Written by Rudy De Waele from m-trends.org and edited by Richard MacManus.
We are entering an era of broadband being available anywhere, on any device - and this will happen all 'over IP' (Internet Protocol). So we are looking at an all-IP world where choice of applications, devices and platforms is entirely driven by user preference; which means Mobile Internet technologies will ramp up dramatically over the coming years. Changes to mass user behavior in mobile are already happening and we saw a lot of movement in this space in 2006 - e.g. VoIP, P2P music/video downloads, Social Media all becoming available on the mobile device.
It has been nearly 2 years now since we saw the first VoIP provider going mobile; i.e. the Motorola and Skype alliance. Meanwhile Nokia has been listening to its customers and the word on the street - and is now pushing the frontiers of Internet phone calling with The Gizmo Project, which will enable VoIP calls for the N80i phone (internet edition).
The N80i uses the SIP protocol, the most popular Voice over IP (VoIP) standard. SIP enables two or more people to make phone calls to each other, using the Internet to carry the call.
Mobile VoIP looking good for '07
Note that you can make phone-to-phone calls from Skype too, but Nokia and Gizmo is more impressive. The SMS Text News site tested out the Skype mobile experience, using 3's X-Series in the UK (note: R/WW's coverage of 3 X-Series is here). In the UK Skype came bundled with the Nokia N73, so users of that phone can Skype with each other. The review was mixed, but overall SMS Text News was impressed.
The main difference is that with the Nokia N80i (internet edition) and Gizmo, I can call any phone, anywhere, using VoIP - so Nokia's Gizmo has more coverage than Skype's mobile VoIP solution.
The mobile VoIP space is an interesting one to watch right now. Some other companies using VoIP in their Voice 2.0 offerings are: jajah, GrandCentral, Frucall, TalkPlus. All of these are providing advanced functionality and additional user convenience.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my first Gizmo VoIP call, which I made from my computer to a mobile phone (you can also use Gizmo from your PC).
Below are some screenshots I took to show how easy it is to make a call while in a Wi-Fi network area, to another person doing the same. I called Andy Abramson, while he was in Paris, for the ‘call out’ cost of only a couple of cents - now that's a big difference from my current roaming expenses when traveling in Europe. The quality is as good as a normal voice call, assuming you're in a good Wi-Fi coverage network. My personal experience is that I could use the 'internet call' function while working in my office, home, or at a friend's place, for about 80% of the time I use my mobile. Now that's a considerable amount!
Note that the Gizmo plug-in is not yet available for other phones, but my guess is that Nokia is going to build it into all of their new high-end phones (coming out in 2007).
When users will have the option to make an internet call over Wi-Fi, it will become a compelling feature. It may take some time before it will take off, but then again remember how fast Skype came out of the blue into the mass market. Here are more details about the project (for both web and mobile users). Every single step to start using Gizmo on the N80 is well documented, with screenshots and easy to read explanations.
Written by Rudy De Waele from m-trends.org. See also Rudy's earlier post for Read/WriteWeb, Understanding Mobile 2.0.