First Look: Fring

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First Look: Fring

 

VoIP has been an elusive feature on the iPhone. At the iPhone SDK event, Steve and friends told attendees that VoIP, through Wi-Fi, would be supported within the SDK. Still, VoIP fans will have to wait until June, or even later, considering the difficulty developers are experiencing getting certified by Apple for the iPhone SDK program, to begin Skyping.

 

Instead of waiting for the SDK’s official release, FringLand introduced a pre-release “lite” R&D version of their Fring software. The developers are hoping to learn about the user experience by releasing the software early in its development. A full version is expected later this year when the SDK is made available to them and the iTunes App Store goes live.

 

Only available on jailbroken iPhones with a plethora of chat and VoIP clients

 

With that in mind, Fring is a good start on what may soon be a great program. Besides Skype, Fring supports MSN Messenger, AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, SIP, Twitter, and Yahoo! Messenger. Voice chat is only available through Skype and SIP.

 

New messages are indicated by the yellow talk bubble

 

Even though the lite version is a shell of what is showcased on the Fring website, it's a nice all-in-one chat client. I wish URLs were clickable, but I expect that to be implemented (hopefully with file transfer) when the final application ships.

 

Don't forget the all important + sign when dialing US numbers

 

Of course the biggest draw is VoIP. I attached my Skype account to the application, went to the dialer, entered a number and got...nothing. I tried multiple times to make a call before I remembered that the application is developed in the UK. Using my vast knowledge of international phone calls, I placed a + in front of the U.S. number I was calling and was on my way to an inexpensive phone call. Users should check for the appropriate international dialing codes for their overseas friends. Call quality was moderately worse than a normal mobile-phone call, with a slight hiss. The calls were plagued by a two-second lag that made holding a conversation difficult for some callers. But the biggest disappointment was the lack of headphone support. Despite all that, I still felt as though I was “sticking it to the man” with my VoIP calls.

 

With Fring, you almost are. The software will only run on jailbroken iPhones. iPhone owners leery of voiding their warranty by hacking their device, should be patient and wait until the gold version of Fring hits the App Store. iPhone owners who want to throw caution to the wind, should check out the pre-release app and say hi to their globe-trotting friends.

 

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Robert Moore

Roberto,

What up?

Nice review...

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Anonymous

First thing you have to do is register an account with Fring to use this software

Fring software does not pick up a User ID on an iPod Touch.

The user-id used to identify your account is the international phone number of your handset. It cannot be changed. Your friends can search for you and contact you using this number.

Since iPod does not have a number the software locks up in a connecting loop

Its a beta for iPhone and does not transfer to iPod...yet

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Stephen

Touchmods was the first group to come out with voip for both the iphone and the ipod touch (accessory mic needed). Siphon is now the iphone spinoff. Just like Fring, you need a jailbroken phone/touch. If you're interested by Fring, also check out Sip-Voip at the following page.

http://www.touchmods.net

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