ... write for Iphone, and get a whopping 3% of th

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        Though, to be fair I see that Vonage are planning a Blackberry port. But still no mention of Symbian. Perhaps they're going in reverse order of popularity...

      • by HunterD (13063)

        It's simple. Writing apps for blackberry and symbian is expensive, and developing for them is non trivial.

        Developing apps for android and the iphone is simple.

        Just as an example, try to figure out how to set up a development environment and produce a simple application on all 4 platforms.

        By the time you are finished on Android, you will make it to the store to buy the macbook for developing on iphone.

        By the time you are done on iphone, you *may* probably will have j2ME installed, won't have a working virtu

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          It's simple. Writing apps for blackberry and symbian is expensive, and developing for them is non trivial.

          Your evidence for this claim? Symbian uses standard C++, with the SDK being Qt [nokia.com]. Having recently started learning Qt for Symbian, I have to say it's one of the best application toolkits I've come across, and I'm tempted to switch to it for my Windows development too.

          (Possibly you are thinking of the old Symbian C++, that apparently was a bit harder to learn?)

          As for expense, Qt is free, and the developmen

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I don't know the Symbian SDK, but according to wiki it uses a non-standard version of C++.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_OS#Developing_on_Symbian_OS [wikipedia.org]

            Objective-C is a new language, but it isn't particularly difficult to learn. If you know object oriented programming it takes perhaps a week to learn and a little while longer to get used to. What takes longer is the SDK, but I think that's true of all platforms.

            • I don't know the Symbian SDK, but according to wiki

              Then Wikipedia is out of date. And indeed, if you bother to read the top of your own link:

              "This article is about the historical Symbian OS. For the current, open source Symbian platform descended from Symbian OS and S60, see Symbian platform."

              For heaven's sake, I even posted direct links to Nokia! Nice to see that a mod favours Wikipedia over the primary source - who can't even be bothered to read the link posted! (Particularly ironic given that Wikipedia i

              • by mdwh2 (535323)

                Clarification: actually I've come across those Wikipedia pages before, and there is confusion over which page refers to what version of Symbian. Indeed, Wikipedia suggests that my 5800 is running Symbian^1, which is apparently also the same as the latest S60 anyway.

                But note that Qt is now the SDK even for the older Symbian platforms like S60 (even my old 5800 runs it fine, as well as dirt cheap phones like the 5230), and not just Symbian^4.

                So Wikipedia is out of date, and needs to be updated. I'll do it lat

                • While Wiki is, or was, out of date, it wasn't *far* out of date if this SDK hit 1.0 on 23 June 2010. (I suppose prerelease versions were available sooner, but still.) The impression most developers would have had is with the older version of the Symbian SDK.

                  • by mdwh2 (535323)

                    Well yes, indeed, this is why I originally said "Possibly you are thinking of the old Symbian C++, that apparently was a bit harder to learn?", acknowledging that it was reasonable the OP may have been thinking of the older SDK.

                    (Yes as you say, the SDK was available in beta for months before then, but hit 1.0 in June. I was using the SDK fine for a few months earlier.)

                    Even if it's only recently changed, it's nonetheless available now and working. Just as I can no longer say the Iphone can't multitask, or ha

    • Don't forget the pre. We're left out, too.
  • "Hello. This is automated announcement from Fraternityville. Your friend M-A-L-C-O-M-B request that you send him a one case of beer. The cost is 10 fratbucks. Authorize?"
  • Going to far? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by PmanAce (1679902)
    Is it me or is the Facebook universe getting out of control?
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You left the "t" off the end of your subject line.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      How's that? This thing is basically a VOIP app that uses Facebook as an address book. Facebook IS an address book, except that it lets your contacts update their entries and decorate them with pictures, videos and assorted crap.

    • errr (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jDeepbeep (913892)
      That you called it a 'universe' might answer your own question.
  • I have a flat $50 monthly fee; I'm not charged minutes.

  • "Hello, Vonage? AT&T here, our customers aren't burning through their bandwidth caps and we're losing money, would you min dmaking an app encouraging them to incur bandwidth overuse charges? Thanks much, we'll make it up to you."
    • Re:Gee I wonder... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by camperslo (704715) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @04:04PM (#33142738)

      If some can offer rollover minutes, maybe it is time for some to offer rollover gigabytes?

      Grateful my car doesn't have a gas tank that resets to zero every week or month...

      Corporations get to buy and sell pollution credits or depreciation in some cases. Maybe we should be able to buy, give, or sell each other extra bandwidth/minutes???

      • That's a good point. In that same line, are there off peak data usage times? Surely they have a time that the data network is under a lighter load. Maybe it's just not as much of a time though because people will use the internet later than they would decide not to call people anymore.
  • I'm about to kick Vonage to the curb. My $24.99 a month line now costs $35 per month. I'm also preparing to tell Cox to take a hike. My $49 service is now $58.99 a month.
    • by Luyseyal (3154)

      I hear ya. 8x8 (formerly Packet 8) kept raising prices on my formerly $19.99 plan and I finally dropped em for mobile-only (we have 4 lines between us and the kids). Then, AT&T decided it was time to bump the pricing on their 200 channel service. We dropped them for Netflix. I was especially glad after I found out that half our cable money was going to ESPN which I had never watched. I did end up watching some World Cup games online via ESPN, but I don't need their content 99% of the time.

      -l

  • Versions for BlackBerry phones and for Windows and Mac computers are coming, he said.

    I cross fingers and hope that a WebOS version will appear too. Though I won't hold my breath.

    Also, given the "all of my friends are already on it" nature of FaceBook, this application has a good chance of competing with Skype.

    I just hope that, for the call itself, it uses some standard protocol (SIP, H323, Jingle, etc.) instead of some proprietary shit.
    And given that Facebook is moving toward XMPP support [facebook.com] for their chat system, I suspect that Jingle could be the easy solution that they went for.
    (If both end

    • by Macrat (638047)

      I cross fingers and hope that a WebOS version will appear too. Though I won't hold my breath.

      I don't think there is much demand for Vonage on HP's WebOS printers. :-)

  • Doctors warn that exposure to Facebook harms the brain. [slashdot.org]

    That's all we need - people so used to Facebooks' 420 character limit making phone calls.

    "Hi. I'm eating my lunch. Bye!" Click.
    "I like that!" Click.
    "Poke!" Click.
    "Cool youtube video. Check out the link!" Click.
    "I'm getting a pedicure. Pics." Click.
    "I *so* hate my mom!" Click.
    "Sorry, wrong number. I was trying to call farmville!" Click.
    "Friend me!" Click.
    "Why did you send me a friend request? Are you stalking me?" Click.
    "Why didn't you send me a friend request?" Click.
    "Hi. Just calling all my friends to make sure they don't miss me. Bye!" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "Why did you unfriend me?" Click.
    "I'M COMING OVER WITH AN AX AND A SHOTGUN TO TEACH YOU A LESSON YOU ANTISOCIAL BITCH!!!" Click.
    (Dials 911) "Hi, you have reached 9-1-1. Than you for friending us. If you need anything, just post it to facebook because that's all we do all day. Have a nice day! Bye!" Click.

  • Seems like many of us use more data now days than voice, so maybe we'll swing back the other way and make iPhone and Android apps that use voice minutes so we don't eat up our data plan!

  • if your inclined to tinker and think $24 per month is a rip off and would rather pay $0.02 per minute.
  • Aren't all iPhone to iPhone calls made without using minutes anyways??? Why bother making sure both parties are running an app?

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